Iowa State men's basketball had its fair share, in fact a historic amount, of losses on the court last season. But on Saturday, T.J. Otzelberger and the Cyclones picked up their first win of the new coaching regime. And there wasn't a single point scored.
The win comes in the recommitment of Tyrese Hunter, who is ranked as a four-star recruit by 247 Sports, the fifth-ranked point guard in the 2021 class and the number two player in the state of Wisconsin according to 247 Sports. ESPN ranks Hunter as the No.37 overall prospect in the 2021 class.
Hunter was long recruited by former Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm, but when the six-year head coach of the Cyclones parted ways with the program after a 2-22 season, questions came left and right the moment Otzelberger set foot on campus of how soon he'd be reaching out to Hunter.
After Zoom calls and a vocal effort to keep Hunter in the fold from Otzelberger, the Racine, Wisconsin, native chose to continue his journey as a Cyclone.
And he's already got one mission in mind: to bring Hilton Magic back.
The 6-foot-1 Hunter spoke with Matthew Bain of the Des Moines Register on Saturday shortly after he reaffirmed his commitment to Otzelberger's direction.
"I’m just ready to get the magic back in Hilton (Coliseum)," Hunter said to Bain. "There are people that say it’s gone and stuff like that, but I really see the potential throughout the whole program and the team itself. So I’m just really ready to get out there and just show everyone."
I think Hunter is another huge piece to solve the puzzle that is restoring "Hilton Magic," a task that's been difficult for the Cyclones to finish over the last three seasons.
CYCLONE FAMILY LET’S WORK!! 🌪🌪💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/J0rUJLKnkW— Walking._.Bucket (@hunter_tyrese) April 10, 2021
He showed in high school his natural ability to take opponents off the dribble and score in so many different ways. As a skilled point guard, he can immediately come in and will likely start at the one when the season begins.
I don't need to tell any Cyclone aficionado out there how crucial a dynamic point guard can be for this program and how systems have been run during successful seasons.
Hunter could be in line to become another one of those special players. And special players make a home game more than a random Tuesday night in Ames, Iowa. It becomes a reason for Hilton Coliseum to take over.
Otzelberger himself acknowledged Hilton Magic's absence in his opening statement to fans back in March.
"We need to bring the magic back to Hilton Coliseum," Otzelberger said in his introductory press conference March 19.
Obviously, I'm not going to put the weight of an entire program and its path back to relevancy solely on an incoming freshman such as Hunter and no one else should. Even if he starts as the Cyclones' starting point guard this winter, he's just one, albeit big, part of what Otzelberger has planned.
He's a kid who has never played in a Big 12 game, let alone a college basketball game, so I'm not expecting him to come out and drop triple doubles night after night.
But his talent is obvious. And with talent comes expectations.
Hunter has made it clear he wants to be a part of rebuilding the Cyclones and with that comes Hilton Coliseum. In order for that to become reality, he'll have to be a big reason why.
If he pans out like the Cyclones believe he will, fans will look back on this past Saturday and remember it as a massive step forward to seeing Hilton Coliseum's resurgence.