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Merrill Holden Signs: What It Means for Iowa State

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Adding a graduate transfer big man is huge for the outlook of ISU's 2016-17 season.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It's widely known that Iowa State could feature one of the best backcourts in America this coming season.

The frontcourt? Well, that's another story.

With the graduation of Georges Niang, Jameel McKay and Abdel Nader to go along with questions surrounding the eligibility of incoming big man Emmanuel Malou, the Cyclones desperately needed to get some good news regarding their interior personnel. Good news came on Saturday evening when Cyclone Fanatic's Chris Williams reported that Louisiana Tech graduate transfer Merrill Holden would be signing with ISU.

Holden is a 6-foot-8, 215 pounder who received a slew of offers from smaller schools when he came out of Pratt Community College before signing with Louisiana Tech in 2014. With the Bulldogs, he averaged 8.1 points on 51.6% shooting from the field in 23.4 minutes of action per game his senior season. The graduate transfer, who'll be immediately eligible and have one year to play for Iowa State, also hauled in 5 rebounds and blocked 1.1 shots per game last year.

Check out highlights of Holden below.

Holden will join Darrell Bowie, Deonte Burton, Emmanuel Malou, Simeon Carter, Brady Ernst, Cameron Lard and Solomon Young in the ISU frontcourt as it currently stands, but there may yet be attrition before the beginning of the season, whether it comes through eligibility issues or more transfers out of the program. Regardless, the only player returning from last year's team that received significant playing time down low is Burton, who at just 6-foot-4 won't be able to consistently rebound and play defense against the elite post players of the Big 12.

The widely-held belief is that Malou will be the starter come fall if he does indeed qualify to play basketball for the Cyclones. If he doesn't make it to campus, Bowie and Holden - both graduate transfers - will likely battle it out to start at center for Steve Prohm's squad. However, if Malou does qualify, Bowie and Holden will provide solid depth off the bench if neither of them crack the starting five.

With the projected amount of firepower on the perimeter for Iowa State next year, the big men won't be relied upon to carry the scoring load that a guy like Georges Niang did last year. In all likelihood, Coach Prohm will reward the posts who prove they can grab boards and defend most effectively.

Stay tuned (and cross your fingers) for news on Malou's eligibility within the next week or two. But in the meantime, welcome Merrill Holden to the Cyclone family.