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Realistic options in the portal for Iowa State Basketball

A deep dive into the transfer portal

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Wright St vs Arizona Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

As this article is being written, there are over 1,000 names in the transfer portal. With names being entered every day, there are future Cyclones in there. They just need to be weeded out.

There are big names like Andre Curbelo, Tyree Appleby, and Xavier Pinson who will not be coming to Ames next fall. You can take that to the bank. Things will change from now to when the season starts, but here are seven names to watch out for in the transfer portal.

Grant Basile

This name has been talked about the most in the Cyclone world. Basile averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists at Wright State this past year. He is 6’9 and 225 pounds. The Wisconsin native has two years of eligibility left.

If you’re a true Iowa State, you should know this name has Otzelberger attention. That’s because Basile is from Wisconsin and that is where Otz hunts for his recruits. Otzelberger loves him some Wisconsin guys.

Not to mention that Basile is a stretch five and can play the pick & pop game. A Tyrese Hunter and Grant Basile duo would make things quite interesting.

His game is very similar to Georges Niang. I know that’s a bold thing to say, but it’s the truth. He is a little lengthier than Niang, but he backs down smaller guys into the paint where he rises above them. If he has a center on him who isn’t as athletic, he uses his dribble to get past him or shoots a three. His ball-handling is very impressive for a guy his size.

Iowa State has talked to him, and they have an in-home visit with Basile. Other contenders in this race are Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Basile already visited Notre Dame.

Jeremiah Williams

The Cyclones have talked to Williams and plan to have an in-home visit with the Temple transfer. He started in 21 games this past season and averaged 9.5 points, 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

Williams has two years of eligibility left, three if you include the covid year. This is a transfer that would seem to buy into the defensive team. Williams is a lengthy guard and is listed at 6’5.

He would need to work on his three-point shooting in the offseason. He shot 23.1% from three this past year. Williams played both point guard and off-ball while at Temple

Other teams involved with Williams include Illinois, DePaul and Xavier. A coach on Williams’ AAU team he played for when he was younger is now an assistant for Illinois. That could play a part in his decision.

Sean McNeil

The former West Virginia guard has experience playing at Hilton, to say the least. McNeil is a graduate transfer meaning he only has one year of eligibility left. The 6’3 guard averaged 12 points, with a season-high of 26 points.

He shot 36.8% from three and is an 86.7% free throw shooter, which would help the Cyclones after they struggled from the free-throw line last year.

McNeil isn’t a defense-first guard but more of an instant offense type of guy.

McNeil has heard from 20 teams so far, as he is one of the best shooters in the portal.

Tristen Newton

Newton is what the kids call these days, “a certified bucket getter.” He averaged 17.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5 assists this season for East Carolina. Newton has gotten interest from 25 teams including UConn, Houston, Florida, Ohio State, Creighton and TCU, along with Iowa State.

Newton scored a season-high 32 points this year and shot 43.5% from the field. Newton is an excellent passer as well. I believe he is one of the most underrated transfers in the portal. He is instant offense, but he plays hard on defense and finds open teammates.

He told reporters that he is looking for the best system to elevate him to the league. Last time I checked, Iowa State is capable of doing that. Something to keep tabs on is his younger brother, Jawaun Newton. He averaged 12 points a game at Evansville.

Tristen hasn’t indicated anything about him and his brother teaming up anywhere as of now. Iowa State has talked to Tristen but not Jawaun.

To add to everything already, the Newton brothers are cousins with the NFL star Aaron Jones. The Packers running back went to multiple of Tristen’s games at East Carolina last season. There’s nothing better than having Aaron Jones and Allen Lazard road tripping to some games in Hilton next year.

Tristan Newton has two years of eligibility left.

Philip Alston

The Division II transfer averaged 21 points and 10.8 rebounds last year for California University. No, not that California University, this college is in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Ohio native is 6’6 and 225 pounds. Iowa State has reached out to him, along with Pittsburgh, Ohio, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and St. Bonaventure.

Alston has been talked about as the next player to make the jump from DII to DI while bringing a heavy impact to his team. Along with averaging a double-double, Alston averaged 1.9 blocks as well. It’s been noted that his jump has some spring to it. An athletic forward in a defensive system would be quite fun to watch.

It is unknown at the time how many years of eligibility he would have left.

Ben Vander Plas

This past season, Vander Plas played for Ohio, averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. He shot 46% from the field and 34% behind the arc. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

The big man who could be a stretch four/five is listed at 6’7 and 220 pounds. He was a key element in Ohio’s MAC Tournament Championship run in 2021 and the team’s victory over Virginia in the NCAA tournament in 2021.

He made All-Mac First Team this past season and could bring some shooting to Iowa State. He can stretch the floor and give more space for Hunter to work the offense. The offense for the Cyclones this year had a lot of handoffs and screens at the top of the key. Now imagine if the guy handing off the ball at the top of the key could fake and knock down a shot. Very deadly.

Vander Plas is also a Wisconsin native and you already know how much that matters. Wisconsin is reportedly very interested as they have lost members of their frontcourt for next season. Well, the Cyclones have beat Wisconsin before so they mine as well to do it again, this time on the transfer front.

Manny Bates

Bates went down in the first game of his season with a season-ending shoulder injury. Back in the 2020-21 season, Bates averaged 7.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks a game.

Without a doubt, Bates is one of the best defensive players who are in the portal. He was Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC before getting injured this season. Bates would have two years of eligibility left, three assuming he gets the medical redshirt for this year.

The Cyclones have contacted Bates this past week. Other teams who have contacted him are Notre Dame, Ohio State, Arkansas, Miami, Georgetown, Houston, and Texas Tech.

The easiest comparison to him would be the 2015 season from Jameel McKay. What is meant by that comparison is the rim running and shot blocking are very similar. Bates is a defensive anchor that will instantly help any team. Guards can be more aggressive, knowing they have a top-tier shot-blocker behind them.

There will be more transfers that will be targeted for the Cyclones later this offseason. As of now, the players listed above are realistic options for Iowa State and contain probable chances to make next year’s team.

Other players that could be future Cyclones in the portal include Jared Lucus (Oregon State), Miryne Thomas (Ball State), Judah Brown (St. Mary’s), Jalen Graham (Arizona State), Javon Pickett (Missouri), Dashawn Davis (Oregon State) and Parker Stewart (Indiana)