Iowa State men’s basketball previews will highlight all the incoming talent that’s coming in, but every single one of them better mention one of the most important pieces of the team. Get your band-aids out — it’s time to spotlight everybody’s favorite Cyclone, Georges Niang.
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First off, let’s set the record straight, nation. Despite the spelling, his name is pronounced “George”. Niang (pronounced knee-yang) was born on June 17th, 1993, in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Niang exceeded expectations in his freshman season, easily locking up a starting role shortly after the 2012-13 season began. After reaching a then-career high of 19 points against Notre Dame in the 2013 NCAA tournament, he eclipsed 20 points 11 times last season. His career high currently sits at 27 points against Oklahoma.
The star forward was last seen in action during the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament. After going down late in the game against North Carolina-Central, most people didn’t expect the Cyclones to move on over North Carolina.
He’s been the unofficial spokesperson for the Cyclones, being very active on Twitter and welcoming every basketball prospect that comes into the city of Ames.
Unlike the 2005 tournament that saw Iowa State losing to the eventual national champion, the Cyclones got their revenge without Niang. But even Fred Hoiberg will be the first to say that Iowa State’s run through the 2014 tournament could have gone even further if Niang’s presence was there.
Largely considered the closer for Iowa State, Niang averaged 53.7 percent from the field in the final five minutes of games last season. There are plenty of important pieces on the Iowa State men’s basketball team, but Niang is one of the most pivotal. And it’s just not on the court.
He’s been the unofficial spokesperson for the Cyclones, being very active on Twitter and welcoming every basketball prospect that comes into the city of Ames. Bring up more than what the casual fan knows to him in person and he’ll have no problem having a conversation with you in public.
Niang’s awards after the 2013-14 season showcases how clutch he is on the big stages. They include being on the Diamond Head Classic All-Tournament Team and the Big 12 All-Tournament Team. He also was on the all-conference third team from the Associated Press and has been listed as the conference player of the week.
Georges Niang provides the energy and the spark the Cyclones need on their men’s basketball team to break through to the next level. We hope he keeps away from the injury bug next March and that he’ll be cutting down even more nets.