Meet two new Iowa State transfers: Conversation with Tom Seipp


Photo Courtesty of St. Bonaventure Athletics

Iowa State graduate transfer Jaren Holmes dribbles while playing for St. Bonaventure, his former team.

Anthony Hanson

The transfer portal window has closed for NCAA men’s basketball, and T.J. Otzelberger and Iowa State added several new pieces.

Three new faces come from the Atlantic-10 Conference, and two hail from the same locker room.

Osun Osunniyi and Jaren Holmes are graduate transfers from the St. Bonaventure Bonnies who are making their way to Ames for the upcoming season.

Osunniyi was a four-year starter for the Bonnies and won the Atlantic-10’s Defensive Player of the Year award twice. He averaged 11.3 points per game and led the Bonnies with an average of 7.5 rebounds per game. 

Holmes started his college career in junior college before spending the last three seasons at St. Bonaventure. Holmes averaged 13.5 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Bonnies in 2021-22 and was the second-leading scorer on the team.

The Iowa State Daily spoke with Tom Seipp, an advisory editor for The Bona Venture student newspaper. He’s covered the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team for the last two seasons and spoke to the basketball talent and character qualities the two new faces will bring to Otzelberger’s team.

For those that haven’t dove into the tape, what can we expect to get from Jaren Holmes? -Hanson

These two, Jaren and Osun, first of all, they’re fantastic basketball players, but they’re also fantastic people. So, Cyclones fans are going to love them immediately.

Jaren is a guy who really progressed in his three years at St. Bonaventure […]. He was a guy that came in and got some solid minutes and played well when he got his opportunity. He’s been pretty good from three, a very solid defender and definitely a leader. That’s something everyone at St. Bonaventure knows, that Jaren Holmes is a fantastic player, but he’s an unbelievable leader.”

And from Osun Osunniyi? -Hanson

Osun; he’s a four-year starter here at St. Bonaventure and just an unbelievable talent. I’ve never seen someone at the college level who has been such a dominant rim protector as he is.

Offensively, I see a lot of Mitchell Robinson in him. Their games are really similar. He’s the guy who will come set some high pick and rolls, get right to the basket, loves the alley-oops [and is] always a threat for offensive rebounds.

Something I want to make sure is, know that these two guys are unbelievable people too. I’m happy they’re playing together. They deserve a chance to play at the Power 5 level, and I’m not shocked that they are.

T.J. Otzelberger definitely has built an identity; that’s defense and hustle; let me know how these guys fit in with that identity? -Hanson

I mean, those two words that you just said, defense and hustle. Those are the two words I would use for Jaren and Osun. Jaren, this is a guy who no one works harder on the floor than Jaren, offensively and defensively. His nickname is Detroit muscle. He just loves being on the floor. He’s scrappy.

For Osun, I personally think that you guys [Iowa State] are getting one of the best interior defenders that was available in the transfer portal this year. I don’t think that’s a secret. He also is a guy that, even though he’s 6-foot-11, he dives after balls constantly. He’s always on the floor.

How do you think Osunniyi will make an impact offensively? Otzelberger said he was excited to develop his game on that side of the ball. -Hanson

Osun; he is a guy that doesn’t showcase the best offensive moves in the interior. But again, he’s always a threat. He’s gotten a lot stronger. I would expect going up against better competition in practice — guys like Hason Ward, who Osun played against in the A-10 — is definitely going to help him continue to grow.

Did either player indicate why they may have chosen Iowa State? -Hanson

Having spoken to Jaren Holmes, he was a guy that wanted to go to a school where he could fit in immediately. It wasn’t about the NIL stuff; he wanted to find a place where it felt like home. He went on one visit, and that was Iowa State.

While I don’t know much about Osun’s process, Jaren going there [to Iowa State] probably influenced him a little bit in terms of this is a similar type culture that St. Bonaventure was.

Anything else Cyclone fans need to know about Osunniyi and Holmes? -Hanson

“Another thing that’s important, these two guys are very personable. One of my favorite things that I saw from them was after senior night; they stayed on the court and took pictures and signed autographs with who knows how many fans. They stayed on the court an hour plus. Iowa State fans are going to grow to love them very quickly.