Future Cyclone point guard discusses final high school season, thoughts on Iowa State

Four-star forward Talen Horton-Tucker looks on at Hilton Madness on October 13.

Aaron Marner

The 2017-18 men’s basketball season was always going to be a slight rebuild for Iowa State.

Six seniors graduated from the previous team, which was the winningest class in program history, led by Monte Morris and Matt Thomas.

But head coach Steve Prohm and the assistant coaching staff made sure it would be more of a reload than a rebuild.

By now, everyone has seen how talented Lindell Wigginton is, and Terrence Lewis and Cameron Lard have made big impacts as freshmen as well.

The future is bright, not just because of who’s currently playing for the Cyclones, but also because of who’s coming to Ames next season.

As of today, Iowa State’s 2018 recruiting class is ranked 24th nationally and third in the Big 12 according to 247Sports.

The class features four players. Three — Zion Griffin, Talen Horton-Tucker and George Conditt — come from Illinois, and Tyrese Haliburton hails from Wisconsin.

The Daily caught up with Haliburton during his senior season.

Haliburton’s Oshkosh North (Wisconsin) team is ranked No. 1 in the state and currently sits at 8-0 on the season. He had plenty of scholarship offers, but his decision came down to Nebraska, Northern Iowa and Iowa State.

“[Prohm] has had a lot of point guards in his tenure as a head coach and all of them are currently in the NBA,” Haliburton said. “That’s any kid’s dream, to go to the NBA. I just feel like that’s where I was best suited for my college career just because of my relationship with all the coaches. It just felt like home.”

Haliburton is rated as the No. 4 player in Wisconsin and one of the top 150 players in 2018, per 247Sports. Eight games into his senior season, Haliburton is averaging 21 points and 7.6 assists per game, per wissports.net.

Haliburton stands at 6-foot-5 and about 170 pounds. His size and his game remind some of former Cyclone and NBA point guard Diante Garrett (2007-11), who was also from Wisconsin.

“I’m excited to add Tyrese to our program,” Prohm said when Haliburton signed in November. “He’s a long, really versatile and highly-skilled player with a great basketball IQ. His IQ is off the charts. Tyrese is a pass-first point guard that I think, as he gets bigger and stronger, could be compared to Diante Garrett. He can make threes and as he continues to fill out, he’s got a chance to be a special player.”

Garrett didn’t do much his freshman year — he started just four games and averaged 6.3 points per game for a losing team — but by the end of his career, he had figured out how to use his length to his advantage. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.1 assists per game in his senior season.

Haliburton said his AAU coach has ties to the former Cyclone star.

“My AAU coach has told me that before,” Haliburton said. “But I’ve never seen [Garrett] play. I know he plays overseas now and from what I’m hearing, it sounds like it’s a good thing to be compared to him.”

That bodes well for Haliburton. Even though he’s the No. 28 point guard in his class per 247Sports — similar to Garrett, who was ranked 35th among point guards in 2007 — the ability to develop throughout his college career could be a huge benefit.

Haliburton said he’s tried to watch every Iowa State game this year that he can. He said he feels he can make an impact right away.

“I think I’m coming into a situation where Donovan [Jackson] leaves, and my freshman year I’ll get to play under Nick [Weiler-Babb] who does everything the right way and sees the floor real well,” Haliburton said. “I think that’s gonna be really big for me as a freshman, getting to play under Nick, and then hopefully in my sophomore year get to take the reins a little more.”

That’s also a piece of good news for Haliburton. Garrett was thrust into the starting lineup as a sophomore, where he was forced to play 30-plus minutes per game. He did that for his final three years, and led the Big 12 in minutes per game as a senior.

Thanks to Weiler-Babb, Wigginton and Virginia transfer Marial Shayok, Haliburton should have the chance to get eased into his role. That hasn’t stopped Haliburton from envisioning himself sharing the court with the current Cyclone starters.

“I’m really a pass-first point guard,” Haliburton said. “I think that’s why I can’t wait to play with Lindell, just because he scores the basketball at a really high rate and he can score in a lot of different ways. And I feel like we can help each other.

“Nick, to me, he’s a pass-first point guard too. But he does everything the right way. He rebounds really well, defends really well. I look forward to being able to play under him.”