During their recent winning streak, the Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball team has been led by some outstanding point guards.
Both Tyrese Haliburton and Monte Morris are excelling in the NBA and they are among the best Iowa State basketball players of all time.
Morris just joined the Washington Wizards and is impressing in the preseason, and Haliburton was a finalist for First of the Year with the Sacramento Kings in his rookie campaign.
As point guards for the Cyclones, they were facilitators and passers who achieved prominence in the NBA.
— Iowa State Men’s Basketball (@CycloneMBB) October 15, 2022
The Next Outstanding Cyclone Point Player
Tyrese Hunter is a freshman point guard for the Iowa State Cyclones, and head coach T.J. Otzelberger thinks he has found the next great Cyclone point player. Of Haliburton and Morris, only Hunter’s game has any noticeable distinction.
Hunter is a fearless, driving point guard who relishes the opportunity to attack the basket. Otzelberger does not want him to adapt to the playing styles of Morris or Haliburton. In his opinion, he should maintain and perhaps strengthen that approach.
“T.J.’s greatest strength is that he encourages each person to be authentic in their interactions with him,” Hunter remarked. Because of my position as a point guard, I am privy to the strategies that proved successful for Morris and Haliburton, and I can incorporate those ideas into my own play. While I play quickly and aggressively, they play more slowly and strategically.
This past year’s Iowa State Cyclones squad lacked a real point guard’s services. Rasir Bolton, who is more of a natural shooting guard, filled that role.
Hunter may or may not open the season as a starter, but Otzelberger has promised that his freshman will play a key role.
𝙏.𝙅. 𝙊𝙩𝙯𝙚𝙡𝙗𝙚𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙧 𝙑𝙞𝙧𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡 𝘽𝙖𝙨𝙠𝙚𝙩𝙗𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝘾𝙖𝙢𝙥 𝙎𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨
Record yourself doing these drills and tag us! Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got!
#Cyclones 🌪🌪🌪 @Coach_D_Rob @TristanEnaruna @B_Hinson21 pic.twitter.com/iinIsMdIXK
— TJ Otzelberger Basketball Camps (@OtzBBallCamps) July 12, 2021
There’s More Room for Improvement
Just because Iowa State doesn’t have any other alternatives at the position doesn’t mean he’ll start immediately; Haliburton and Morris started their careers off the bench before becoming regular starters.
We have a great deal of faith in Tyrese Hunter as a young man,” Otzelberger stated. He was highly touted prior to joining the team, and I think he is a humble yet effective player. He’s tough and knows he’ll be handling the ball frequently. He understands the significance of playing quickly and aggressively and scoring in transition.
Hunter could still acquire from the more seasoned players despite the fact that he does not have an experienced point guard to gain from as Morris did with Deandre Kane or Haliburton did with Nick Weiler-Babb.
— Iowa State Men’s Basketball (@CycloneMBB) March 5, 2022
Gaining a Veteran’s Assistance
In the middle, Hunter has been getting some assistance from veteran George Conditt. Conditt got to work with Haliburton in a pick-and-roll setting, and he was able to pick his brain about what kind of performance Haliburton values from a post-player.
To help Hunter, Conditt is now sharing his expertise with him. “Tyrese Haliburton is a one-of-a-kind talent,” remarked Conditt. He’s playing at the appropriate level for his position in the league. With (Haliburton), I was able to hone my game-specific skills. Now, it’s been nice to share some of the big-picture knowledge with Tyrese Hunter. He’s taken to the process of learning it with enthusiasm, and he’s been putting in work in the weight room with his coaches and the rest of us bigs.
He’s an outstanding athlete with a deep knowledge of the sport. From my big-guy vantage point, all I can do is try to aid him. The big and the point guard need to work well together, so I do little things to make his life easier, like rescreening for you if a defender goes under a screen so you can continue your break down the court. I think it’s great that we’ve been able to build trust with him.
— GC4🐺 (@george_conditt) March 28, 2022
Is He Good Enough for the Cyclones?
Otzelberger is realistic about the challenges a first-year point guard presents, particularly one with an aggressive personality. While he will make mistakes that Morris or Haliburton would not, he will also accomplish accomplishments that they would not.
Tyrese is “aggressive,” “gets in the paint,” and “I’m coming at you” on the court, as described by Otzelberger. His speed, power, and quickness make him an excellent player in the open court; he can also be a threat in the pick-and-roll and is relentless in his pursuit of the basket. Offensively, he is tenacious, and his shooting is good enough that opponents have to respect him even when he is on the outside.
His defensive strengths lie in the fact that he is an exceptional ball-pressing defender. He inserts himself inside his man and takes control of the pace.
We’ll keep working with him to hone the many skills he already possesses. For the time being, we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s preferable for him to learn on the job, and he’ll improve as a result.
Did everything they were asked to do.
— Iowa State Men’s Basketball (@CycloneMBB) March 26, 2022