Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of articles previewing the 2013-14 Big 12 men’s basketball season and examining each of the 10 conference teams.
No. 4 Iowa State Cyclones
What Iowa State might lack in five-star and four-star recruits, coach Fred Hoiberg, himself a former Iowa State all-conference player and an accomplished performer in the NBA, more than makes up for by getting the most out of quality transfers from other Division I programs. The Cyclones have had a full cast of high-contributing transfers the past couple of seasons, and it’s not a coincidence this has occurred in concert with Hoiberg’s return to Ames, Iowa, as head coach.
Hoiberg is 62-39 as the Cyclones’ coach and has led his alma mater to back-to-back 23-win seasons, and last season to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
This season the transfer name everyone will be hearing about is DeAndre Kane, a 6-4 guard who previously played at Marshall, where he averaged 15.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists. Kane was a second-team All-Conference USA player at Marshall. The downside for Iowa State is that he will only have one year in Ames.
“DeAndre brings some much needed experience, considering how much we lost on the perimeter from last year’s team,” Hoiberg said in an interview with Lindy’s 2013-14 College Basketball Preview magazine.
Kane is being counted on to help replace the scoring production lost through the departures of four players (Will Clyburn, Korie Lucious, Chris Babb and Tyrus McGee), who collectively accounted for almost half of the team’s conference-leading 79.4 scoring average a year ago, the third best in the country.
Senior forward Melvin Ejim and front-court teammate George Niang, himself a transfer, averaged 23 points a game last season and are back again in 2013-14. Ejim is just the third player in Big 12 history to lead the league in rebounding at a height of 6-6 or shorter.
This year’s Cyclone team may not win as many games as in the last two seasons, but you can count on any team under the fiercely competitive Hoiberg to play aggressive, fast-break basketball and give you a heated battle each and every outing. “I think we have a chance to surprise some people,” Hoiberg said.
Next up: Baylor