ISU basketball welcomes five new players



Freshman forward/center Georgios Tsalmpouris, redshirt junior forward Jameel McKay, senior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, freshman guard Clayton Custer and sophomore guard Hallice Cooke.

Max Dible

The ISU basketball team is returning three starters, but the fresh faces on the roster will have a lot to say about Iowa State repeating last year’s success.

Bryce Dejean-Jones

Jones, a senior guard, transferred to Iowa State from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, choosing to play his final collegiate season as a Cyclone.

Dejean-Jones led the Rebels in scoring last year, averaging 13.6 points per game, and will be asked to shoulder a good deal of the scoring load left by the departed DeAndre Kane.

While ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said no lineup decisions have been made as of yet, Dejean-Jones is a good bet to start at guard for the Cyclones when the season begins.

Jameel McKay

Long, tall and athletic, McKay is something Hoiberg said he has never had during his tenure at Iowa State-a true rim protector and a versatile big man on both ends of the court.

After being forced to sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer regulations, McKay will be on the bench for eight more games before he makes his ISU debut.

He returns to the court on Dec. 20 against the Drake Bulldogs for his first game as a Cyclone.

When McKay is finally allowed off of the bench, the 6-foot 9-inch forward will bring athleticism and shot-blocking to an ISU interior that needs a dynamic defensive force around the basket.

Clayton Custer

One of the few true freshmen on the team, Custer is primarily a ball-handler and a threat from the three-point arc, making him a natural fit in Hoiberg’s high-scoring offense, which attempted over 23 three-point field goals per contest last season.

At his high school in Overland Park, Kansas, the freshman guard averaged 19 points per game and has the potential to be a real offensive threat off of the bench.

“I’ll be another guy that comes in, takes care of the ball and knocks down shots,” Custer said

Georgios Tsalmpouris

Like McKay, the 7’1″ Tsalmpouris is a shot-blocker and a shot-changer in the paint, but he also brings European flavor to the ISU offense.

Typical of post players who grow up playing the European style of basketball, Tsalmpouris is equipped with exceptional passing skills and the ability to make jump shots from long-range.

Tsalmpouris averaged a triple-double during his final year on his under-17 team in Greece, posting 27 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks per contest.

While he does not expect to produce at quite the same level in major college basketball, he said much of what he does will translate.

“I’m trying to get stronger to survive,” Tsalmpouris said. “The game is faster so I have to get used to it. Everyone is athletic but I’m 7-feet with big hands. I think I’ll get a few blocks.”

Abdel Nader

The redshirt junior sat out the 2013-14 season at Iowa State after transferring in from Northern Illinois and should provide added offensive versatility on the edge along with Dejean-Jones and sophomore Monte Morris.

Hoiberg described Nader as the kind of player capable of making tough shots, which is a valuable asset against stout defensive opponents.

Hallice Cooke

Another transfer, Cooke’s road to Iowa State started in New Jersey and cut through Corvallis, Oregon- home of the Oregon State Beavers – before finally ending in Ames.

Cooke will be forced by NCAA transfer regulations to sit out for the 2014-15 season, but will be a valuable addition to next year’s roster.

Cooke averaged over eight points per game during his freshman campaign at Oregon State and is known most for his streaky shooting from three-point range.

“Seeing the way [Iowa State] shared the ball, the way that [Hoiberg] coached them and the way they played hard for coach [drew my interest],” Cooke said. “Little things like that just made me feel like I wanted to be a part of something like this.”