Iowa State had been hopeful since last September that it could clear the necessary hurdles with the NCAA to ultimately land Yuba College (Calif.) forward Emmanuel Malou in Ames as an integral part of the 2016-17 roster.
Those hopes officially faded Wednesday when Malou made the decision to remain in the NBA Draft and hire an agent, effectively ending his amateur status and opportunity to play for the Cyclones this fall. Whether Malou would have been cleared by the NCAA is uncertain, but a decision needed to come no later than May 25.
“Manny has informed us that he will stay in the NBA Draft,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said in a statement Wednesday. “We wish him the best as he pursues his dream of playing basketball professionally in the NBA.”
Malou averaged 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 47.3 percent from 3-point range (26-of-55) in 2014 at Yuba College. He didn't play last fall, instead transferring to DMACC in Iowa to focus on academics. Malou faced several eligibility challenges due to his travel and situation at the now defunct ABCD Prep before going JUCO.
While Malou, at 6-foot-9, was expected to solidify Iowa State's frontcourt next season, he was more of a inside-outside threat than a banger in the post. Facing uncertainty in recent months, the Cyclones bolstered the frontcourt with graduate transfers Darrell Bowie (6-7, Northern Illinois) and Merrill Holden (6-9, Louisiana Tech). Bowie provides versatility at the three through five positions while Holden could be the favorite to start at center.
Iowa State now has one open scholarship remaining for the 2016-17 season and a variety of options. Word is the Cyclones are considering an immediately eligible player to add to the 2016 class or a sit-out transfer who would help begin to build the 2017-18 roster when Iowa State loses six seniors.
For now, the Malou saga has come to an end.
“After careful consideration, I have decided that it is time to pursue my NBA dream and sign with an agent,” Malou said in a statement. “I know that it is going to require a huge amount of work, but I am motivated and excited for the challenges that lie ahead. I would like to thank all the staff at Iowa State for all that they have done for me. I want to wish them and the players the best of luck in the coming season.”