Iowa State men’s basketball: Is Bubu Palo worth the drama?


For over a year, Iowa State men’s basketball guard Bubu Palo has faced legal issues regarding a sexual assault claim that’s led to various appeals from him and the university in. While the case was dropped, the fight for Palo now is gaining eligibility on the basketball team again after getting kicked off and an attempt to clear his name. The question for head coach Fred Hoiberg and the men’s basketball team is if it’s even worth considering playing Palo while they have their own issues to work out during a three-game slide.

Jan 7, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg talks to his team during the second half against the Baylor Bears at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Baylor 87-72. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

This week was supposed to be an off-week for the Cyclones, six days off between the loss at Texas and the home game coming up against Kansas State to figure out how to end a losing streak after starting off 14-0. Instead, their team has been in the spotlight because the official ruiling on Palo could impact the entire nation of college athletics.

When it comes to the men’s basketball team, Palo hasn’t averaged more than 14.1 minutes per game, 4 points per game, and 1.5 assists per game in his three-year career, and he’s taken 150 total shots. As a backup guard, the Cyclones don’t need Palo on the team. Matt Thomas will continue to learn and develop, Naz Long needs to find consistency in his 3’s, and Monte Morris is already a terrific backup to DeAndre Kane at the point guard position.

Of course fans want to see Palo play, we all would. There’s petitions out there for fans to sign. Personally, the case has been dropped, he’s still on scholarship, and he’s still academically sound; he’s done everything to show that he is capable of returning to the team outside of breaking the student code of conduct.

But it’s not worth the court drama that could potentially keep this team unravelling.

Instead, Iowa State fans should focus on the bigger picture. If the Iowa Supreme Court rules in favor of Palo, then it opens a debate on whether athletics are a right or a privilege for college students. His return to the basketball team will impact them in some way, but will it be a great impact or very minimal? Is it even enough to justify the potential of creating more problems by adding him?