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College Basketball: ISU’s Haliburton declares for 2020 NBA Draft

AMES – Tyrese Haliburton’s contagious smile and dazzling play on the basketball court made him a fan favorite at Iowa State.

He turned heads with a record-setting 17-assist game as a freshman and averaged more than 22 points in three games at the prestigious Battle 4 Atlantis last November.

Unfortunately for Haliburton and the Cyclones, his sophomore season came to an abrupt halt in February when he suffered a fractured wrist while falling after blocking a shot in transition against Kansas State.

It was one of those plays that made Cyclone Nation love Haliburton, and it is those plays that we’ll always remember as the point guard announced today that he will follow his dreams and enter his name in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Oshkosh, Wisconsin native will sign with an agent, forgoing his final two seasons of eligibility.

“I want to thank God, Coach Prohm and his staff for believing in me when nobody else did,” Haliburton said. “The trust they have put in me these last two years has made me the player I am today, but the relationships I’ve made with everybody have made me the person I am today.

“To Cyclone Nation, thank you. Playing at Hilton Coliseum in front of all you guys every night was a dream come true,” Haliburton added. “Coming to Iowa State was the best decision I’ve made in my whole life. There is no doubt in my mind you are the best fans in the country, and I can’t thank you all enough for the last two years.

“After talking with my family, we have decided that it is in my best interest to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft. Once a Cyclone, Always a Cyclone.”

Haliburton concludes his career with 574 points, 267 assists, 249 rebounds, 108 steals and 45 blocked shots. He is one of just two players nationally to record 500 points-200 rebounds-250 assists-100 steals and 40 blocked shots the last two seasons, but his legacy will be as much about his personality and love for all things Iowa State as it will for the many things he accomplished on the court.

“We are all incredibly proud of Tyrese and all that he accomplished at Iowa State,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said. “He loves Iowa State and will always be a significant part of our Cyclone family. Tyrese, as well as his parents John and Brenda, have been outstanding ambassadors for this University and we are incredibly fortunate to have had them as part of our program.

“When Tyrese suffered his injury in February, he poured his energy into supporting his teammates and that speaks volumes about him as a person. I wish all of them the very best and know that Tyrese will be very successful. I think I speak for everyone associated with our program when I say we can’t wait to watch his career.”

Haliburton went from a three-star recruit to one of the nation’s most talked about players seemingly overnight.

While most players burst onto the scene because of a high-scoring game, for Haliburton it was his playmaking ability. The ability to make teammates better. With an incredible knack for setting teammates up for success, Haliburton ranked second nationally and led the Big 12 with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio as a freshman.

The summer before his sophomore season, Haliburton played for and won a Gold Medal with the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team. Named to the tournament’s All-Star Five, he was the fourth Cyclone men’s basketball player to win a Gold Medal while representing the United States.

As a sophomore, Haliburton was poised to see an increase in his usage and he was ready for the moment. In 22 games, he averaged 15.2 points per game, an increase of 8.4 points per game from his freshman season, while still dishing out 6.5 assists per game. At the time of his injury, Haliburton ranked among the Big 12 Conference’s top 10 in scoring (15.2), assists (6.5), steals (2.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), field goal percentage (50.4), 3-point field goal percentage (41.9), 3-point field goals made per game (2.4) and minutes played (36.7).

He played 10 complete games this season, just two off the school record of 12, which was set by Barry Stevens during the 1984-85 season.

Haliburton concludes his career with the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in school history at 3.00. He ranks 17th in the Cyclone record books with 267 assists and 20th with 108 steals.

He was also extremely efficient shooting the ball, ending this season as one of just four players nationally to play in at least 55 games the last two seasons and shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent behind the arc (30 3FGM) and 75 percent from the line.

He scored in double figures 28 times in his career, had double-digit assists on four occasions and double-digit rebounds twice.

Haliburton posted just the sixth triple-double in school history this season, finishing with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against TCU. He was honored as the Big 12 Player of the Week after his efforts against the Horned Frogs, one of two such honors he received this season.

At the time of his injury, Haliburton was on the Bob Cousy Watch List, the Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 and the Lute Olson Award Midseason Watch List.

In the end, Haliburton was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team despite playing just half the conference season. He was also an Academic All-Big 12 First-Team honoree.

The 2020 NBA Draft Combine is currently scheduled for May 21-24 in Chicago, though it has not yet been determined if Haliburton will participate. The 2020 NBA Draft is slated to take place June 25 in Brooklyn.

Since Prohm arrived at Iowa State, the Cyclones have had five players drafted and a total of eight reach the NBA.

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