This past year’s team brought Hilton Magic and Cyclone Basketball back to where it belongs. The 2012 team that just finished their season was a good team. Next year’s team may be great. Basketball season hasn’t been over with for five days yet many Cyclone fans are looking forward to the future.
First, we’ll start with who Fred Hoiberg is losing. Losing Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen doesn’t help. Scott Christopherson was the leader on the team and averaged 12.5 per game while Chris Allen averaged over 11 per game. Those two will be missed.
Also, the expectations of next year have a lot to due whether Royce White leaves for the NBA Draft this year. We can debate whether he should or shouldn’t (and I hope he does whatever is best for him), but for right now, we are going to say he stays for another year. Even without Royce White, I still think this team can be better than the 2012 version.
Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen are on their way out, but enter three players that have the capacity to do a lot of good next year for Fred Hoiberg.
Probably the most talked about is guard Korie Lucious. Lucious is a transfer from Michigan State and will fill in an area where the Clones lacked at times; a true point guard. Second is another transfer in Will Clyburn. Clyburn left Utah where he led the team in scoring (17.1) and rebounding (7.8). The last big name for the Cyclones coming in for next season is Georges Niang. Niang is currently a senior at Tilton in New Hampshire. Niang is a 6’7 point forward that ranks 69th in ESPNU’s Top 100.
Headlining the players returning for the Cyclones would be Royce White (again, just saying for now). White has the potential to be one of the best in the nation next year and may end up as a lottery pick. If his outside shot improves over the offseason, look out.
We all know what Babb, McGee, Booker, and Palo can do. A player that I’m looking forward to next year is Percy Gibson. Gibson should have much more playing time next year and will add another low post scorer for the Clones.
With all that talent next year, what should we expect from next year’s team? If White comes back, I’m personally expecting a Big 12 title and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Here is why. The Big 12 should be weaker next year. Tyshawn Taylor played his last year at KU and Thomas Robinson is likely gone for the NBA Draft. Kansas will still be good, but I’m not expecting another Big 12 title for Bill Self. I think the biggest challenges for Iowa State will be Baylor and Texas.
With a Big 12 championship, the Cyclones will avoid the 8/9 matchup where the winner has to play one of the best teams in the nation. Maybe because I’m a little biased, but I could see the Cyclones making a deep run this year if we didn’t have as tough of a draw. A Sweet 16 appearance should be the minimum Iowa State fans should expect.
How far can the Cyclones get next year? Well we’ll have to wait another year to find out, but next year’s team has the makings of a great team.