After the Oklahoma game, I wrote about how junior guard Terrence Lewis has given the Cyclones an added element.
The way the Cyclones roster is built and the way Coach Steve Prohm runs his offense, it is oftentimes hard for wings to develop well in Iowa State's system.
The only player in recent memory who thrived was Marial Shayok, but even then, the Virginia transfer was used in a primary and secondary ball handler situation often enough to question if he was even a wing.
Lewis came to Iowa State as a top 100 recruit according to ESPN, but his flaws showed immediately as he didn't work at all in Iowa State's system. While Prohm runs a perimeter centric offense, players often need to be adept at creating shots for themselves.
Lewis' dribbling left something to be desired and took away his driving opportunity, and his defense certainly didn't help him.
It's 2020 now — over three years after Lewis was recruited — and he is finally showing what he can bring to the table. He has finally found his niche. He's a change of pace from everyone else on the team.
Against Oklahoma, Lewis made cuts, pulled up over shorter defenders and was able to switch from small to big on defense — all things that the guard populated Steve Prohm-coached team has trouble doing.
Lewis looks better and is knocking down his open shots, but he's also found what makes him valuable to the team; and with two small forward recruits coming to the Cyclones next season in Darlinstone Dubar and Dudley Blackwell, it seems like the perfect time for Prohm to integrate some lengthy wings into his rotation.
Iowa State will likely be losing Tyrese Haliburton to the draft, but Rasir Bolton and George Conditt — two emerging leaders on the team — will only be juniors, and Iowa recruit Xavier Foster will join them as a building block.
Guards have thrived in Prohm's system, and long, shot-blocking big men have done the same. Is it time for him to add the third element? I think yes.
Since Lewis is the only available wing on the roster, there isn't a large sample size for recent wing production. Zion Griffin could be in that conversation.
Griffin is going down a tamed yet similar path as Lewis. The sophomore was a highly-touted recruit and was generally thought of as the second biggest recruit in a class that had Haliburton, Conditt and Talen Horton-Tucker.
In his freshman year, Griffin played mostly as a wing, and injuries combined with ineffectiveness kept him from seeing any important minutes.
Prohm has used Griffin this season as more of a small ball power forward with the ability to sky up for offensive rebounds and stretch the floor with a decent jump shot.
Griffin had similar success against Oklahoma to what Lewis experienced. Oklahoma had a game plan to stop Iowa State in certain ways, but Prohm opened up the floor to two traditional wings, and it threw the Sooners off.
Griffin had more of an impact on the defensive end and wasn't as apt to making cuts as Lewis was, but Griffin still changed the identity of the team when he was in — especially at the same time as Lewis.
Heading into the meat of the schedule, Iowa State will need to try some new things to avoid wasting the *likely* last season of Haliburton, and switching it up with what little wings they have might be the way to do it.