It’s the craze sweeping the nation! "Pokemon Go," the hit mobile game that overlays a virtual world of Pokemon over real-life locations, has caught on faster than than Rattata can get off a Quick Attack at the beginning of a gym battle. Fueled by a mix of nostalgia and a desire to "catch ‘em all," seemingly everyone has downloaded the app and taken to the streets searching for the fictional creatures that’ll complete their collection.
Since the game has been such a big hit, basically everyone has turned their attention to the world of Pokemon. Even local news channels like KCCI and WHO have done stories on "Pokemon Go." We won’t give you another report on the game, but the burst of popularity has inspired us at WRNL to compare our favorite bunch of basketball players to Pokemon.
Thus, we give you Iowa State men’s basketball players — as Pokemon.
We decided to stick with the pool of 151 OG Pokemon for this article. Because they’re obviously better than the rest.
In numerical order by jersey...
Simeon Carter - Slowpoke
Now, we know what you’re thinking... "Wow, you guys are jerks. He’s not THAT slow!"
This choice actually had nothing to do with speed. Carter looks like he has potential to become the type of player who runs rim-to-rim and beats the defense down the floor, so take your initial reaction and shove it.
We picked Slowpoke for Carter because whenever the camera cut to the bench during games, it always seemed like he had a huge smile on his face. What Pokemon always has a smile on its face? Slowpoke, of course.
Nick Weiler-Babb - Wartortle
From what it sounds like, Weiler-Babb will be a part of the rotation this year and brings a similar style of play to his older brother, former Cyclone Chris Babb. The reason we picked Wartortle is because Chris was known for his 3-and-D game, much like Blastoise is known for the cannons (offense) and thick shell (defense) on his back.
Chris "blasted" many 3-pointers and shut down numerous opposing players during his two-year stint in Ames. We think Nick has that potential as well, but at this point, he’s still got to evolve at least once before he’s on the level of his older brother. We’ll know more about Nick and his game soon enough.
Cameron Lard - Diglett
Just a couple months ago, everyone was unsure whether Lard would qualify to come to Iowa State. After the dust settled, the prep forward announced he would indeed be in Ames this fall as a freshman.
Like Diglett, who can pop up out of nowhere due to its ability to burrow underground, Lard was "underground" for awhile and popped up into ISU’s 2016 recruiting class.
We dig that.
Ray Kasongo - Geodude
The newest addition to the Cyclone roster, Ray Kasongo comes to town after transferring from Tennessee. What is Tennessee known for? One of the best songs in all of collegiate sports — "Rocky Top!"
Geodude is one of a few rock-type Pokemon in the original 151, but we picked him for Kasongo because we expect that Kasongo will become an enforcer down low. Geodude looks like he could knock a dude out any given moment... If Kasongo can live down low and make a living being an enforcing big man, he’ll make an impact at Iowa State.
Donovan Jackson - Pikachu
Ah, Pikachu. One of the most universally-adored Pokemon.
We went with Pikachu for Jackson because when you watch his highlight reel, you can see he’s lightning quick. Pikachu is one of the smaller Pokemon, just like Jackson will be one of the smaller players on the floor whenever he gets playing time, but both of them have the ability to shock opponents into submission with huge bursts of power.
It’ll be a luxury to finally have another solid point guard on the roster to allow Monte Morris to have a few breathers and play on the wing a bit.
Merrill Holden - Muk
One of the two graduate transfer bigs who figure to get playing time this year for Iowa State, Merrill Holden is an athletic post who’ll be used to "Muk" things up down low for the Cyclones’ opponents. Holden will be called on to rebound, muscle up against opposing bigs and protect the rim in his one season playing in the cardinal and gold.
Muk is also totally underappreciated for its athleticism. We’ll all appreciate how athletic Holden is soon enough.
Darrell Bowie - Weezing
Bowie is the second graduate transfer big man who’ll be in the rotation this year. Along the same lines as the Holden/Muk selection, Weezing is the pick here because, according to the Pokemon Wiki Bulbapedia:
At night, when the people in the house are asleep, [Weezing] will go through the trash. Weezing feeds on the dust, microorganisms, and especially gases emitted by garbage and toxic waste.
Every team needs a guy who gets "garbage" buckets!
Monte Morris - Alakazam
There’s a few ways we could have went to explain the brilliance of Monte Morris, but a Pokemon with an I.Q. of 5,000 and some kick-ass psychic powers seems like a good pick for the NCAA record-holder in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Alakazam is said to move its head and body using only psychic powers, as opposed to using its muscles. Our guess is that Morris uses a similar technique when handling the basketball, which explains why he turns the ball over so rarely.
Watch for trainer Steve Prohm to fully unleash the destructive powers of his Alakazam on the court this year.
Jakolby Long - Magnemite
From the day that Long committed, we’ve heard that he’s a physical guard who takes pride in being a defensive stopper. Chances are, when he gets on the floor in Hilton Coliseum, he’ll apply that defensive prowess and stick to his man like the north and south ends of two magnets... That’s why we went with Magnemite for the younger of two Longs on the roster (Jakolby is unrelated to 3sus).
The lefty guard has proven he can score the ball as well, going toe-to-toe against Malik Monk in high school, who’ll be one of the high-profile freshman this coming season at Kentucky under John Calipari. Will we see him become an electric scorer on offense before his career is over? Don’t rule it out!
Nazareth Mitrou-Long - Gengar
The career of 3sus of Nazareth has gone much like the evolution path that Gengar goes through. In Mitrou-Long’s freshman year, his shot was shaky (Gastly, if you will), and many people doubted whether he’d ever play meaningful minutes at ISU. Then, in his sophomore year, he broke out with some huge shots against Oklahoma State that still Haunt(er) the Cowboys to this day.
Now, fresh off a medical redshirt season, the fully-evolved 3sus is ready to take the Cyclones to college basketball heaven (never mind that the Pokemon we compared him to prefers dark rooms, caves and shadowy areas)...
Matt Thomas - Beedrill
Thomas came into Ames with huge expectations after being lauded as one of the best shooters to come out of high school in his recruiting class. However, in his first two seasons of college basketball, he struggled with consistency and confidence.
Starting slow? Falling on hard(en) times? Sounds like the path to becoming a Beedrill to us! Beedrills begin as Weedles, then evolve into Kakunas before taking on their final form. Thomas showed us last year during his junior season that he can live up to the expectations that were formed for him prior to his arrival at Iowa State.
It’s clear that he just had to break out of his shell before he could "drill" nearly every shot from long range.
Wes Greder - Pidgey
The hometown boy (hailing from Gilbert, Iowa), Greder’s Pokemon is Pidgey because there’s a ton of Pidgeys that reside near Pallet Town, which is the home of Generation 1 trainers and also the location of Professor Oak’s lab.
Pidgeys are awesome. We’re confident Wes is also awesome.
Stuart Nezlek - Magikarp
STUUUUUUUUUU and Magikarp are two peas in a pod. Stu made a big splash at Iowa State and is the player the fans want to see most at the end of games. Meanwhile, Magikarps use splash as their primary move!
Stu and Magikarp are the fan favorites that outsiders often doubt, but when you train with them enough, they will evolve into a Gyarados and destroy people in combat.
That Gyarados moment is definitely coming for Stu.
Deonte Burton - Machamp
When you see Deonte Burton, do you think "Built like a brick house and could crush me into oblivion with no effort?" We do too! That’s why the heavily-muscled Machamp is the perfect comparison for Burton.
Yes, we think Machamp would be a great dunker... Assuming it can jump with those heavy weapons of mass destruction.
Solomon Young - Onix
The early scouting reports on Young are that he’s a raw player on the offensive end, but he’s got that bulldog-like toughness that you want in a frontcourt player. When we think of raw, unrefined power in Pokemon, we think of Onix.
Rock throw, or throwing the rock through the hoop via a monstrous jam? Both are likely for these intimidating specimens.