AMES — Once Iowa State learned guard Naz Mitrou-Long would be coming back for a fifth-season, it looked at some scheduling possibilities.
When Director of Basketball Operations Micah Byars approached Mitrou-Long about whom he had just locked in for a nonconference game, it felt like a dream come true for the 6-foot-4 sharpshooter.
Iowa State would be hosting Mount St. Mary’s and Mitrou-Long’s brother, Elijah Long, who is a sophomore guard on the team. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Monday on Cyclones.tv.
“A lot of people have younger siblings where you’re close in age and so forth, but he’s a good four years off of me,” Mitrou-Long said. “When he was like 5-foot-2, I was like 5-10 or 6-foot, playing competitively and never thinking I’d ever play him. To be able to play him on Monday is truly going to be a dream come true.”
Long started 23 games as a freshman and averaged 5.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He’s still a big smaller than his brother, standing 6-foot-0, and had 13 3-pointers in his initial season at Mount St. Mary’s.
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Mitrou-Long estimated there would be 20 or more family members at Hilton Coliseum to see the matchup.
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“Having a Mitrou-Long family reunion, it’s cool for them,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. “It’ll be a great moment for his family and his parents and it’ll be cool. I’m sure it’ll be a little surreal for all of them. I’m happy Naz gets to experience all of that.”
Just because there is sentimental value leading up to the game, Mitrou-Long doesn’t envision any of that lingering once the ball is tipped. Iowa State has aspirations of continuing to improve its defense and test different lineups before it leaves for the Advocare Invitational next week in Orlando.
Plus, you never want to lose to your little brother.
“We want to wear him out,” Mitrou-Long said with a smile. “When he gets to the lane, we’re going to heave his shot to the seventh row. We want to do everything we can to make his gas run out with everybody else on their team.
“We’re going to approach it as if we’re playing Kansas or Oklahoma. It’s a serious game, but it’s not personal. It’s not about me. It’s about us getting a win.”