The 2017 recruiting class will be an important one for Steve Prohm and the direction of the Iowa State basketball program. The Cyclones are set to have at least five open scholarships to fill in Prohm's second class, including a number of guard spots.
The quest to build that class will take a step forward this week.
With the spring evaluation period now underway, Iowa State is set to hit the recruiting trail. The place to be this weekend? Dallas, where several AAU tournaments will take place, including the major adidas Uprising. Word is that Prohm and assistant William Small will be in Dallas with assistant T.J. Otzelberger likely headed north to Minneapolis.
Here are six (of many) prospects to keep an eye on beginning this weekend.
Iowa State's No. 1 priority in the 2017 class is finding a high-level point guard, and Champlin (Minn.) prospect McKinley Wright is one of a few different key targets early on. The Cyclones, led by Otzelberger, have been in on Wright for some time, taking multiple trips last year to see him while also getting him to town for a Big Monday game in January.
Wright is high on the Cyclones' list and also holds offers from Texas Tech, Illinois, Kansas State, Creighton and Dayton while Oklahoma is showing strong interest while waiting to see what happens with point guard Trae Young.
He'll be in Dallas this weekend, where Prohm will see him.
On Iowa State: “I’m still one of their top recruits. They’re trying to get a 2017 point guard, so they still talk to me a lot and they’re planning to come to the first evaluation period. I’ve become really cool with them. They’re nice and funny guys and we have kind of an open relationship where we joke around and we have fun with each other. I’m cool with those guys. I’m very close with them."
Another Otzelberger target, Milwaukee (Wisc.) wing Terrence Lewis is one of Iowa State's top targets in the 2017 class regardless of position. Lewis visited Iowa State for a game this past winter and has the Cyclones among the top schools in his mix. Other schools include Illinois, Auburn, Xavier, Marquette and Texas Tech. Iowa State should get another visit this summer as it makes a push for the versatile, 6-foot-5 four-star wing.
Lewis will be in Minneapolis this weekend where Otzelberger is likely to see him.
On Iowa State: “I had a real good visit there. They talked about grades first and that is what I am all about, and the coaches seemed like great people, so I liked it a lot there.”
Iowa State really likes Marietta (Ga.) point guard Darius Perry, who is currently the No. 89 overall prospect in the 2017 class, including the No. 19 overall point guard. With William Small as the lead recruiter, Iowa State has been involved with Perry dating back to last year when he watched the Cyclones at the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida. Perry said the most interest is coming from Iowa State, Wake Forest, Texas A&M, Seton Hall and NC State.
Perry is a lot like Monte Morris in that he has a high basketball IQ and has been a very good facilitator. Iowa State is in frequent contact, including with both Prohm and Small last week. Perry will be in Dallas where Small and Prohm will both get a chance to watch him closer.
On Iowa State: "I can tell that they really want me really bad and that’s always a good feeling. I do enjoy the way they play and the way their point guard plays and how they get up and down. I think I have a really good relationship with both of the coaches and they do emphasize a lot of the things they want me to do when I get there, which is I could be ready to play as soon as I get there and things like that."
Small has strong ties to his native state of Mississippi, and Lawrence County (Miss.) forward KeyShawn Feazell is the first of three prospects from The Magnolia State that Small and Prohm will have a chance to see in Dallas this weekend.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Feazell was offered by Iowa State in the final days of March, when the Cyclones joined Mississippi State as his other primary suitor early on. Feazell is a forward who can stretch the floor and hit the 3, making him a potentially good fit in Iowa State's offense. Ole Miss, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Alabama and Wichita State are also showing interest and Feazell could begin to heat up starting in Dallas.
He hopes to visit Ames this summer.
On Iowa State: “Whenever they came to watch me practice, [Small] was telling me I was versatile and he liked my shooting ability and how I can fit into the program really well. We talk pretty often. It’s a pretty good relationship because he’s down here often because his family stays in Mississippi and he’s a Mississippian, so it’s a pretty good relationship."
Weatherspoon is another point guard that Iowa State has offered and he has a little bit bigger frame. Currently, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Ohio State and Memphis are the leaders, Weatherspoon told AllCyclones.com, though a number of Power 5 schools are showing interest at this early point.
Weatherspoon will also be in Dallas, where Iowa State will get a closer look. Small recently stopped in to see him last week while he was in Mississippi and Prohm has compared him to former Murray State, and current NBA point guard, Isaiah Canaan.
On Iowa State: "I’ve got a good relationship with the assistant coach with him just being from Mississippi. That has a lot to do with it and I like their style of play and I like how their guards play. I’m real close with Coach Small. I have to see who’s leaving from the school and who’s coming in recruitment-wise. That’ll be big."
Thomas is the final Mississippian and is more of a combo guard. He has offers from the likes of Iowa State, VCU, Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama, Florida Gulf Coast and others while Texas, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are evaluating him. Thomas will also be in Dallas this weekend where Small and Prohm will see him.
The 6-foot-4 Thomas has a good mid-range game and his size fits well especially at the two-guard, though he's capable of playing the point and also guarding a wing if needed.
On Iowa State: “I have a good relationship with [Small] because he’s from Mississippi, so he really knows what it’s like down here. He was recruiting me when he was at Murray State, so I really have a good relationship with him. He’s been telling me that I can really fit their play style and come in and work hard and earn my position because they’re losing guards after this [next year].”