Tyrese Haliburton Northern Illinois

Then-sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton looks to pass the ball during Iowa State’s 70-52 victory over Northern Illinois on Nov. 12, 2019, at Hilton Coliseum.

The NBA has become a second home for Iowa State men's basketball talent over the last decade, with eight former Iowa State players currently on eight playoff teams from a season ago.

Some of Iowa State's most impactful players in program history have made their names in the league for years, with players like Monte Morris, Georges Niang and Naz Mitrou-Long giving Iowa State the NBA acclaim it's found over the years.

And as impactful and beloved as they may have been in their time in Ames, none of those players entered the NBA as first-round picks.

But on Wednesday, Tyrese Haliburton will be in good position to make new history and become Iowa State's first first-round pick in the Steve Prohm era.

A chance for new history

As hard as it is to believe, Iowa State's collection of NBA talent in the last decade has not garnered a first round selection.

In fact, since Head Coach Steve Prohm took over in Ames in 2015, no player has been picked higher than 46th overall and higher than the second round.

What about NBA Champion Talen Horton-Tucker? Horton-Tucker was drafted with the 46th pick in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019 NBA Draft. 

What about Georges Niang, Iowa State's second all-time leading scorer? The 6-foot-8 forward was taken 50th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2016 NBA Draft.

And if the mock drafts and insider information holds true, Haliburton will be the first first-round pick from Iowa State since Royce White was taken 16th overall by the Houston Rockets in 2012.

“I couldn’t see him going lower than 10, that’s just my gut," Prohm said Oct. 21.

Prohm has had discussions with more media than any team personnel of teams in the top 10 and told the media on Oct. 21 that the "sexy" teams he has heard interested in Haliburton range across the top 10.

Whether it's Golden State, Chicago, New York, Detroit or Phoenix, Prohm has liked Haliburton's chances of being a top-10 pick. If his intuition and NBA Draft evaluators see eye to eye, Haliburton could break even more first round cold streaks for Iowa State.

If taken in the top 10 on Wednesday, the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, native could be the first Iowa State player taken in the top 10 since Marcus Fizer was taken fourth overall to the Chicago Bulls in 2000.

Tyrese vs Baylor free throw 2020

Tyrese Haliburton shoots a free throw against then-No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 29.

One last scouting report

Haliburton is viewed as one of the safer picks in the draft, a player that has the potential to thrive on and off the ball, as he showed in his two seasons at Iowa State.

If a team already has an established ball-dominant point guard on its roster, Haliburton showed in his freshman season he would be used to being set up as a catch and shoot guy on the perimeter. When he was left unguarded in the half-court last season, Haliburton shot 52.6 percent on his field goals.

Haliburton was a solid team defender in college, with a lengthy 6-foot-8 wingspan who can disrupt passing lanes and work in transition comfortably. 

Haliburton's most obvious strength comes from his shooting, ending his sophomore campaign shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. In his two seasons in Ames, Haliburton was a career 42.6 percent 3-point shooter.

If concerns existed with Haliburton, his broken left wrist that he suffered Feb. 8 against Kansas State could be one of them. Haliburton has rehabbed and worked out with other players in the draft class and potential teams who would be able to see his wrist up close.

The 2020 NBA Draft will be televised at 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.

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