Tyrese Haliburton was a star in Iowa State opener
Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
AMES, Ia. — Don’t make too much of Iowa State’s 110-74 overwhelming of a Mississippi Valley State basketball team that’s not good now and probably won’t be very good this season.
Unless, of course, you’re into the wonderfulness that is Tyrese Haliburton. Then, go right ahead and analyze all you want. He was good last season, but Tuesday, he was a different kind of good.
He caused havoc with his long arms in the passing lanes. He ran the floor with more authority, and for golly sakes, he even took more than the five or so shots a game he averaged last season.
This is his team now. He knows it. Tuesday night, he played like it. He owned it. Look at his stats: 12 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Wow.
“That’s right out of the gate — 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio,” coach Steve Prohm said. “He’s got a stat in those four major areas — assists, rebounds, points and steals. He can get two or three steals because of his length, He’s got great hands. He’s a very good off-the-ball defender. If he can stat in those areas, he gives us a chance.”
The general of this Cyclones team didn’t exactly go through the motions in this for-real season-opening game at Hilton Coliseum. He actually played hard during his every second on the floor.
“Rebounding — that’s what coach Prohm and the staff challenged me on this summer,” Haliburton said.
The sophomore who, right now, is Sporting News’ No. 16 overall pick (to Miami) in its 2020 mock NBA draft had seven assists during his first 16 minutes on the floor. He had a crowd-rising backward pass to trailing Mike Jacobson for a second-half dunk, and get this — he actually shot seven times during that span.
That’s been the rub — that the best percentage shooter on the team needs to shoot more, and Tuesday, he didn’t disappoint in what was barely more than a fast-paced scrimmage.
One of the faces in the Hilton crowd — seated in the front row on the baseline closest to Iowa State’s bench — just happened to be Xavier Foster, our State of Iowa’s most-sought 2020 recruit, who will make either the Cyclones or Hawkeyes happy on Monday. That’s his decision day.
A few Iowa State players acknowledged him while returning the locker room after a 56-32 first half, but that means nothing in the recruiting landscape. He followed them into the locker room, and that’s routine, too.
As good as Haliburton was, so was almost everyone else. And if you were wondering about those 3-pointers 6-foot-9 Jacobson shot – that’s what he’s supposed to do.
Playing the four-position, the former Waukee star said he’d shoot more distance shots. If he can draw an opposing big defender away from the basket — mission accomplished.
“The biggest thing is having guys like Tyrese with 14 assists,” Jacobson said. “Everyone was sharing the ball and moving the ball. The ball wasn’t sticking out there.”
Tuesday, Jacobson made two of the first four 3-pointers he attempted. He scored 20 points. He made 3 of the 5 3-pointers he shot overall, and speaking of players about whom we’ve heard a lot of positive:
Zion Griffin showed flashes of what Steve Prohm and others have been saying,too, scoring 11 first-half points on 5 of 8 field-goal accuracy.
He’ll continue in what will be Prohm’s eight-player rotation as long as he plays like he did in the season-opener.
New guys like Prentiss Nixon and Rasir Bolton didn’t disappoint either. The same goes for Tre Jackson and Caleb Grill, but like I said earlier:
Hold all expectations until the Cyclones actually play someone good — like on Saturday at Oregon State.
Nixon, who came to Ames after three seasons under Larry Eustachy at Colorado State, looks to be every bit the defensive guard we heard he’d be. He had three steals in the game’s first five minutes, two of which led to easy transition buckets.
He can make threes, too. Five of Iowa State’s first 11 points came on his 2-3 shooting, including 1 of 2 from three-point range. He also had three steals — and all that happened in the first 3 ½ minutes.
Bolton, the immediately-eligible Penn State transfer, was good in all aspects before cramping up during the season half — and the team’s 3-point shooting?
That was pretty solid most of the dominating victory, too.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at email@example.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.
Source: Des Moines Register