Drake vs. Iowa State basketball: Five players to watch


Iowa State basketball will square off against Drake on Saturday in another in-state game for the Cyclones at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Here are my players to watch from both teams.


Gary Ricks, Jr. (#2, G, 6-foot-1, 181 lbs., Sr)

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Drake is lead by Ricks, who’s the leading scorer at 11.7 points per game while shooting a respectable 46 percent from the field. He is also making 3-pointers at a mark of roughly 40 percent, so he isn’t one to sleep on even if he isn’t a player who relies on volume for production. Monte Morris may draw the opening assignment on Ricks.

Chris Caird (#25, G/F, 6-foot-6, 232 lbs., Sr)

Caird is my next player up for Drake. He is another senior guard, but hails from England as opposed to Ricks, the Californian. He is currently third on the team at 9.7 ppg, but is shooting 46 percent from distance and 49 percent overall. If Caird and Ricks are any indication, Drake is a team that likes to play low-scoring matches and snipe them out in the end. Bryce Dejean-Jones should be the primary defender on Caird.

Nov 18, 2014; Rosemont, IL, USA; DePaul Blue Demons forward Myke Henry (4) dunks the ball against Drake Bulldogs center Jacob Enevold Jensen (11) during the second half at Allstate Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Jacob Enevold Jensen (#11, C, 7-foot, 251 lbs., So)

My third and final Bulldog to watch is Jensen. A 7-foot sophomore from Denmark, Jenson averages 7.3 points, six rebounds, and one block per game. His numbers indicate a raw player, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get in the way of a smaller Cyclone team and cause the occasional shot correction. Georges Niang will start on Jenson, but Jameel McKay will likely see him quite a bit in a battle of big bodies.

Iowa State

Jameel McKay (#1, F, 6-foot-9, 215 lbs., Jr)

Of course, the Drake game means the debut of the final ISU transfer for this season in McKay. Every site and prognosticator in the land has been speculating about his impact and Saturday will be McKay’s first action in over a year. He probably won’t start because of his rust and I don’t look for him to get more than 15-20 minutes, but whatever he does play will be all about cohesion with a rotation that has been largely established.

Matt Thomas (#21, G, 6-foot-4, 195 lbs., So)

My second Cyclone is Thomas. He is currently suffering from a four-game mini-slump having not scored more than three points since Lamar. He isn’t playing poorly as far as I can tell and isn’t plagued with the nervousness of last season’s start; shots simply aren’t falling for him. This will be a good game for him to get back on track and keep pushing for a bigger role in the offense.

Drake only averages 62 points as a team compared to Iowa State’s 84.8. They will play as many teams against the Cyclones will by trying to slow down the game and get high-percentage looks. We will have a more complete preview of this game later in the week.

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