We return to our men’s basketball preview with last year’s Wisconsin bomber, Matt Thomas. The sharpshooter looks to improve from a season that many expected more out of.
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Fans will remember Thomas came to Iowa State after a 95-12 career in Onalaska, WI. He originally started the season as the shooting guard, but looked a little out-of-place with the increased pace of the game and struggled early. He hit his stride after being moved to the bench and showed a great deal more confidence in the second unit alongside Naz Long as one of the two gunners.
Thomas scored a career-high 14 points three times during the season against Kansas State, Auburn, and UMKC. He also shot 33.6 percent from beyond the arc en route to 44 total threes on the season, the second most by a Cyclone freshman in team history. He will look to build on that success while most likely coming off the bench again alongside Naz Long and Abdel Nadir.
Many people piled on Thomas after his deer-in-the-headlights start last season. I’ll admit it was hard to watch his shot not fall, but let’s credit him for persevering and making an impact as the season progressed. Anyone truly paying attention could see his confidence grow over time as he would drive to the hoop more aggressively and even showed off some nifty dribbling moves in bringing the ball up the court. I am a huge fan of Thomas overall and he is my early pick for most improved player.
A year of experience, coupled with an off-season of lifting and working with his teammates should work wonders for the sophomore. It is only speculation, but look for Georges Niang‘s bodily transformation and declaration of leadership to propel players like Thomas to new heights as the Cyclones look to dethrone the dreaded Kansas Jayhawks for the regular season title.
As always, return to Clones Confidential frequently for more player previews as we get closer to another season of Hilton Magic.
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