The Iowa State Cyclones have been a powerhouse in the NCAA for decades, producing some of the greatest men’s basketball players of all time. From the early days of the program to the modern era, Cyclone fans have had plenty of amazing players to cheer for. Today, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. From dynamic scorers to defensive stalwarts, these are the players that have made an indelible mark on the history of Cyclone basketball.
1) Jeff Grayer
Jeff Grayer is without a doubt one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. He was a three-time All-Big Eight selection and a two-time All-American in 1987 and 1988. Grayer led the Cyclones to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1985 and was part of the Magnificent Seven recruiting class that included future NBA greats Jeff Hornacek, Victor Alexander, and Fred Hoiberg.
Grayer had an incredibly productive career at Iowa State. He finished with 2,502 points and 1,278 rebounds, both school records that still stand today. He also set the single-season scoring record with 881 points as a senior. Grayer was also an excellent defender, averaging 2.6 steals per game for his career.
In his senior year, Grayer averaged an incredible 24.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and was named the Big Eight Player of the Year. He went on to be the first Big Eight player to be drafted in the first round of the NBA draft when he was taken 13th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988. He spent 10 years in the NBA, averaging 10.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while playing for five different teams.
Jeff Grayer is without a doubt one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time and will forever remain a fan favorite in Ames.
2) Barry Stevens
Barry Stevens is one of the most iconic names in Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball history. The 6’4 guard was a 3-time All-Big 8 selection and led the Cyclones to the NCAA tournament in 1986. He was the Big 8 Player of the Year in 1987 and the Big 8 Tournament MVP in 1987 and 1988.
Stevens was known for his quickness and ability to get to the basket, as well as his deadly outside shot. He set the record for single season scoring (at the time) with 835 points during the 1986-87 season, and also holds the school records for career free throws made (433) and career free throw percentage (86%). He finished his college career with 1,937 points, which ranks him seventh all-time in Iowa State history.
The Des Moines native had a brief NBA career after being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988, but he never quite reached his full potential due to injuries. After retiring from basketball, he returned to Iowa State, where he graduated in 1991 with a degree in sociology.
Since then, Stevens has gone on to become a successful businessman. He currently serves as an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor to companies like SpaceX and Google. Barry Stevens is truly one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time.
3) Fred Hoiberg
Fred Hoiberg, the current head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers men’s basketball team, is one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. After playing college ball for the Cyclones from 1991 to 1995, he was selected by the Indiana Pacers in the 1995 NBA Draft.
Hoiberg had a successful 10-year NBA career with four different teams, including his hometown Minnesota Timberwolves. He was a fan favorite wherever he played, and was known as the Mayor of Ames while playing at Iowa State University. In 2004, Hoiberg retired from the NBA and returned to Iowa State as an assistant coach.
In 2010, he became the 17th head coach in school history and held the post until 2015. During his five-year tenure as head coach, Hoiberg led Iowa State to four NCAA Tournament appearances and two Big 12 regular season titles. His team reached the Sweet 16 twice, which was a program first. Additionally, Hoiberg won numerous awards during his time at Iowa State, including Big 12 Coach of the Year and a spot on the USBWA All-District VII Team.
Fred Hoiberg’s success on the court combined with his popularity with fans has earned him a place among the top 10 greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time.
4) Jamaal Tinsley
Jamaal Tinsley is one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. Tinsley played point guard for the Cyclones from 1998-2001 and left an indelible mark on the program. During his career, he was a two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, a two-time Big 12 All-Defensive team member, and led the Cyclones to their first ever Elite Eight appearance in 2000.
Off the court, Tinsley was known as an unselfish leader and excellent teammate. His ability to get his teammates involved in the offense helped lead Iowa State to unprecedented success. He ended his college career ranked second all-time in steals, sixth all-time in assists, and 10th all-time in scoring for the Cyclones.
Tinsley went on to have a successful 11-year NBA career, playing for five different teams. While he was never an All-Star, he carved out a solid career as a journeyman point guard who could distribute the ball and play solid defense.
The lasting legacy of Jamaal Tinsley at Iowa State will be remembered for generations to come. As one of the top 10 greatest Cyclones of all time, he paved the way for many more talented players to follow in his footsteps.
5) Will Clyburn
Will Clyburn is one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. He played for the Cyclones from 2011 to 2013, where he was a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was named the Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2012.
Clyburn was an offensive powerhouse for the Cyclones, averaging over 17 points per game in his two years with the team. He was a lethal 3-point shooter and also showed off a strong mid-range game as well. He was a true leader for the team and his ability to score from anywhere on the court was key in Iowa State’s success during his tenure.
Clyburn is remembered fondly by Iowa State fans for his clutch play and leadership. He hit many big shots during his time at Iowa State and his strong play helped lead the Cyclones to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2013.
Will Clyburn will always be remembered as one of the top 10 greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time.
6) Deandre Kane
Deandre Kane was one of the greatest players to ever wear the cardinal and gold of the Iowa State Cyclones. He attended the University from 2010-2014, earning All-Big 12 Second Team honors in 2013, All-Big 12 Third Team honors in 2011, and Big 12 All-Freshman Team honors in 2010. He finished his career as the school’s seventh all-time leading scorer with 1,751 points and ranks fifth all-time in steals with 145.
Kane helped lead the Cyclones to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2013-14. During his senior season he led Iowa State to a 25-9 overall record and an 11-7 Big 12 record. He averaged 14.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field during that season.
Deandre Kane’s time at Iowa State was truly something special and he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Cyclones of all time.
7) Georges Niang
When talking about the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time, Georges Niang’s name has to come up. A four-year player at Iowa State, Niang was a two-time All-American, a two-time All-Big 12 selection, and the 2016 Big 12 Player of the Year.
During his time in Ames, Niang set numerous records for the Cyclones. He is the program’s all-time leader in scoring with 2,228 points, and he holds the record for most career games played with 137. His accomplishments don’t stop there – Niang also ranks second in free throws made (556), third in field goals (841), fourth in assists (437), fourth in rebounds (719), and tenth in blocked shots (62).
Niang had an impressive college career, leading the Cyclones to four NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2014. His impact on the program is undeniable, as Iowa State has not seen this much success since the days of hall-of-famer Jeff Hornacek.
The now-27 year old has gone on to have a successful professional career in both the NBA and G League. While he may never reach the same heights that he did in college, there’s no denying that Georges Niang is one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time.
8) Monte Morris
Monte Morris is one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. A four-year starter, Morris left Iowa State as the program’s all-time leader in assists and steals. He also graduated as the Big 12 Conference leader in career assist-to-turnover ratio, a testament to his tremendous ball handling skills.
Morris was an integral part of the Iowa State squad that made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 2014. He led the team in scoring and assists that season, averaging 16.4 points per game and 5.2 assists per game. He also shot an incredible 43% from three-point range during his senior season, further displaying his well-roundedness as a player.
Off the court, Morris was just as impressive. He was a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first team selection and was even named Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2017. His commitment to his studies and hard work on the court makes him a perfect role model for any aspiring athlete.
Morris has gone on to play professionally in the NBA and continues to be an inspiration to both Cyclones fans and aspiring basketball players alike. There’s no doubt that he is one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time.
9) Melvin Ejim
One of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time is Melvin Ejim. A two-time All-Big 12 selection, Ejim was a dominant force in the paint for the Cyclones from 2010-14. He was a key part of their run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen in 2014, and his senior year saw him earn Big 12 Player of the Year honors.
Ejim was a relentless rebounder and scorer, using his strength and agility to dominate opponents inside the paint. He also had the ability to stretch the floor, as evidenced by his incredible school record of 48 points scored in one game against TCU in 2014. He finished his collegiate career with 1,836 points, the third most all-time at Iowa State.
In addition to his individual accolades, Ejim led the Cyclones to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, winning at least one game in each tournament. He was also named an All-American in 2014, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in Iowa State history.
10) Royce White
Royce White is undoubtedly one of the greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time. During his two-year tenure at ISU, he averaged 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. His stellar play was even more impressive given that he played just two seasons for the Cyclones.
White was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in both his seasons at ISU and was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2012. He also led the Cyclones to their first NCAA Tournament win in 14 years during his freshman year.
Off the court, White has become an inspirational figure for his work in mental health advocacy and awareness. He has spoken publicly about his struggles with anxiety and depression, and he started his own non-profit organization, The Royce White Institute for Mental Health Research.
White’s accomplishments on and off the court have earned him a place among the top 10 greatest Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball players of all time.