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AMES – The Iowa State men’s basketball team held its annual media day Tuesday. Here are the biggest news, notes and takeaways from the event.
Nick Weiler-Babb showed flashes of his potential last season as a sophomore. He was a versatile player for coach Steve Prohm. He had some impressive dunks, hit big shots, showed the ability to distribute the ball and played solid defense. He’s basketball’s version of a five-tool player.
But Prohm wants Weiler-Babb to step into a larger role this season and be more consistent.
“I’m still trying to push his buttons to be a little more aggressive offensively,” Prohm said. “He likes to distribute and facilitate but he’s got a really good pace and feel and flow to his game.”
Five-star freshman point guard Lindell Wigginton won’t be Monte Morris. It’s an easy comparison to make because they’re both highly-touted players and they play the same position. But they play that position very differently.
Prohm said Wigginton is more of a physical guard. He has the physical tools Morris sometimes lacked. Wigginton isn’t afraid of contact, he can blow by guys and jump out of the gym. Prohm said he’ll get to the free throw line a lot more because of his physicality. He just needs to learn some of what made Morris so great – the change of pace, the pick and roll game and not turning the ball over.
“Monte has his own game and I have my own game,” Wigginton said. “I’m going to get the question a lot, ‘How do you compare yourself to Monte?’ But we’re different players and I’m not coming here to be the next Monte, I’m just coming here to be me.”
For the first time in a long time, the Cyclones appear to have legitimate depth in the front court. The two key cogs are sophomore Solomon Young and redshirt freshman Cameron Lard.
Young proved he was a legitimate Big 12 player last season, scoring when he needed to, but mainly playing with toughness and grit against opposing big men.
This year, Young and Lard and pushing each other each and every day. And it gets physical.
“Me and Solomon go at it every day,” Lard said with a grin. “Every day we get each other better, working hard. I feel like he’s gotten me way better than what I was when I first got here. I’m just glad Coach Prohm lets us go against each other the way we need to because we’re going to be undersized bigs so we need to get that aggressiveness.”
Lard is every bit of 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds and Young is 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds.
“It’s fun because I’m going against him and he’s tall and long, but then he’s going against me and I’m a lot stronger so I can push him in the post,” Young said. “Down low, it’s kind of like we have to figure out how to score on each other.”
Redshirt junior Zoran Talley is an unknown player to many fans.
The small forward graduated from Old Dominion in three years, arrived to campus in August after receiving his diploma and is a versatile wing player for Prohm.
Talley won’t knock down 3-point shots at a high rate, but he’s an explosive athlete going to the paint.
“The best thing he does is he can really run and put pressure on the defense in transition,” Prohm said. “He’s really good from 15 to 17 feet getting into the paint, driving guys, driving bad closeouts. I think he’s a very talented, talented player.”
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