AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team won’t quite be at full strength Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines when the Cyclones (8-2) play Drake (6-1) in the Hy-Vee Classic at 3:30 p.m.
Both Lindell Wigginton and Solomon Young will most likely be out once again. They could dress for the game, but likely won’t play, Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said.
Prohm said earlier in December the goal was to have both players ready for the Drake game. There weren’t setbacks, but Prohm wants to make sure they’re 100 percent healthy.
“(Wigginton) needs a seven-day window, which started Wednesday of feeling good,” Prohm said. “Once that’s the case, he’s ready to go. But he’s looked good.”
Wigginton and Young both returned to practice Wednesday when the team did full-contact half-court drills. It was both Wigginton’s and Young’s first contact practice since their injuries.
Iowa State has played well so far this year and has played much more cohesively than last season. Prohm isn’t worried about Wigginton and Young’s return impacting the chemistry and what the Cyclones have going.
“I think Lindell will add a huge boost to our team,” Prohm said. “He makes our perimeter deeper. It gives an opportunity to rest Nick (Weiler-Babb) some more at times. Lindell obviously brings experience and great scoring to our team and another playmaker.
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“Solomon gives us the enforcer on the inside and around the basket that we need. We really could’ve used him against Iowa (a 98-84 loss on Dec. 6). Like I told all the guys, ‘What do you do with the minutes you get to get more minutes the next game?’”
The person who will impacted the most by Wigginton’s return is freshman guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has started his collegiate career as well as he could’ve asked. Haliburton has a 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, scores 8.4 points per game, 4.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds.
Haliburton will move to the bench to make room for Wigginton when he returns.
“We’ve talked about it,” Prohm said. “I’ve talked about it in individual meetings. Tyrese, he understands from a standpoint of when Lindell’s back, it’s not really roles changing, it’s at the end of the day, maybe a couple minutes here or there for several guys. That’s not that much. But obviously Lindell’s a good player and we need him, and he can help boost our team.”
Wigginton has been champing at the bit to get back after missing nine straight games after injuring his foot in the season opener.
“It’s been hard (sitting out) because I want to play,” Wigginton said. “I learned a lot just watching the team — pace of play and that sort of thing. (Sitting) is for the better, but obviously I want to play.”
Prohm agrees with Wigginton.
“Lindell is really complementing and congratulating Tyrese,” Prohm said. “I thought that showed a ton of growth from Lindell. They’re really close. They have a cool relationship — they’re good friends, they hang out all the time. Obviously, Lindell didn’t want to sit out nine games, but I think he’s learned a lot. I think it’s going to make him a better player when he gets back.”
Wigginton has been impressed with what he’s seen from his teammates while he’s been sitting out.
“The sky’s the limit,” Wigginton said. “We’ve got a good team. We’ve got a deep team. The guys who come off the bench, they can come in and impact the game right away, so we’ve definitely got a deep team and it definitely helps guys get some (rest) once they come out of the game.”
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