Two games into the 2014-15 season, Iowa State has relied almost exclusively on its starting five to get the job done.
The Cyclones have — with the exception of some late minutes — used a rotation of seven players with Daniel Edozie and Sherron Dorsey-Walker getting meaningful minutes off the bench in the first two wins. The starters, though, have combined to score 165 of 174 total points through two games.
That trend will likely change as Iowa State adds depth next Monday at the CBE Classic in Kansas City with the addition of both Matt Thomas and Abdel Nader, who each missed the exhibition game and the first two regular season games due to off-the-court incidents.
“They’ve been playing on the scout team,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We need to get them integrated back into what we’re doing and playing with that first group some.”
How the starting lineup might change remains uncertain. A likely scenario is that Nader could push Naz Long to the sixth-man role, giving Iowa State a potent scorer and an immediate spark off the bench. Thomas will fulfill a bench role and bring another scorer to the mix.
The starting lineup might not be as key for Iowa State as is the rotation, which Hoiberg said back at Media Day could expand to nine and even possibly 10 in some games this season.
“I’ve always been a guy that just coaches by feel,” Hoiberg said. “It’s going to be depending on how the game is going. I’m excited to get those two guys out there, they’re two of our better shooters.”
Iowa State’s depth should swell in the coming weeks before a rotation gets more set leading into Big 12 action. Edozie and Dorsey-Walker will still likely see some action, and Clayton Custer could get minutes in certain situations, too.
Eventually, the Cyclones will add Jameel McKay to the lineup on Dec. 20 when he becomes eligible after transferring. How Hoiberg deals with the overload of talent remains to be seen, but depth shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.