Iowa State still has some spots to fill in its 2017 class, and we should know more about that as the JUCO and transfer recruiting season hits us. Steve Prohm is on record saying that he’ll be on the market for a couple JUCO/grad transfer bigs and a wing player of some sort.
Regardless of how they get here, Iowa State needs a front court contributor for next season. Getting a sit-out winger or forward is great, but at the moment, next year’s front court consists of Solomon Young, Cameron Lard, Simeon Carter and Ray Kasongo. There’s a lot of pieces there, but most are unproven. If there is off-season attrition at the forward position, it becomes even more imperative to get an instant impact guy in the 2017 class. Jameel McKay types don’t grow on trees, but a guy like 6’10” De’Quon Lake, former teammate of Donovan Jackson at IWCC, could go a long way in putting a bow on the 2017 class.
That’s not why we’re here today though. We’re here to take a look at some of Iowa State’s 2018 targets. If Iowa State fills the 2017 class and there’s no attrition, the Cyclones would have just one or two spots to fill. Donovan Jackson is the only current projected 2017 graduate, but if Prohm adds a grad transfer in 2017 or there’s any attrition in the next two years (likely), spots will open up. So who’s on deck?
If you could list a guy as a priority target. Race Thompson is the guy. Thompson is a skilled 6’8”, 210 pound PF from Minneapolis, and is ranked 62nd nationally on the 247Sports composite. The reason I kept saying Prohm was behind the 8-ball in recruiting up until this point is because recruiting at a top-25 level is a multi-year process, and he hadn’t been here long enough to develop early ties to big fish. Iowa State offered Race last July, and he was unofficially on campus for the UNI game last fall.
Since then, Prohm and Neill Berry have repeatedly been up to see Race in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Thompson has a smooth looking shot for a big man, decent athleticism, and shows some creative finishes around the rim. Thompson could be the stretch four that’s been missing since Niang’s departure.
Those who follow basketball recruiting are aware of the fact that the Memphis area puts out some quality prospects every year. Iowa State targeted a few last year, including current TCU point guard, Jaylen Fisher. William Small is after another Memphis prospect, who I think could be the crown jewel of the 2018 class, T.J. Moss.
Moss, the 56th overall prospect, is a 6’3” guard with serious range, and would be the perfect complement to Lindell Wigginton, Darius McNeill and Jakolby Long. If those four can solidify the one and two spots, that opens up guys like Terrence Lewis and Nick Weiler-Babb to play the three and even four, if ISU wants to play small. Moss has the physical tools to play early and often and could help solidify the back court for the future.
Watson, the 139th overall prospect is a 6’4” guard that plays the same position as Moss, but differently. Watson is more of a slasher and prototypical winger. He has the ability to shoot it from long range, but is effective at getting to the rim and finishing through contact. Iowa State offered the St. Louis prospect in July and has been in to see him over the winter as well.
Far be it from me to establish a preference between Moss and Watson, but I have a hard time envisioning the staff taking two players at this position in 2018, barring attrition. Either way, there’s definitely a reason to be excited about the future of the guard and wing positions at Iowa State.
Speaking of point guards, a top program can never have enough. That would be why Coach Prohm and Co. are looking at 6’1” AJ Green from Cedar Falls. When Donovan Jackson graduates, the point guard position will be left in the hands of Darius McNeill and Lindell Wigginton. Both are capable of playing the point, but both may be better suited to play off the ball. Time will tell.
Either way, there could be spot minutes available to ease Green into the system, and he could also benefit learning from the guys ahead of him. Meanwhile, enjoy this compilation of the terrific outside shot and smooth handles of the 98th ranked prospect in the 2018 class. HAND DOWN, MAN DOWN.
There’s another Tennessee wing prospect to throw in the mix with Watson and Moss, 6’5” Ryan Boyce. There’s not much information out there on Boyce, but Iowa State offered in January, and by throwing another wing into the mix, you’d have to think the staff is prioritizing that position to supplement Terrence Lewis and the departing Nick Weiler-Babb beyond the 2018-19 season.
Boyce is currently ranked 128th nationally on the 247Sports Composite, and from the video below, he can get up.
There is another forward in the mix at this point, 6’7” Isaiah Kelly out of Atlanta. Iowa State has visited the 155th overall prospect and he was on campus this past fall. Prohm loves these big wingers, small forwards that can defend multiple positions and Kelly fits that bill.
I think a lot of what we’re seeing with these small forward/winger type recruits is Prohm trying to find another Abdel Nader type guy. We all saw the growth Nader made between his junior and senior year, and having another slasher with size that can also space the floor is critical to a Steve Prohm offense. I think that’s what we’re getting a bit with Terrence Lewis, and it’s clearly something Prohm is valuing as he proceeds on the recruiting trail.
I would expect to see Iowa State in the mix for another power forward/center type in the future, but for now it seems the staff’s eyes are set on Race Thompson after the 2017 class comes to a close. The trio of Thompson, Lard and Young are the future of the 4/5 position, and as we go forward I would expect De’Quon Lake and Shakur Juiston to be names to watch from the JUCO ranks, as the 2017 class comes to a close.