Iowa State adding freshmen to transfer mix

July, 24, 2012
07/24/12
12:47
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Iowa State became Transfer U under Fred Hoiberg, and it still is to some extent, with Michigan State senior transfer Korie Lucious trying to fill the void left by Royce White last season.

But if the Cyclones are to build upon the momentum gained from last season's NCAA tournament win, they have to blend freshmen with their second-chance transfers.

Hoiberg is confident his incoming class will give the Cyclones the right mix to remain relevant.

Freshman Georges Niang has been the most impressive of the new lot, according to Hoiberg, but the coach has been pleased with the impact as well of the other three, Nkereuwem Okoro, Sherron Dorsey-Walker and Naz Long, as well. Iowa State has commitments for its 2013 class from Matt Thomas out of Wisconsin and Monte Morris from Michigan to shore up the perimeter.

"I love this group, and with the two new commits and the guys coming in, we're excited about our future; the future is bright," Hoiberg said. "We've got a good mix right now. Five seniors and the young guys are very good players."

Gone from last season's 23-11 team are White, Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen, the Cyclones' top three scorers. All three were transfers from other Division I schools. Chris Babb, another transfer, was the fifth-leading scorer and returns, and the Cyclones will look to yet another transfer this season in Michigan State's Lucious. Utah senior forward transfer Will Clyburn is also eligible. And Anthony Booker, Tyrus McGee and Percy Gibson will add depth.

"The one thing we didn't have [last season] was a true point guard," Hoiberg said. "We gave a scholarship to Bubu Palo at mid-semester and he gave us solid minutes. We'll have a much more traditional point guard. We'll play faster. We'll have more athletic wings."

Hoiberg said he won't change the way he is building this program. But he has better balance. The schedule will play out well for the Cyclones with a tournament in Las Vegas in which they'll open up against Cincinnati and then play either Oregon or host UNLV. The Cyclones added a home-and-home series with BYU, beginning in Ames. The rest is more than manageable, although the annual rivalry game with Iowa will be even tougher because of the Hawkeyes' improvement.

Kansas will be the favorite in the Big 12, with Baylor, Texas and Kansas State likely on its heels. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma should be much improved. West Virginia and Iowa State could be the wild cards in the mix, putting the Big 12 in position to possibly have eight of its 10 teams in the mix for NCAA tournament bids in late February.

"The blueprint is to have as much talent as possible and, at first, when we got here, it happened to be transfers," said Hoiberg, who signed a new eight-year deal after last season that will push him through 2021. "It worked well for us and we'll always look for transfers here. We had great chemistry together and it showed later in the year. That being said, we want freshmen in this program. We have an enthusiastic group and we've got great kids and players in this program for the next four years."

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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