Iowa State Cyclones

Tyrese Haliburton set to make Iowa State history in NBA Draft

Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton (22) walks off the court following a win over Kansas State in a NCAA college basketba
Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton (22) walks off the court following a win over Kansas State in a NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

AMES — Tyrese Haliburton has a chance to be a part of Iowa State history.

Only one former Iowa State player has been taken in the modern NBA Draft lottery — Marcus Fizer in 2000 when he was selected No. 4 overall by the Chicago Bulls.

Haliburton has put himself in position to be drafted in the lottery (first 14 picks) in Wednesday’s NBA Draft.

Most mock drafts have Haliburton as a top-10 pick, ranging anywhere from the Bulls at No. 4, to the Phoenix Suns at No. 10.

“His life has changed, there’s no doubt about that,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “Whether it’s Chicago at No. 4 or Pheonix at 10 or Detroit at No. 8 — his life is going to change for the better. The thing I told NBA people when they called is, ‘He’s going to impact winning but he’s also going to impact your team, your culture, your community and your city.’ That’s just who he is.”

The one thing mock drafts don’t account for is draft-day trades. The Golden State Warriors have been the “sexy” destination spot for Haliburton, Prohm said. The Warriors have the second overall draft pick and NBC Sports even believes that the Warriors could take him at two and not trade down to get him.

The thing teams love about Haliburton is his play-making ability and maturity — two things he’s displayed since he first stepped on Iowa State’s campus.

“Tyrese was special,” Prohm said. “He came in as a freshman and it’s like a scout said, he was really impressed watching him during practice. He listened, he learned and he let the older guys mentor him. He wasn’t caught up in playing position A, B or C, he just wanted to be out on the floor. After his first year, he was second in the country in assist to turnover ratio and almost led our team in assists and he never played the point guard position one possession.

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“He had a great summer going to Greece and winning a gold medal and then he had a great first half of the season before getting injured. He obviously brings a lot of attention and fanfare to your program.”

Most NBA people believe Haliburton would fit in best with an established team, like Golden State, where he could be an off-ball facilitator while he gets his feet wet.

“What a ride it’s been,” Prohm said. “He probably ends up at Northern Iowa if he doesn’t end up here, or maybe Nebraska. He gets here and has phenomenal freshman year and he could’ve left after his freshman year.

“The one defining thing about him is his spirit. He’s done it the right way, he’s overcome adversity — he went from a 2-star recruit to an NBA Lottery pick and a guy who I think is going to have tremendous success in the NBA.”

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