Jalen Coleman-Lands has yet to play a game for Iowa State and he already is looked at as a kind of sage by coach Steve Prohm and the rest of the Cyclones.
The graduate transfer has 110 career games under his belt from time spent at Illinois and DePaul. He is a scorer with a knack for shooting the 3-pointer, and he is a strong defender on the perimeter.
Maybe most important, he brings an air of positivity to a team replacing standout Tyrese Haliburton, facing low expectations in the Big 12 and likely playing in mostly empty arenas because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Energy is what wins games,” Coleman-Lands said. “You’ve got to bring your own. This is something that isn’t miraculously just going to show up at game time. It’s something that has to be created and practiced so in games when there are 90% less people in the audience it’s not new to us.”
Iowa State is coming off a season in which it went 12-20, finished ninth in the Big 12 at 5-13 and lost all 11 road games.
Coleman-Lands had instant credibility with his new teammates when he showed up on campus. He started 80 games at Illinois and DePaul, where he was the third-leading scorer last season at 11.1 points per game. He received a medical hardship waiver for this season because of a hand injury in 2018-19 and picked Iowa State over California, North Carolina State, Michigan and Southern California.
He shows up early for practices and stays after to help younger teammates with their games or to answer questions. Off the court, he’s spearheaded team discussions about social justice and civil unrest across the country over the summer.
Prohm predicted success for Coleman-Lands in whatever profession he chooses after he’s finished with basketball.
“I’ve been impressed with his leadership ability, the intangibles,” Prohm said. “You’ve got energy givers and energy takers. He’s an energy giver.”
Rasir Bolton is projected to take over most of Haliburton’s minutes at point guard. He got experience at the point last season after Haliburton went out after 22 games because of injury.
“Tyrese helped me a lot,” Bolton said. “Just seeing everything he did, what he went through and how he handled the process was really helpful to me. It opened my eyes. I’m trying to improve on that for this year’s team, but do it in my own way.”
SCORING BY COMMITTEE
This team might not have volume scorers, but any of about a half-dozen players could get hot any game. Prohm recalled his assistant coaching days at Murray State, where the 2009-10 team had five players average between 10.0 and 10.6 points per game.
He said Bolton, Coleman-Lands, Tyler Harris, Tre Jackson, George Conditt IV, Javan Johnson and Solomon Young all are capable of scoring in double figures.
“I don’t foresee it as 18, 15, 12,” Prohm said. “It could be a lot of 10, 9, 11. My big thing is can we get ourselves around 75 and can we really defend?”
SHORT ON PLAYERS
The Cyclones have had only seven or eight scholarship players available for some practices because of health issues. Among the players who have missed time are Coleman-Lands (hamstring), Johnson (illness) and Xavier Foster (concussion).
Attendance at Hilton Coliseum will be capped at 1,373 fans per game, less than 10% of the capacity of 14,384. The Cyclones averaged 13,954 per game last season, behind only Kansas and Texas Tech in the Big 12.
The Cyclones announced a 24-game schedule opening Nov. 29 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Games at Hilton Coliseum include their Big 12 opener against Kansas State. Iowa State hosts DePaul in the Big 12/Big East Battle on Dec. 6 and travels to Mississippi State for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 30.
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