AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team has dealt with a fair amount of adversity so far.
Cam Lard and Zoran Talley were each suspended seven games to start the season. Solomon Young was out to start the season, played in a couple games and is now seeking a medical redshirt, and star guard Lindell Wigginton hurt his foot in the season-opener and only recently returned to the court.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, Iowa State hosts Oklahoma State, a team that has faced even more adversity than the Cyclones have.
Cowboys coach Mike Boynton announced Wednesday that three players — Michael Weathers, Maurice Calloo and Kentrevious Jones — were all dismissed from the team.
Weathers was suspended two months earlier in the season for his September arrest. Jones had also missed a combined nine games for two separate disciplinary issues before his dismissal. Calloo had no prior suspensions.
Weathers is the biggest statistical loss for the Cowboys (8-9, 2-3). He averaged 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
The dismissals leave Oklahoma State with just eight scholarship players and nine total. Boynton held open tryouts Thursday to try to get to at least 10 players so the team could practice 5-on-5.
“We lived it last year,” said Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said, who dealt with myriad injuries that derailed the 2017-18 season. “We had six available players when we went to West Virginia last year.
“We won’t know what Oklahoma State looks like until we get into the game. We’re going to get their best shot.”
Iowa State (13-4, 3-2) still is trying to figure out a few things of its own. The Cyclones just went on the road and upset No. 9 Texas Tech on Wednesday, but Lard is still dealing with an ankle injury and Wigginton is still trying to work his way back into the starting lineup.
“We’ve met, and we’ve talked so (Wigginton) will start at some point,” Prohm said. “At Texas Tech I thought he played really well. I’m not evaluating him on making and missing shots right now – that’ll come. We need him (starting) to max out.”
Wigginton may not start Saturday, but he felt like the Texas Tech game was the best game he’s played this year from an energy standpoint. He’s starting to get his legs back under him and once his shot starts falling, he’ll be the player he was last season.
“We really have five perimeter starters,” Prohm said. “They’re really all capable and worthy starters. Really, out of those five, it’s who are the four that are playing the best that night? Those are the guys that are going to play the extended minutes. I’m really confident in all five of those guys.”
In the frontcourt, Prohm still isn’t quite sure when Lard will be ready to go. Lard will suit up once again, but how much he plays, or if he plays, is yet to be determined.
“Cam is practicing, but will he be the first guy off the bench as the frontcourt sub? I don’t know,” Prohm said. “The ankle is still bothering him, and I’d rather be cautious with him right now. The good thing is, that’s a position we have some depth and George has been really good.”
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