Jalen Coleman-Lands transferred from DePaul to Iowa State amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The prospect of simply playing basketball again after being granted a sixth year of eligibility took precedence over details of his new school’s schedule.
So Coleman-Lands beamed when he first noticed the particulars for Sunday’s matchup in the Big 12-Big East Battle in Ames, Iowa. There was DePaul, the school where he averaged 10.8 points in 41 starts over the past two seasons.
“Once I committed here and seeing the schedule, it was like, ‘All right. It was meant to be,'” Coleman-Lands said. “So it’s something to look forward to, and it’s going to be exciting.”
While the benefit of his inside knowledge of the Blue Demons remains to be seen, Coleman-Lands figures to have a leg up on his former teammates in at least one aspect.
Iowa State (1-1) boasts game experience. Sunday marks the season opener for DePaul, which has had three previous postponements due to COVID-19 concerns within the program.
Assimilating a roster with seven newcomers, the Cyclones have struggled at the start of games. They trailed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 10-0 in the season opener before regrouping but were unable to erase a 15-point deficit against South Dakota State on Wednesday despite trimming the Jackrabbits’ advantage to one with 30 seconds left. South Dakota State prevailed, 71-68.
“We’ve got to have a better sense of urgency at the beginning of the game,” said Solomon Young, who scored 24 points against the Jackrabbits. “I think we’re being a little too complacent, but it’s something we can learn from, something we can grow on.”
DePaul returns two starters from last season, Charlie Moore and Romeo Weems. A third returning starter, Jaylen Butz, also is on the roster, but Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao said Butz will miss the beginning of the season for undisclosed reasons.
Butz averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game last season while providing a presence in the paint on both sides of the floor. Leitao said 6-foot-11 Nick Ongenda, a reserve as a freshman last season, and 6-foot-8 graduate transfer Pauly Paulicap, who averaged 10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while starting 31 games for Manhattan College last season, likely will work “by committee” in the early going.
“Between those two guys, hopefully we’ll be able to hold down the fort,” Leitao said.
DePaul defeated visiting Iowa State 67-63 in the schools’ only previous meeting, in December 1967.
–Field Level Media