Preseason poll places Cyclone men fifth

AMES – The Iowa State men’s basketball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches.

The Cyclones went 28-8 overall and 11-7 in the Big 12 in 2013-14, finishing in a tie for third in the league. ISU returns three starters, but will have to replace Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year DeAndre Kane.

Among Cyclone returnees is preseason All-Big 12 pick Georges Niang, who averaged 16.7 points as a sophomore. Dustin Hogue (11.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Monte Morris (6.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) also return for the Cyclones, as do key reserves Naz Long (7.1 ppg) and Matt Thomas (6.8 ppg).

Iowa State also adds a trio of transfers expected to play a major role this season. Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year Bryce Dejean-Jones, who led UNLV in scoring with 13.6 points per game last season, and Abdel Nader join the Cyclones. Jameel McKay, a transfer from Marquette, will be eligible on Dec. 20.

Kansas was selected as the preseason favorite to win the league, followed by Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas State.

In each of the last three seasons, ISU has finished above its preseason poll projection.

Iowa State plays an exhibition on Nov. 7 against Viterbo, and the regular season opens on Nov. 14 against Oakland.