No, not many Iowa State fans know what conference North Carolina Central plays in, let alone some key players to watch for. We’ll take a look at three players that could have the biggest impact on the Eagles and some of the biggest mismatches that favors the Cyclones.
#14 Jeremy Ingram (NCCU senior guard, 6-foot-3, 175 lbs.)
Ingram is one of two players that averages above 10 points per game, and he doubles that up with 20.6 points per game with an effective field goal percentage of 51. He hasn’t scored in the single digits since February 8th against Bethune-Cookman.
Ingram is incredibly dangerous from 3-point range, and has been since his sophomore season. He’s averaged 35.9 percent or better from downtown in the last three seasons. In the last four games, Ingram has made 13-of-18 from 3-point range since going 1-for-9 against Savannah State.
#3 Melvin Ejim (ISU senior forward, 6-foot-6, 220 lbs.)
Among some of the mismatches against NC Central, Ejim is without question the biggest. There are players physically bigger, but no one packs the punch that Ejim can bring inside. Both Ejim and Dustin Hogue should dominate on the glass, and there’s no reason the Big 12 player of the year can’t get or come close to a double-double in the first half.
#1 Jay Copeland (NCCU junior forward, 6-foot-7, 255 lbs.)
Copeland isn’t the biggest player on the Eagles, but he does have the most rebounds per game (5.9) as a starter and would cause the most havoc inside if Iowa State gets into trouble on the boards. The forward picked up five or more rebounds in seven of his last 11 games, including a season-high performances of 12 boards and 17 points against Savannah State on February 17th.
#42 Daniel Edozie (ISU junior forward, 6-foot-8, 245 lbs.)
If Iowa State has the advantage of resting their starters, one player that the Cyclones would love to give some playing time is Edozie. Frontcourt depth didn’t really matter en route to a Big 12 championship, but it wouldn’t hurt to put in Edozie on the big stage to get him comfortable if and when they’ll need him for another NCAA tournament game.
#2 Jordan Parks (NCCU junior guard, 6-foot-7, 200 lbs.)
He won’t have an immediate presence, but Parks is the team’s sixth man. He averages 19 minutes a game and has played in all 33 despite not starting in any of them. He averages 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, second on the team in both categories. Parks averages 66.2 percent from the field and makes 64.6 percent of his free throws. While he shouldn’t be a threat from downtown, it’s worth noting he’s made 7-of-12 3-pointers on the season.