The Iowa State basketball program took a major hit both on the court and off of it when forward Abdel Nader and guard Matt Thomas were suspended for the teams first two games after each had off-season run ins with the law.
After transferring from Northern Illinois, Nader has yet to play a game in a Cyclones jersey and was arrested for a DWI back in April. Head coach Fred Hoiberg immediately suspended Nader, and now Nader will do his best to work his way back into Hoiberg’s good graces.
Nader was an absolute stud during his two seasons with the Huskies, averaging 10.1 points as a freshman before jumping to 13.3 points. The forward was also huge on the glass swiping 236 total rebounds and his contributions will be integral to the team’s future success.
Thomas on the other hand, was charged with DUI on an early June morning and was also suspended indefinitely from the Iowa State program. As a freshman, Thomas started 15 games contributing 5.5 points per game and showed signs of great potential with an excellent outside stroke.
The two players are expected to be key cogs for Iowa State and must clean up their acts if they hope to elevate the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament. The Cyclones haven’t seen a Final Four since 1944, and would love to let the 70th anniversary of the drought be the last. Iowa State did not lose much from its talented 2013 team and could be a dangerous team to face come March. They lost Roy Devyn Marble to the NBA, but there is experience behind him.
Hoiberg has proven he can coach and has had great success at his alma mater, so much so that his name was whispered around several NBA vacancies this past offseason. Now he needs to maintain discipline if he plans to compete with the likes of Kansas for that elusive Big 12 title, and more importantly a chance to build off their no. 3 seed in last year’s tourney and make it all the way to the ship.
*Section Photo credit to Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to ChatSports