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Kansas transfer Tristan Enaruna is making a name for himself at Iowa State
Dutch forward has had 2 recent breakout games
AMES — Almere is considered the newest city in the Netherlands.
It’s known for its natural beauty and is home to a population roughly equivalent to Des Moines.
The 45-year-old city’s Wikipedia page includes a short list of “notable residents” — and Iowa State forward Tristan Enaruna isn’t on it.
“It’s not really a place where tourists would just go to,” said Enaruna, who will make his 13th consecutive start for the No. 11 Cyclones in Wednesday’s 8 p.m. Big 12 matchup with No. 25 Texas Tech at Hilton Coliseum (ESPNU). “I feel like it’s kind of a growing city.”
If and/or when Enaruna makes the list of his hometown’s luminaries, he’d be the first basketball player to be honored.
The Netherlands is hardly a hotbed of hoops activity, but Enaruna caught the eye of Kansas head coach Bill Self via international competition and played sparingly for the Jayhawks his first two seasons before transferring to ISU.
Now he’s thriving under T.J. Otzelberger in Ames. Enaruna’s coming off his first career double-double against Chicago State (19 points, 10 rebounds) on Dec. 21 and career-high scoring effort (23 points) in the Cyclones' first loss of the season Jan. 1 against top-ranked Baylor.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” said Enaruna, who grabbed a team-high four offensive rebounds in the 77-72 loss to the Bears. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been a big part of a team, as being a big factor and being somebody that Coach is able to trust to play in big moments. So I’m having a lot of fun and I feel like my teammates really uplift me. I’m really feeding off of their energy as well.”
Enaruna has been and could continue to be the X-factor for the Cyclones (12-1, 0-1). His 6-foot-8 frame, instincts and athleticism make him a force around the rim at all times, and his quick, fluid moves have allowed him to develop into a strong finisher in the paint.
He’ll need to be all of that and more if ISU is to repel the Red Raiders (10-2, 0-0), who have won five straight — including three in a row at Hilton — in the series.
“If you watch Tristan when the game starts and you watch his rebounding energy, then you’ll know how the game’s gonna go for him that night,” Otzelberger said. “We’ve seen those games — and again, Saturday was one — where he starts out and that’s how we score. He’s on the offensive glass and then he’s cutting hard. So I would say for Tristan to continue to climb and play at the level he’s played at, he’s got to maintain that focus on how did he play well. It’s offensive rebounding effort. It’s physicality (and) cutting. It’s finishing around the rim with force.”
Enaruna is the Cyclones’ third-best offensive rebounder and ranks second on the team in blocked shots. He’s drained 16 of his last 21 shots after enduring a stretch of five games in which he failed to score more than six points in any of them.
In short, he’s a player on the rise — and maybe someday, he’ll get on that list of “notable residents” from suburban Amsterdam. Plenty of people from Almere are rooting for him in the meantime.
“That motivates me as well to keep growing and keep getting better,” Enaruna said. “And just putting the country on the map for real, because basketball isn’t really big back home. So hopefully what I’m doing is kind of setting some footprints for the younger generation to follow.”