Moments after one of the most beloved senior classes in Iowa State history strolled off the floor for the last time as Cyclones, fans immediately took to message boards and social media to look ahead to next season. In a way, it was kind of disappointing to see fans move on so quickly, but college basketball is certainly a “what have you done for me lately” sport these days.
As always, Cyclone fans were incredibly passionate and invested last year, but there was a different kind of energy running through the fan base as the end of the season neared. Could this be the last meaningful run for awhile? It was possible.
Everyone was calling it the end of an era, including yours truly. It took many folks awhile to realize, though, it also marked the beginning of a new era. It appears the more things change around Iowa State basketball, the more they stay the same. A program that took in transfers in an effort to re-claim their national relevance, is now once again looking to take in transfers in an effort to retain their national relevance.
It isn’t easy to turn over more than half a roster and return to the NCAA Tournament. Four open scholarships in April could signify a tough upcoming winter in one of the nation’s premiere conferences. As the days and weeks have passed by since the Final Four, it appears those open roster spots could be a blessing in disguise.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since the college basketball season has ended. Iowa State fans have grown accustomed to the “free agency” period in college basketball. For good reason, Cyclone fans treat spring recruiting information like it’s a drug. All of the normal excitement of prep recruiting is packed into a span of a couple of weeks and the targeted players have legitimate film against other Division I basketball players. To help describe transfer recruiting in one easy graphic we have included the formula below...
Much like the weather in Iowa, recruiting news changes hour to hour and even minute to minute. After this weekend, we may finally start getting some answers. It’s possible a couple of these scholarships could be filled, and it’s also possible several new targets could emerge. As of now, here’s a look at Iowa State’s main targets.
These players would arrive in Ames over the summer and be immediately eligible to compete next season.
The former New Mexico guard is a volume scorer who averaged over 18 points per game for the Lobos. Brown would be a major addition for the Cyclones next season. Although he can fill it up with the best of them, his shooting percentages leave a bit to be desired. Brown will visit the weekend of April 21st. He’s one of the more likely candidates to end up in Ames.
New Mexico grad transfer Elijah Brown tells me he's cut his list to Iowa State, Northwestern, Oregon, Saint Mary's, and Gonzaga.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 7, 2017
In a recent twist, it was released Wednesday that one of the top graduate transfers on the market would visit Ames the weekend of April 21st. This is the same weekend that fellow target Elijah Brown will be visiting. Of all the transfers currently on Iowa State’s radar, Koulechov would make probably the biggest impact next season.
It’s not often you can add a player who nearly averaged a double-double while shooting close to 50% from 3-point range. Koulechov, the former Rice Owl, would immediately alter the expectations in Ames next season. He will visit Iowa State after making trips to Florida and Oklahoma.
Rice transfer Egor Koulechov will visit Florida next weekend, per a source. Just finished a visit to Oklahoma. Averaged 18.2 & 8.9 last year— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 9, 2017
Wright State guard Mark Alstork is another of the top graduate transfers on the market. He’s just recently been linked to Iowa State, but no official visit has been scheduled at the moment. Alstork would also be a gigantic addition, but there isn’t as much smoke with this one as the other two. Until he sets up a visit, I wouldn’t get too excited. Michigan is thought to be one of the leaders for Alstork, who averaged nearly 20 points per game last season.
Wright State's Mark Alstork is getting his release and will graduate this summer, he tells Scout. Averaged 19 PPG & 4.7 RPG last season.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 4, 2017
Sit Out Transfers
The sit out transfers aren’t as sexy to the casual fan as the immediately eligible guys. I get it, we want to see an improvement in our roster next season. Just remember, sit out transfers have the ability to work on their game for an entire season while settling in to a new school. Iowa State has had a couple of good sit out transfers over the years...
If Marial Shayok sounds familiar to Cyclone fans, it’s because he was an opponent of Iowa State’s just a season ago when his Virginia team downed Georges Niang and company in the Sweet 16. Shayok has the ability to play the wing or an off-guard spot. A good defender and a capable scorer, Shayok should thrive in an up-tempo system. The downfall with Shayok is after sitting out one year, he would only have one to play. Iowa State appears to be in pretty good position with Shayok, although he will take more visits, including one to Liberty this weekend. Shayok visited last weekend during the spring football game.
Virginia transfer Marial Shayok and Northwest Florida State JUCO Daryl Edwards on their official visits. pic.twitter.com/1hRfZyTISa— Alex Halsted (@AlexHalsted) April 8, 2017
Former Nebrasketballer Ed Morrow is looking for a new home. A popular rumor going around is the Iowa State coaching staff was so impressed with Morrow during their pre-season scrimmage they made an immediate contact with the forward after learning of his intent to transfer.
Morrow would be a great boost to the frontcourt for 2018-2019. He will sit one season, play two seasons. Morrow has the ability to post a double-double on any given night and is apparently down to Iowa State, Xavier and Coppin State, though no visit has been set up with the Cyclones. Xavier appears to be the early leader, but if Morrow chooses the Cyclones, their front-court would be pretty formidable with Morrow, Solomon Young and Cameron Lard.
Junior College Transfers
These two players would be eligible immediately next fall and have two seasons to play. It’s often tough to translate their production from junior college to Big 12 play, but these two targets are two of the top junior college players in the country.
Shakur Juiston is THE main target for Steve Prohm this spring. Prohm has taken this recruitment on himself and it appears to be paying dividends so far. Considered the top junior college player in the nation, you could pencil Juiston in as a starter in the frontcourt and possibly one of the early favorites for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
With schools like Kansas in the fold, it’s clear a guy of his caliber would immediately change the outlook for Iowa State going forward. As far as instant impact is concerned, Juiston and Koulachev are home run additions. Juiston will visit Ames this weekend.
Iowa State JUCO forward target Shakur Juiston, who will visit this weekend, has been named an NJCAA First Team All-American.— Alex Halsted (@AlexHalsted) April 13, 2017
Daryl Edwards made his way to Ames last weekend for the spring game. It appears the visit went well, yet there was no commitment. A couple of days ago it was thought Edwards was going to choose between UNLV and Iowa State at the conclusion of this week. That no longer appears to be the case, as Edwards has scheduled multiple visits to the likes of Utah, LSU and UNLV.
A week ago I would have considered the sharpshooter a strong candidate to commit to Iowa State, but it makes one wonder why the surprise visits have popped up. It’s possible he still commits to the good guys, and he would be a solid addition, but it doesn’t look as promising as it once did.
With a Top 25 class coming in next year, Iowa State has most likely wrapped up their prep recruiting for the year, but one name has surfaced recently that has Steve Prohm and company considering expanding their incoming class.
Garrison Brooks, who was recently released from his letter of intent to play for Ben Howland and Mississippi State, is exploring other options for next fall. The highly-touted recruit had the blue bloods after him early and will now have them at his doorstep this spring. If Brooks wants to play in Ames, I have a hard time believing Steve Prohm won’t find a spot for him. North Carolina is also believed to be entering the radar for Brooks. No visit has been set to Ames.
Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Pittsburgh are among the schools that have inquired about former Miss St signee Garrison Brooks.— Dan McDonald (@DMcDonaldRivals) April 12, 2017
Pipe Wet Dream Scenario
In a perfect world (from the names listed above), Iowa State would add Koulechov and Juiston to go along with Alstork and Morrow. Those additions would provide immediate help while bolstering the 2018-2019 squad as well. Although not likely, that spring recruiting coup coupled with a highly touted prep class, would certainly raise eyebrows on the recruiting scene.
Iowa State is in a great spot with Juiston, Brown and Shayok. Honestly, any combination of four from the above list should have fans enthralled. The most likely result is that a few of these players commit to the good guys, while the other roster spots are filled with players we haven’t heard from yet.
Iowa State has four scholarships to fill. That’s a lot, but not enough to sign all of these players. Above, we went through eight players that have been linked to Iowa State AT THIS TIME. More transfers will hit the market in the next couple of days and weeks and the Cyclones will undoubtedly be linked to a couple of new faces.
Prohm doesn’t have to fill all four spots. He may choose to bank one scholarship for a mid-year transfer. With the quality of players Iowa State has been linked with, I doubt this is the path he takes though. It appears he would like a mix between graduate transfers, junior college players and a sit-out player or two, but he will certainly take the best players he can get. Iowa State has room in their rotation to add three immediately eligible guys, at least.
Of all the players listed above, Egor Koulechov and Shakur Juiston would shift the narrative around Ames the most for next season.. With the addition of those two transfers, Iowa State could be in the Top 25 conversation going into next season.
Roster turnover is typical following a coaching change. Steve Prohm inherited a different situation than most coaches new to the Power 5 level do, so the inevitable turnover was delayed. The bottom line is, what was once considered the end of the road for Iowa State basketball can now be viewed as a positive re-tooling of an already talented roster. Steve Prohm has not only retained national relevance, but appears poised to take Iowa State to new heights this spring.
Which transfer would be YOUR top target
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