AMES — After Iowa State’s 62-59 loss to Ohio State on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, coach Steve Prohm wanted to turn his attention to next season.
The Cyclones lose three total seniors and two impact seniors. Marial Shayok averaged 18.7 points and 4.9 rebounds. Point guard Nick Weiler-Babb was the rock and the glue that held Iowa State together on the court.
Other than those two, The Cyclones could return all of their key players.
“I think this team got this program back to where it needs to be after a down year last year,” Prohm said. “We have a lot of youth on this team so hopefully they can learn from this experience.”
Forward Michael Jacobson will be the lone senior that played on this season’s team. He also established himself as a leader at the end of the season.
After Iowa State’s bad three-week stretch, Jacobson was the one who demanded accountability from his teammates.
“The younger guys who are coming back, we have to let this motivate us for next year,” Jacobson said. “I have faith in everybody.”
The first part of his quote is the biggest question for next season’s team. Which young guys will be back?
Lindell Wigginton tested the NBA draft waters after his freshman season but elected to come back. At the beginning of the season, his name was in all of the mock drafts, but when he got hurt, his name rapidly disappeared.
Wigginton finished the season as the Big 12’s sixth man of the year, averaging 13.5 points, four rebounds and two assists.
He said he’s uncertain of what he’ll do.
“I still have to talk it over with my coaching staff and my family,” Wigginton said after the game.
Freshman Talen Horton-Tucker also has an opportunity to test the NBA draft waters. He’s a streaky shooter, but his talent and potential have NBA teams interested. Horton-Tucker’s name appears in the 20s of most mock drafts.
Horton-Tucker, who averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists, is also unsure of what he’ll do.
“I’ll sit down with those guys and we’ll see,” Prohm said. “It’s a process that’s not going to be decided for a while. But these guys need to look at their opportunities and do what’s best for them, and I’ll give them my insight. If they do decide to come back, this group can be really, really special.”
Prohm said they’ll meet as a team on Monday to discuss the season and what everybody needs to work on for next season.
“They can think about this season a little bit, but once we get back it’s about, ‘What can we do next year? What are the areas we have to get better in, from coaching, to recruiting, to style of play, everything,” Prohm said. “We had two seniors out of a 13-man roster that really impacted winning this year. If the nucleus comes back, the future is very bright.”
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