No one’s building up Jalen Coleman-Lands to be the second coming of anyone. Although maybe he can provide something resembling the combination of energy and enthusiasm and perimeter shooting ability Naz Mitrou-Long brought during four-plus seasons at Iowa State, we still don’t know if he can shoot like the Cyclones’ former long-range star.
And that’ll depend on the system of coach Steve Prohm’s team — whether Rasir Bolton, or whoever runs the point, can get Coleman-Lands the ball in advantageous scoring situations. (More on that later).
It will depend on if the Cyclones play somewhat similarly to the way they played back when Coleman-Lands played against them as a freshman. (More on that later, too.)
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Absolutely, the Cyclones would like the two-school transfer to shoot 3-pointers in the 40% range for a team that shot just 31.6% from that distance last season. Then need the 6-foot-4 guard graduate transfer to shoot like he shot at Illinois, and not like he shot at DePaul.
That’s one of the big question marks heading into a season in which Big 12 coaches picked the Cyclones to finish eighth.
Who are the long-range scoring threats, considering Iowa State will play more four-guard than three guards and two bigs?
Bolton? Javan Johnson? Tre Jackson? Jaden Walker? Tyler Harris? Coleman-Lands?
Stay tuned, because much of Iowa State’s basketball tradition is about fast-break mismatches, and scoring from long-range — and Coleman-Lands could be an answer to at least part of that.
“He’s produced at a really good level for two high-major programs, two Power Six programs,” Prohm said during the team’s annual media day Thursday. “The biggest things we need from him are his energy every day, leadership, and shot-making. If he takes great shots, he can be a 40% shooter.”
The Cyclones will take as many 40% three-point shooters as it can get. Take away lottery-pick-to-be Tyrese Haliburton’s 41.9% clip last season, and you’ve got percentages like 33.6, 26.3 and 33.7 from perimeter players. At this level, that doesn’t cut it, unless you can counter it with a great defense.
If Iowa State can shoot well from long-range, then finishing higher than eighth in the Big 12 Conference seems likely. If Coleman-Lands shoots like he did at Illinois during his first two seasons of college, then that’s at least a step in the right direction.
For the Illinois part of his college resume, Coleman-Lands shot 42.2% and 38.0% from 3-point range during the 2015-16 and 2017 seasons. He didn’t have to create his own shot; others facilitated shots for the shooters.
But after transferring to DePaul? Different story.
There during the past two seasons, Coleman-Lands was just a 30.6% three-point shooter.
“It was a little more difficult getting shots off at DePaul,” he said. “I was putting in the work. I was putting in the overtime to get the shot right.”
Still, it didn’t happen, and that’s sometimes the case. Good long-range shooters often are only as good as the player setting them up. Matt Thomas and Mitrou-Long, for example, had Monte Morris, and we all know where he is today.
He’s the best backup point guard in the NBA, that’s where. He’s making lots of money setting up Denver Nuggets shooters, like he did for Mitrou-Long (Indiana Pacers) and Thomas (Toronto Raptors).
Coleman-Lands saw that up close and personal while playing against them in the championship game of the 2015 Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida. He saw that while Iowa State was beating the Illinois team on which he played 20 minutes.
“I remember,” he said. “They had the right players and they were well-coached.”
He remembers how successfully Iowa State’s perimeter players spaced the floor. He remembers the fluidity with which the team played.
“It was effortless,” Coleman-Lands said. “You could tell they had a good feel for each other in the system they played.”
Coleman-Lands recalled that game when deciding his options after DePaul.
“That was something that stuck in my mind, since we played them my freshman year,” he said. “You could tell they knew each other’s role. In retrospect, knowing Iowa State was one of my options, it was something that came to mind.”
He’s expected to add more than shooting to a very young team. Coleman-Lands has leadership qualifies, too. That was another trait Prohm liked.
“In the landscape we’re in, I think he’s been a great leader for our guys when we’ve had our discussions,” the coach said. “At our weekly meetings about social issues, he’s been at the head of it. He’s been the one taking notes. He’s been the one spearheading conversations and doing research.”
But there’s more. A few rungs below potential long-range scoring is the energy Coleman-Lands shows, and if you don’t think that’s important — well, you’re wrong. Iowa State is limiting basketball crowds to 1,373 at Hilton Coliseum. Players will have to create their own energy, mostly.
“It’s not something that miraculously will just show up at game time,” Coleman-Lands said of the enthusiasm that usually happens at Iowa State home games. “When there’s 90 percent less people at games — obviously that will be new to us.”
Here’s the way Prohm put it.
“He brings a different mindset. Even when he’s out of practice, he’s really engaged,” Prohm said. “He’s on the energy bus. He’s an energy-giver.”
Iowa State is banking on Coleman-Lands not only being an energy-giver, but one with a consistently successful 3-point shot.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Peterson: Iowa State needs as much Coleman-Lands long-range scoring as it can get