Iowa State's change to Nick Weiler-Babb at point guard proves key in recent sucess

Cyclones host Northern Illinois on Monday

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AMES – Ever since Iowa State men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm moved Nick Weiler-Babb to point guard, the Cyclones have taken off, winning four in a row.

Iowa State (4-2) hosts Northern Illinois (5-3) on Monday at 8 p.m. with Weiler-Babb leading the charge.

In Iowa State’s first two games, Weiler-Babb split time at point guard with Donovan Jackson and Lindell Wigginton. The Cyclones lost to Missouri and Milwaukee in those two games.

Weiler-Babb only averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, Jackson only scored 10 points in the two games combined and Wigginton was shooting 4-of-15 through the first two games.

Prohm decided to move Weiler-Babb to point guard fulltime and in the four games since then, all three guys have taken off.

Weiler-Babb became a nightly triple-double threat, averaging 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 9 assists with a 6 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Jackson scored more than 24 points in three straight games, shooting 44 percent from 3 and Wigginton averaged 15 points over the next four games, never shooting below 45 percent.

It all started with a conversation with former Cyclone standout Monte Morris.

“This summer we were practicing and Monte was in town and he was watching,” Prohm said. “Donovan was out there, Lindell was out there and Nick was out there. I was thinking in my head, ‘I wonder if Nick will end up being the point guard and let those guys look to score.’ Monte actually said it to me, ‘Have you ever thought about Nick at the point?’ And I said, ‘Man, I was just thinking about that.’”

Prohm let them all play the lead guard to start the season to see if it would work. It didn’t, and Prohm made the call to make 6-foot-5 Weiler-Babb the fulltime point guard. He wanted Jackson and Wigginton free to score and not worry as much about running an offense.

“The biggest thing about Nick is he’s been here 2 1/2 years now,” Prohm said. “His basketball IQ is really high, he’s got a really good feel, really good pace to his game. His assist to turnover ratio is 6 to 1 right now, which is just terrific. I think he has a really good understanding of what we want and he’s got a really good feel for the game.”

Weiler-Babb said playing point guard has forced him to be more aggressive offensively, something Prohm has wanted out of him since last season.

“I like the ball in my hands,” Weiler-Babb said. “I like being a decision maker and Donovan and Lindell are great scorers on the wing. It just opens up opportunities for them and for me coming off of ball screens.”

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

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