Less threes, more physicality: The new mindset of Iowa State men’s basketball

Brian Mozey

Last season for the Iowa State men’s basketball team, the philosophy was easy.

Pass the ball several times until one of the dominant shooters was open. Then, pass them the ball and shoot a 3-pointer. It was that simple of a strategy.

The Cyclones lived off this philosophy and it showed 344 times as that’s how many 3-pointers were scored last season. The team was two 3-pointers shy of tying the record for most 3-point goals scored in a season. The 2012-13 season made 346.

That philosophy will change entirely this season with the new faces and leadership behind this 2017-18 team.

“I think it’s a different team,” said coach Steve Prohm. “The strengths of these guys are different than the strengths of the guys last season.”

Versatility will be the common word this season as there’s more of a physical presence then several past seasons.

Iowa State is going to depend on a stronger inside than just Solomon Young last season. Prohm and his staff recruited Hans Brase from Princeton and Zoran Talley Jr. from Old Dominion University.

Brase was a key player to Princeton’s success until he missed the past two seasons because of two ACL tears to the same right knee. Talley Jr. worked harder than ever to get his education done and graduate, so he could play this season and not be a transfer that sat out.

Along with those two, Iowa State has been molding redshirt freshman Cameron Lard as he came to Iowa State last January, but never played last season. He used last season to learn from not only the coaches, but Young too, so he can be a dominant presence this upcoming season.

“Cameron [Lard] has been making huge steps to becoming the player he wants to be this season,” said Nick Weiler-Babb. “Now, he needs to continue to practice until he’s put into a game-type atmosphere. He’s ready though.”

Besides the inside, Iowa State will still rely on an explosive outside with Donovan Jackson and Babb leading the charge, but also a handful of new faces.

One of the new players is Lindell Wigginton, who is expected to be a key contributor this season even though he’s a freshman. Along with him, Terrence Lewis and Jakolby Long will be seeing the court on occasions.

Many fans and media have been comparing Wigginton to Monte Morris, the former guard for Iowa State who is currently playing in the Denver Nuggets’ organization. Prohm resolved that conversation very quickly by contrasting the two players.

“I think they’re different,” Prohm said. “Their games are a little different. Lindell [Wigginton] is a physical, physical guard.”

Physicality will be a key ingredient in Iowa State’s offense as Prohm knows all five of these outside players can drive into the paint and create shot opportunities.

They can also go to the free-throw line more often than last year’s team due to the physical appearance they bring to the court.

Prohm isn’t saying the 3-point shot is gone and it’s a new mentality, but there’s certainly a different focus on this year’s team. The 3-point shot will be needed to continue averaging 80 points per game, a goal that Prohm always wants to reach at the end of the season.

That 3-point shot help will be contributed by Jackson and Babb with some shots from Lewis and Wigginton.

“We got a few nice good shooters on the team,” Jackson said. “I think Terrence Lewis is going to be a key knockdown shooter once he understands what’s going on right now.

“And then, I’m [going to] shoot the lights out.”