Before each season, Iowa State men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm meets with each player in his office to discuss their role. Though most college athletes with a dream of being an NBA lottery pick have to be convinced to shoot less, Prohm’s meeting with Tyrese Haliburton was the opposite. After losing his top three scorers from the previous season, Prohm needed his star point guard to score more.
“We were going to have to challenge him to really take an aggressive role offensively,” Prohm said. “From not just a pass-first guy, but also look to score as well. I think he was really receptive and did a great job with that.”
From his freshman to sophomore year, Haliburton transitioned from an off-ball role to playing more on the ball. After upperclassmen Marial Shayok, Lindell Wiggington and Talen Horton-Tucker left the Cyclones to play professionally, Haliburton went from averaging 6.8 points on fewer than 5 shots per game, to a team-high 15.2 points on 11.1 shots per game in the 2019-20 season.
The efficient shooting, length and high-basketball IQ Haliburton displayed as a sophomore have turned him from a fringe first-round pick to a sure-fire lottery selection in Nov. 18’s NBA draft.
According to league sources, Haliburton is believed to be higher on the Warriors’ board than the draft’s consensus-top point guard, LaMelo Ball, and could be in the mix for the No. 2 pick, or if Golden State trades down on draft night.
Haliburton has an unselfish disposition, and leading a team in scoring was once out of his comfort zone. In high school in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he remained loyal to his unheralded AAU team, eschewing opportunities to play for high-profile clubs; unlike his one-time teammate Tyler Herro, who committed to Kentucky as one of the top recruits in the country. Meanwhile Haliburton, a three-star recruit, stayed closer to home at Iowa State.
“He commanded the court with his personality, with his ability to be coached, being able to lead his teammates,” Prohm said of scouting Haliburton. “He’s got such a great feel, such a great IQ.”
As a freshman, Haliburton settled into his off-the-ball role. He made open shots, cut to the basket and defended multiple positions — but his elite passing ability quickly became clear. Even though he had the second-lowest usage rate on the team, he nearly led Iowa State in assists.
It wasn’t until the following summer that Haliburton embraced more of a scoring role. Playing for Team USA in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Greece, Haliburton scored 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting in a group-stage win against Lithuania. Though he finished ninth on the team with 7.9 points per game, he ranked first in 3-point shooting (55%) and assists (6.9) as he led Team USA to a gold medal.Related Articles
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports