The No. 14 Cyclones are coming off a roller coaster week which featured a home loss to West Virginia, Jameel McKay being suspended, and a road victory over Oklahoma State. Going into this week, Iowa State will face Texas Tech on the road Wednesday and Texas at home Sunday.
The main topic of conversation at head coach Steve Prohm's press conference this week, though, was McKay and his status moving forward.
McKay Remains Suspended
Prohm opened his presser by providing an update on McKay and where the center's place with the team stands. After being suspended on Friday due to a violation of team rules, Prohm said Monday that he remains suspended for Wednesday's game. However, he could return for Saturday's game against Texas.
"We just met and he'll practice (Monday), but he's still suspended indefinitely from an action standpoint," Prohm said. "But he will partake in practice.
"It's really between me and him and he understands," Prohm added. "It's just basically about doing the right things and what I expect each and every day. It's from a whole perspective; it's not just one single thing. I love Jameel and we need Jameel to be right for us to max out and he knows that. Me and him are continuing to communicate and hopefully have a good week this week and we'll go forward. Right now, he's suspended indefinitely until I really say more on the matter.
"My hope is he will be with us Saturday (against Texas). That's my plan, but right now, it's really just a game at a time."
Georges Niang Playing Center
With McKay's suspension, we saw more of the Cyclones' small lineup with Niang at center and Deonte Burton at power forward. We'll see it again Wednesday in Lubbock, and the chance for that lineup to see more minutes together and build continuity could be a blessing in disguise moving forward. It adds more versatility to Prohm's strict lineups. However, this Cyclone team won't be able to get where they need to go without McKay contributing.
"That (small) lineup has been good for us," Prohm said. "But for our team to max out, we need to get all of the pieces on board and all the pistols firing the right way. But that small lineup, if you really research and punch all the numbers, that lineup has been good for us."
Game Planning for Texas Tech
The Cyclones were able to beat the Red Raiders in their first matchup this season, a 76-69 victory in Ames. The suspended McKay had 19 points and 14 rebounds in that game. Even though Texas Tech center Norense Odiase will miss his sixth-straight game, Prohm is concerned about their other big men and cleaning the glass.
"The loss of Odiase hurts them from a physical and size standpoint," Prohm said. "But watching the Oklahoma State game the other night, (Aaron) Ross played really, really well. (Zach) Smith is a long athlete and has a really good activity level up front."