Mitrou-Long Nursing Hips Early
When all was said and done late Monday night, guard Naz Mitrou-Long departed Hilton Coliseum and headed for West Ames and the ice bath at the Sukup Basketball Complex.
Mitrou-Long has been spending a chunk of his time there in recent weeks.
Following Iowa State’s season-opener Friday, in which Mitrou-Long played 32 minutes and scored 13 points, Iowa State coach Steve Prohm revealed that the senior is playing with more pain than both he and Iowa State had let on.
“He’s a warrior,” Prohm said after Iowa State beat Colorado. “To be honest, he’s been fighting through hip pain all spring and all summer and he’s not really ready to play. He’s 75 percent right now. He’s playing because of his love and respect for his teammates and for Iowa State. I’m super appreciative of that."
Mitrou-Long had surgery on both hips nearly one month apart in late spring and has been recovering since, slowly working his way back into practices. He didn’t practice Sunday, for instance, ahead of Monday’s home opener.
Monday night Mitrou-Long scored 14 points in 27 minutes and plans to continue mixing in rest to help him through the early portion of the season.
“I’m trying not to think about that,” Mitrou-Long said of his hips. “I’m just taking the necessary steps, just doing what I’ve got to do. It doesn’t feel the greatest, but it’s OK man. When you play for the best fans in the country and you have everybody supporting you, the adrenaline will knock it out.”
Cyclones Forgo Redshirt for Ernst
Following freshman Brady Ernst’s performance in Iowa State’s exhibition, Iowa State coach Steve Prohm alluded to the possibility that Ernst might play during the 2015-16 season.
Ernst, a 6-foot-9 forward who the Cyclones signed in the summer, has been recovering from an ACL tear last winter and Iowa State has played with the idea of redshirting him.
Monday, Ernst entered Iowa State’s 106-64 victory against Chicago State, scoring two points, grabbing two rebounds and blocking one shot in eight minutes. The move officially burns Ernst’s redshirt.
“We thought about [redshirting him] and we’re looking down the road for the Big 12 to where you’re going to need some bodies,” Prohm said. “Right away, the first game we played a physical team in Colorado, 10 minutes left in the first half and we’re in foul trouble and we went zone. We may have to use that body because he’s that next true physical presence around the basket. I think you saw some good moments from him tonight in the little bit that he played. We’re all in and he’s all in and now we’re moving forward.”
Fellow freshman forward Simeon Carter also made his debut, scoring two points and grabbing one rebound in eight minutes. Carter, who the Cyclones signed in August, was already expected to play as a true freshman.
Odds & Ends
- Iowa State has awarded walk-on Jordan Ashton a scholarship, the school confirmed Monday. Ashton, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, arrived in the offseason from Kirkwood C.C. where he averaged 16.4 points, three rebounds and 1.4 assists in nearly 22 minutes per game last season as a sophomore.
- Matt Thomas collected 11 rebounds in Iowa State’s win Monday, tied for the team high with Jameel McKay. Thomas now has 16 rebounds in two games for the Cyclones, who are looking to their guards this season to help in that area.
- A game after scoring all 14 points in the second half against Colorado, Abdel Nader scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half Monday, including Iowa State's first eight points of the second half. Nader has now scored 24 of his 31 points this season in the second half.