They’re not worried.
One exhibition game into the season, after a nine-point performance against Division II Minnesota State, ISU fans were left with something less than what they expected.
Coach Fred Hoiberg and Will Clyburn, however, aren’t phased and expect a better performance in the regular season opener against Southern on Friday, Nov. 9.
“The guy that will do a better job, I promise you, is Will Clyburn,” Hoiberg said. “I think he had some butterflies. He just didn’t get himself involved. He’s a guy that has to go in there and get tip dunks and guys that’s got to get the ball on the board so he can push us and lead us down on the fast break.”
After all, Clyburn was playing in his first game since March 10, 2011, against San Diego State, in which he scored 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
He said the exhibition game against Minnesota State reminded him of his days at Marshalltown Community College.
“It was first-game jitters like I was a freshman,” Clyburn said. “I was excited to be out there, probably a little bit too excited.”
Aside from scoring, Iowa State will rely heavily on Clyburn’s rebounding ability. In the first half against Minnesota State, Iowa State was outrebounded 20-19.
The margin is only one, but the Cyclones’ far-and-away leading rebounder, Melvin Ejim, reiterated Hoiberg saying that rebounding initiates the transition game in which they so desperately want to play.
“They tell us every day that’s what starts the breaks, and we need that to start playing at the type of speed that we want to,” Ejim said.
The game against Southern will be the regular season debut for Clyburn and Korie Lucious, both of whom sat out last year due to transfer regulations.
Clyburn left something to be desired with the amount he was involved and his scoring, while Lucious did so with turnovers, which was something they emphasized this week in practice.
“Listen, I’m not concerned about [Clyburn] at all,” Hoiberg said. “He’s very gifted. He had a great day of practice, one of his best practices of the year [on Tuesday], and I expect he’ll come out with great effort and energy on Friday.”