Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State men's basketball freshmen will get a chance, need patience

Cyclones open season Sunday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Oskaloosa's Xavier Foster (34) tries to keep the ball away from Marion's Owen Puk (20) during a Class 3A state tournamen
Oskaloosa's Xavier Foster (34) tries to keep the ball away from Marion's Owen Puk (20) during a Class 3A state tournament game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. (The Gazette)

AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team has seven new faces on its 2020-21 roster.

Four of those seven are freshmen who weren’t able to get in Iowa State’s facility over the summer due to the pandemic.

Iowa State hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday at noon in Hilton Coliseum and the freshmen will get their first taste of college basketball.

“With all these freshmen, they all have a chance,” head coach Steve Prohm said. “It’s hard for any of these freshmen. They didn’t have a summer so this is their learning curve right now. We have to be patient and let them grow. They have to do it at their own pace.”

That’s something Prohm has stressed. Iowa State has had an underclassman leave for the NBA Draft each of the last two seasons in Talen Horton-Tucker and Tyrese Haliburton.

Prohm wanted to make sure the freshmen understood that’s not everyone’s path.

“Monte Morris played here for four years and he’s the best backup point guard in the NBA and he could start on several teams,” Prohm said.

“Georges Niang played here for four years, Matt Thomas was here four years and Naz Mitrou-Long was here five years. Everybody has a different path.

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“For some guys it’s quick and for some guys it’s about hanging in there and persevering. Those guys still have everything they wanted at the end of the day. That’s big for our guys to understand. Put in the work every day and good things will happen.”

Prohm brought in a highly touted recruiting class led by a pair of four-stars in Xavier Foster and Dudley Blackwell.

Foster has missed some practice time due to a concussion but he should be good to go Sunday.

“Xavier has shown glimpses of what he can do,” Prohm said. “He can protect the rim, he has a good skill set and he has great size. He just needs to continue to adjust to this level and the physical play at this level.

“I love his upside and I think when he figures it out — just like all big guys that have great ability — man, it can happen quick. He has a great skill set and I’m really excited about where he can go.”

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