Iowa State men’s basketball depends on transfers for program success

On July 9, Marial Shayok faced a defender during a Capital City League game.

Brian Mozey


It’s a common word used in basketball recruiting. It’s a necessity for head coaches at the Iowa State men’s basketball program.

Before Steve Prohm came to Iowa State as head coach, former coach Fred Hoiberg started this tradition of recruiting transfer players from elite programs.

Some of the more notable names are Darrell Bowie from Northern Illinois, Deonte Burton from Marquette, DeAndre Kane from Marshall and Bryce Dejean-Jones from UNLV.

That philosophy hasn’t changed this season as the Cyclones have five transfers on the team: Marial Shayok, Michael Jacobson, Zoran Talley Jr., Hans Brase and Jeff Beverly. Out of these five players, two of them have an interesting season ahead of them.

Jacobson and Shayok won’t be playing this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

“It’s definitely a tough situation knowing you won’t play until the following basketball season,” Jacobson said. “I knew this was the right place for me and I’ll continue to grow without playing this season.”

If a player hasn’t graduated from their previous university, they must sit out one year. This allows the individual to become acclimated to their new school academically.

The rule doesn’t mean they’re excluded from the team completely. The player can attend practices and games, but not participate in the latter. They don’t lose a year of eligibility, but it just adds onto their years.

For example, Shayok played three seasons at Virginia before coming to Iowa State and Jacobson played two seasons at Nebraska. Since the two of them haven’t finished their undergraduate degrees, they will be required to sit out this season.

After this season of sitting out, Shayok will be able to play one more season and Jacobson will have two years left on the Iowa State basketball team.

“Of course, you want to play,” Shayok said. “But, it’s also a time to understand the school, our academics and the mindset of the team as a whole.”

Then, the question arises, what about the other three transfer players on the team?

All three of those players have finished their undergraduate degrees at their previous colleges and universities. Brase finished at Princeton, Beverly from UTSA and Talley Jr. did 27 credits this summer to earn a spot on this year’s roster.

Since they finished at their previous school, they are eligible to play on this season’s team, while not having to wait.

“You can look at sitting out as either a positive or a negative,” Shayok said. “If you look at it in a positive light, it’ll be faster and you’ll learn more throughout the season.”

Jacobson and Shayok chose Iowa State because they knew how dominant and successful Prohm and Hoiberg have been when it comes to transfers.

The most recent sit out transfer currently on the team is Nick Weiler-Babb. He had to sit out during the 2015-16 season after transferring from Arkansas.

Babb will admit that sitting out isn’t the most ideal situation for a basketball career and his older brother, Chris Babb, told him not to transfer. Nick Weiler-Babb knew it needed to happen to make him happy for his last three seasons.

“It was probably one of the best decisions that I’ve made,” Weiler-Babb said. “The year I was out, it was a great opportunity to learn without actually playing.”

Weiler-Babb said he might’ve learned more while sitting out than the past couple seasons he’s been playing. He could see the different formations and plays being set up and played through, which made him understand the play and his role when he was able to play last season.

He’s reached out to Shayok and Jacobson and has given them advice on how to handle the basketball season. The two have appreciated the help and support, but both think it’ll be a good opportunity instead of a setback.

“It’s the culture we’ve had here,” said assistant coach Daniyal Robinson. “The culture of work. I mean these guys have been in the gym religiously. For sit-out guys, we’ve found out they help us in practice and they have experience. They bring another level of experience and success.”

Experience is a necessity on this younger team and Shayok and Jacobson have experience.

Shayok has been an integral part of Virginia’s success the past couple of seasons. Those experiences in the NCAA Tournament and conference tournaments are priceless and allow him to become a leader for the Cyclones even though he’ll be sitting out the entire season.

“With all of these seniors graduating last season, it’ll be interesting to see how the team shapes throughout the non-conference and conference season,” Jacobson said. “Then, next season, [Marial] Shayok and I will be back to give this team more depth and understanding in pursuit of a Big 12 Championship.”