Iowa State continues transfer dominance with Hallice Cooke

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The addition of Hallice Cooke and Bryce Dejean-Jones means the Cyclones should have even more success with transfer players in the future.

Iowa State got another transfer last night, because Iowa State gets every transfer.

This time, it was Oregon State guard Hallice Cooke, who will have to sit out a year before playing for the Cyclones, but averaged 8.2 points and 2.5 assists per game as a freshman for the Beavers. He's a good pickup for coach Fred Hoiberg, but this is nothing new for Iowa State, which has now gotten 12 transfers since Hoiberg became the coach in 2010.

It's not even that ISU lands so many transfers; it's that their name seems to be involved with almost any player of note who joins the transfer market.

Given that the number of transfers is well over 400 now, that's actually a pretty smart move. If you go after every single one of the good available transfers, you're bound to get a few of them. And while most college coaches prefer to build their program with high school recruits, Hoiberg has a different strategy — find some good players looking for a new school that have already proven themselves in the college game. When you think about it, that's a really sound strategy, and Hoiberg has proven he can take advantage of college basketball's changing dynamic.

All but one of Hoiberg's impact transfers (Anthony Booker) has started since coming to Ames. Cooke has a lot to live up to. While recruits can be hit-or-miss, almost every single one of Hoiberg's transfers has made an impact on the court.


The only transfer to make an impact in Hoiberg's first season was senior transfer Darion Anderson, who came from Northern Illinois. Despite the jump in competition from the MAC to the Big 12, Anderson minutes percentage jumped from 69.2 percent to 82.3 percent, and his offensive rating jumped from 90.9 to 101.2, according to They were even an improvement over Anderson's stellar early career. The Cyclones went just 16-16 in Hoiberg's first season, but with more impact transfers sitting out for a year, things were bound to get better.


This was the first year Hoiberg had more than one transfer eligible, and emergence of Royce White, in particular, got the nation to notice. White, a transfer from Minnesota, starred as a 6-foot-8 forward who had the ball-handling skills of a point guard. He wasn't alone. Penn State transfer Chris Babb and Michigan State transfer Chris Allen were both major contributors, while Southern Illinois transfer Anthony Booker was effective in a smaller role. That year, just Hoiberg's second season, Iowa State made the NCAA Tournament and knocked out Connecticut in the first round.


While White and Allen were gone in 2012-13, Babb returned and got some help from some more new faces. 6-foot-7 Utah transfer Will Clyburn was effective as a scorer and a rebounder, while former Michigan State point guard Korie Lucious stepped in with a 31.4 percent assist rate that ranked in the top 80 nationally. That year also shushed the "Hoiberg can't recruit high schoolers" crowd, as junior Melvin Ejim and freshman Georges Niang — both of whom started their careers at Iowa State — were key contributors and continued to be throughout their careers. Once again, Iowa State got out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and may have knocked off second-seeded Ohio State if it weren't for a bad charge call.


While Niang and Ejim continued their improvement, Marshall graduate transfer DeAndre Kane made the difference for the Cyclones' extremely efficient offense this past season. That core of players was complemented by underrated junior college transfer Dustin Hogue, whose 124.4 offensive rating ranked 58th nationally. Hogue was also effective as a center, despite being just 6-foot-6. The Cyclones beat North Carolina en route to the Sweet Sixteen this season, before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut.

The Future

While Kane and Ejim are gone from last year's team, Hoiberg has already reloaded. The Cyclones picked up Bryce Dejean-Jones, who led UNLV in scoring last season and will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. Beyond that, Marquette transfer Jameel McKay will be available after the first semester ends in December this year. In other words, things keep getting better in Ames:

So keep complaining about this "transfer epidemic" and how Hoiberg doesn't do it "the right way." He doesn't care — he's winning.

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