Iowa basketball: Four steps behind Cyclones in producing NBA talent

The Iowa basketball team lost out on in-state recruit Xavier Foster to the Cyclones, in part, because of ISU’s NBA pipeline. The data backs that up.

Landing Xavier Foster would be monumental for the Iowa basketball team after spending the better part of three years recruiting the Oskaloosa native. Foster is closer to Iowa City than Ames, he grew up an Iowa Hawkeye fan, and his skill set would mesh perfectly in Fran’s offense that features big men who can shoot.

Yet, when it came down to it, Foster chose the Iowa State Cyclones.

One of the key tidbits that came out later was that Foster’s ultimate goal is to make it to the NBA, and there was a better chance at Iowa State.

Here’s what Foster’s mother said when speaking with the Des Moines Register:

He just feels like, long-term, his next goal is to get to the NBA, and they’ve had some success at Iowa State. That’s what he chose, and we supported him 100%.

And honestly, when you put it like that, the decision doesn’t seem so difficult or confusing. Iowa State has had done a significantly better job at placing Cyclones in the NBA, especially when compared to the Iowa basketball team.

As of right now, the Cyclones have six players on NBA rosters, compared to just one for the Iowa basketball team, and it’s worth mentioning that Tyler Cook was undrafted and cut by his first team before landing on the dismantled Cleveland Cavaliers.

If you expand the view to look at the past decade, the Iowa State Cyclones have had 13 alumni on NBA rosters. The Iowa basketball program has had four, and one of those is Reggie Evans who entered the league in 2002.

In the past few years, we’ve seen Devyn Marble get the longest shot at the NBA before heading overseas, and we’ve seen Jarrod Uthoff get some minutes, but for one reason or another is unable to latch on. Uthoff is currently playing in the G-League for the Memphis Hustle. Peter Jok dominated in the G-League the past two years but decided to head overseas after never getting a single shot at the NBA, and now ultimate sixth-man Nicholas Baer is playing for the Toronto Raptors G-League affiliate.

The Iowa basketball team has been close, but not close enough several times whereas Iowa State has guys playing consistently key minutes on winning teams.

If you’re a potential NBA prospect, why wouldn’t you choose Iowa State over Iowa?