The Cyclone basketball team is off to a 6-1 start after Monday night’s thrashing of UNO. As the calendar turns to December, reinforcements are on the way. Forwards Cameron Lard and Zoran Talley will be returning from their 7 game suspensions starting December 3rd. Also on the horizon is the return of preseason all-conference guard Lindell Wigginton and 2-year starter Solomon Young. All four played significant roles for the team last season, but with the team playing well and the new freshman and transfers fitting in, what should coach Steve Prohm do with his rotation?
The first four are no-brainers. Lindell and THT are two of the most talented players in the conference. Shayok and Babb provide senior leadership, which I believe Coach Prohm finds valuable. Babb is a smart player who will play hard and take care of the ball. Shayok should be a lock-down perimeter defender who rebounds and attacks the rim. To me, Michael Jacobsen should keep his starting position. He has been extremely impressive thus far, averaging 17 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. There are no questions about his effort, he rebounds well, and is pretty polished around the basket. His ability to knock down threes should unleash the full offensive potential of this team. Prohm has generally structured his teams with wings and 1 post player, so I’d expect it to look something like this.
First Off the Bench
Haliburton has played well enough to justify a big role. He’s played well defensively and shot well from the perimeter. The questions with Lard will always come down to effort and maturity. Last year, he posted 8 double-doubles and played very well in spurts. I think Prohm will prefer the consistency of Jacobsen as a starter, and will look to Lard to make an impact 6-8 minutes at a time. Both of these guys should play around 20-25 minutes per game.
Other Bench Contributors
Young is expected back from groin surgery around the beginning of Big 12 play. We know that he can play defense, rebound and hit an open jump shot. He has a lot of experience, and can fit into any potential “big” lineups where more than 1 post player is in the game. Talley should be a guy who can step in and maintain a few minutes at a time.
The coaching staff hasn’t generally had this many options over the past 4 years, but I wouldn’t expect the rotation to go more than 9 players deep, if that. Prohm hasn’t been known to play a bunch of guys just for the sake of depth. The great luxury of the 2018-2019 Cyclones is that guys like Zion Griffin, George Conditt IV, and Terrance Lewis are capable of stepping up as needed.