No doubt about it, Mitrou-Long is back


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

Georges Niang drives to the basket against Grand Valley State on Nov. 6.

Ryan Young

Coming into the game Friday night, Naz Mitrou-Long’s status was still unknown.

For the last several weeks, Mitrou-Long has been working to come back from his hip surgery this past summer. While he was cleared to play weeks ago, both he and head coach Steve Prohm said that Mitrou-Long hasn’t been at full strength.

But watching him in the team’s exhibition game Friday night against Grand Valley State, one would have no idea that the senior guard was limited.

Mitrou-Long finished the game with 20 points, 18 of which came from behind the 3-point line — where he went 6-of-7.

And in the early minutes of the second half, Mitrou-Long had a stretch where he scored 11 straight points.

After Friday’s performance, one thing is clear. He’s ready to go.

“Yeah [my hips] feel alright,” Mitrou-Long said. “Coach took me out in the second half just to keep me calm, but I’ll be in there tomorrow rehabbing and doing all the necessary stuff. But it felt good.”

While the Cyclones were already in a good position going into the second half, Mitrou-Long’s run sealed the deal, giving Iowa State a 106-60 win over the Lakers.

“I think we did well,” said Monte Morris. “Coach Prohm let me play with an extreme amount of freedom out there, and the rest of the guys were playing with a lot of freedom too. …On the court [issues] will take care of themselves. We’re just going to continue to win and play good.”

Officially, though, what the Cyclones did on Friday doesn’t matter. The exhibition game and the stats that come with it vanish, and Iowa State will head into next week’s season opener against Colorado with a clean slate.

But Prohm said that things will run very similar against the Buffalos next week as they did on Friday. Prohm did say, though, that they never really got into an offense — and that’s something he hopes to expand on next week.

But since it was just an exhibition game, Prohm said he isn’t worried about their offense just yet.

“You’re kind of vanilla in these games, to be honest,” Prohm said. “I don’t think we ran anything, really. Just ran the floor and spread the ball out.”

But it wasn’t just Mitrou-Long that found the hot hand Friday night. The whole team seemed to get in on the action.

As a team, the Cyclones shot 60.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line. Guard Monte Morris added 17 points to the mix, and both Abdel Nader and Jameel McKay scored 13 points.

Prohm, who said he is still getting to know his new team, said he was impressed with what he saw.

“These guys, they can really, really shoot,” Prohm said. “When you can shoot the basketball, it helps a lot of areas This team can score, we just have to continue to keep on our defense.”