Iowa State will go with Brackins and senior Alex Thompson at the starting power forward and center spots. But there are four newcomers who will, at the very least, have to provide quality minutes off the bench.
Vanderbeken, a one-time Iowa recruit, is an early favorite to see extended playing time because he has two years of junior college ball under his belt. There will be opportunities for freshmen Clinton Mann, L.A. Pomlee and Justin Hamilton to earn minutes, though McDermott said he’d like to redshirt one of those three this season.
The same goes for the backcourt. Sophomore Lucca Staiger, who is expected to start, won’t be to practice until mid-November because of knee surgery, leaving the guard rotations up in the air. Freshman Dominque Buckley, sophomore Diante Garrett and Petersen will all share time at the point, McDermott said.
Freshman Wes Eikmeier has shown an ability to shoot from the perimeter, so he’ll also be in the mix.
The backcourt does have one thing going for it. McDermott had an entirely new starting backcourt in each of his first two seasons, but in Petersen, Garrett and Sean Haluska, the Cyclones finally have some guards who have experience in his system.
Still, each of those players have only been in the system one season — and they’ll be counted on for leadership.
“I’d like to be at a different place than we are right now in terms of having more veterans on our team, but it is what it is. I feel like we have a solid foundation of young guys, and it’s our job as a coaching staff to develop them as quickly as we can.”
About the only given for Iowa State right now is Brackins, a highly touted sophomore who the Cyclones hope will blossom into a star on both ends of the floor. Staiger is also expected to play a major role.