Niang transformation

Devin Wilmott

After an injury that brought the Cyclone tournament-run to an end, George Niang has returned to the court with a tremendous weight loss that can only be explained by Hilton Magic.

A wound not only to Niang, but Iowa State’s formidable men’s basketball team, was sustained during the game and subsequent conquest of North Carolina Central. Niang fractured his right foot in the second half of the game which although ensured us victory, also ensured that he will be unable to perform in the rest of the NCAA tournament.

Half a year later, we find a newly transformed athlete whose inspiring change was sparked by this injury. When Fred Hoiberg, the teams head coach, was asked about his expectations for Niang this season after this transformation, he responded with “an awful lot”. 

“With his new slimmed down physique, he will be even more versatile,” said Hoiberg.

According to Hoiberg, Niang was always a versatile player but will now be more useful around the perimeter with his new physique and able to play “bigger lineups”.

“This is something he took pride in doing,” said Naz Long, teammate of Niang. “His game is a lot smoother now and he gets to the basket quicker.”

Even though Niang has had battles in the past with going up and down in weight, the injury led him to persevere and conquer a body in which he will continue to maintain, if not improve.

“The typical basketball player is usually taller [around “6.7, 6.8, 6.9”] and a couple hundred pounds with a small amount of body fat,” said Andrew Moser, director of strength and conditioning who worked with Niang’s recovery. “His [George] weight was in the upper teens and leaned to the higher end of the body fat spectrum [for a typical player].”  

The journey had been set to help George achieve a “typical basketball player physique”. With that goal in mind, the 6’ 7’’ basketball star went from 256 lbs last season to 230lbs and decreased his body fat percentage down to 10%.

The answer to Niang’s success was mostly due to his change of diet that consisted of higher protein intakes and cutting out the junk food that was used as a frequent filler when traveling during the season. 

Niang discussed the change to a more balanced diet and said that he makes sure to always get a good breakfast and incorporate greens into his lunch and dinner portions moreso than before.

“When you see that much of a change, you feel great about yourself and when you feel great about yourself, your overall morale as a person increases,” said Niang.

As far as physical activity goes, Moser increased the intensity and volume of off-season workouts that were designed for both recovery and improvement. Niang’s new workout regimen was designed to burn more fat and increase lean muscle mass.

“Melvin [Ejim] was very athletic, George not so much,” Hoiberg said when reflecting on last season.

But now with his new physique, Niang is ready to hit the court and show the Iowa State community along with the rest  of the Big 12 conference what he prepared for the table.