For Iowa State basketball coaches, and the fans of their team, these past three months have been a winding road of ups and downs, hope and anguish, hits and misses.
Yep. We’re talking about how the Cyclones fared in the transfer recruiting market.
Iowa State has added three transfers in Memphis point guard Tyler Harris, DePaul wing Jalen Coleman-Lands and Ole Miss wing Blake Hinson. As of now, it sounds like Steve Prohm and his staff are done actively pursuing transfers. Coleman-Lands, a graduate transfer, is the only one who can definitely play next year, but Harris and Hinson will also appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility.
With a goal of adding three transfers in a short amount of time, Iowa State got involved with plenty of potential targets. It felt like, if a high-major or talented mid-major player announced he was transferring, the Cyclones were reportedly interested.
Of course, “interest” doesn’t necessarily mean “pursuit.” There were guys who included the Cyclones among their finalist schools, even when they weren’t seriously involved.
But Iowa State did also have a sizable amount of misses on targets it really liked, as it waded through an ever-growing pool of talent in the NCAA transfer portal.
So, here’s a look back at how we got here:
The first wave of swings-and-misses
Iowa State went after a bevy of guards, and specifically point guards, once transfer recruiting started to heat up at the end of March.
For the first four weeks of action, the Cyclones missed on all of their targets.
On March 24, Santa Clara graduate transfer Tahj Eaddy committed to USC over Iowa State, Wichita State and Georgia Tech. On April 7, Cal State Northridge graduate transfer Terrell Gomez, one of the country’s premier shooters, picked San Diego State over Iowa State, Arkansas and Washington State.
Then it was Harvard graduate transfer Bryce Aiken, considered one of the country’s top transfers, who picked Seton Hall over Iowa State, Maryland and Michigan on April 9. On April 13, Bowling Green graduate transfer Justin Turner returned to Bowling Green over Iowa State, Marquette and Missouri. Two days later, Ohio State transfer D.J. Carton, an Iowa product the Cyclones had recruited out of high school and were once again involved with, transferred to Marquette. The same day, highly touted junior college guard Keon Ellis picked Alabama over Iowa State, Western Kentucky and Kansas State.
Two more targets committed elsewhere on April 16, with Rhode Island forward Jacob Toppin picking Kentucky over Iowa State and Oregon, and Michigan guard David DeJulius picking Cincinnati over Iowa State, Marquette and Missouri.
Then, a familiar name entered the transfer portal on April 19 …
Come on down, Tyler Harris
Iowa State’s fortunes changed on April 25, when Memphis point guard Tyler Harris announced he was committing to the Cyclones.
Harris, who nearly committed to Prohm coming out of high school in 2018, entered the portal on April 19. Schools such as Michigan, Florida and Texas expressed interest, but this was about a done deal from the moment Harris decided he wanted out of Memphis.
In his first two seasons at Memphis, the 5-foot-9 Harris averaged 9.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23.3 minutes per game. He started 15 of 36 games as a freshman, and he played off the bench as a sophomore.
If the NCAA doesn’t give Harris immediate eligibility, he will have to sit out next season and have two seasons remaining after that.
Even if Harris can’t play next year, the Cyclones were able to fill a pressing need in the future point guard depth chart with his addition.
A quieter May — with a payoff
Prohm and assistant coach Daniyal Robinson spent much of May working on Coleman-Lands, an Indianapolis product who had entered the transfer portal in late April. It was a big reward for time well spent when he committed to the Cyclones over Cal, Michigan, North Carolina State and USC on May 23.
A 6-4 wing, Coleman-Lands originally attended Illinois as a four-star, top-50 2015 prospect. After two seasons and coaching change, he transferred to DePaul. He had leg surgery during his sit-out year and played in just nine games the following year while recovering. Last season, he averaged 11.1 points in 30.3 minutes per game. Due to his injury issues, the NCAA granted Coleman-Lands a sixth year of eligibility.
Another main target to watch in May was Wake Forrest graduate transfer Chaundee Brown. He had included Iowa State in his final four in late April alongside LSU, Illinois and Gonzaga. He removed the Cyclones from contention on May 19, though, and wound up committing to Michigan later that day.
Rough start, strong finish in June
In the final week of May and first week of June, Iowa State got in tight with Indiana forward transfer Justin Smith, a former top-100 recruit out of Chicago in the 2017 class. As his recruitment neared its home stretch, it sounded like the Cyclones and Arkansas had a strong footing, and he wound up picking the Razorbacks on June 8.
Exactly one week later, Utah guard transfer and southern Minnesota native Both Gach, who had flirted with going to the NBA, committed to Minnesota over Iowa State, Auburn, Creighton and Maryland. Iowa State and Creighton were thought to be the Gophers’ main competitors.
Then, one day after Gach’s June 15 decision, Hinson entered the transfer portal. Things happened quickly from there. Cyclones assistant coach James Kane, a Florida native, had recruited Hinson, also a Florida native, when he was still on staff at Dayton.
Hinson committed to Iowa State on June 24.
A former top-150 prospect in the 2018 class, the 6-7 Hinson was a two-year starter at Ole Miss, most recently averaging 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 31.9% from long range as a sophomore.
Unless the NCAA gives Hinson immediate eligibility, he, like Harris, will have to sit out next year before playing two more seasons.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
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Source: Des Moines Register