AMES — Texas basketball has had athletic, tall bigs since coach Shaka Smart arrived on campus.
Jarrett Allen and Mo Bamba were NBA lottery picks and now the Longhorns feature Jaxson Hayes patrolling the paint.
The 6-foot-11 freshman wasn’t as highly touted out of high school as Bamba was last year, but his impact has been just as great.
No. 20 Iowa State will host Hayes and Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) at Hilton Coliseum.
Hayes averages 10.6 points per game while shooting 74 percent from the field. On the defensive end, he averages 2.6 blocks per game.
“He dunks a lot and he shoots a lot of layups,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “Thirty-three of his last 38 shots have been layups or dunks. They do a great job of feeding him — pick and roll, you have to make a decision on how you want to guard it. Then, on the offensive end, you have be physical with him so he can’t block or alter shots. He’s really, really athletic and they throw him a ton of lobs.”
Iowa State starting forward Michael Jacobson is a capable defender, but isn’t the most athletic big man on Iowa State’s roster.
Prohm said this could be a game that Cam Lard makes his impact felt.
Lard has had a tough time staying out of foul trouble and having any sort of consistency this season, averaging 4.7 points and almost three fouls per game in just 10 minutes per game.
As an All-Big 12 performer last season, Lard averaged 15.6 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in three games against Texas and Bamba.
“Cam has played well against Texas in the past,” Prohm said. “Why that is, I don’t know. They’ve had tremendous big guys — Mo Bamba, Jarrett Allen. This is a game where hopefully he can play well.”
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Lard has the strength and athleticism to potentially slow down Hayes, if Lard is able to stay out of foul trouble.
If not, Iowa State will likely have to send help.
“We’ve been faced with guys like that,” guard Nick Weiler-Babb said. “Mo Bamba last year and this year with (Kansas’) Dedric Lawson. We just want to enforce being physical inside and get the ball out of his hands.”
The other problem that Texas presents is its use of a traditional power forward in Dylan Osetkowski.
The Cyclones play with a four-guard lineup with 6-foot-4, 230-pound Talen Horton-Tucker usually guarding the opposing team’s power forward, if it has one.
That’s worked in moderation. Horton-Tucker will have his hands full on Saturday.
Osetkowski is 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. He’s able to shoot the 3, but does most of his damage in the post. The senior averages 10.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
“That’s what we’re working on right now, how we want to work that and things matchup-wise what we want to do against that,” Prohm said. “He will drive you, it’s not that he just posts up, he’ll drive you to post. We have to be good in the gaps, good with our hands and good getting the ball out of his hands.”
l Comments: email@example.com