SI puts Niang and McKay on non-NBA national team

Would you like to see Georges Niang suited up in the red, white and blue? Or Jameel McKay lined up in the front-court alongside Carlos Boozer? 

Both scenarios would be possible based on an article posted by Sports Illustrated on Thursday. Jeremy Woo built a USA Basketball roster of players that aren’t currently playing the NBA, and McKay and Niang were among the guys slated as starters for the squad. 

Niang’s ability to play multiple forward spots, stretch the floor from outside and just make plays, makes him a perfect player for the international setting, according to Woo. Teaming him up with McKay makes it possible to hide Niang’s defensive deficiencies against the crafty veteran big men that usually play the international game. 

McKay would be the defensive anchor for the squad, and would obviously bring a great deal of energy and a much-needed post presence. 

Iowa State was the only college to put multiple players onto the team which puts into perspective how the Cyclones are viewed nationally. Everybody knows these guys are good. So good, in fact, that they think they could represent our nation. 

It’s great for the program to be getting this recognition. USA Basketball is the pinnacle of the sport.

The two wouldn’t be the first Cyclones to play on a non-NBA national team. Jeff Grayer was actually a member of the 1988 team, the last one before NBA players were permitted for international play. It was one of just two USA teams to finish with a bronze medal. 

Chances are we will still be seeing LeBron, Steph Curry and co. lead the team into the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but will that keep me from dreaming about Niang kicking out to Ray Allen in the corner and smiling with a gold medal around his neck?

No it won’t. 


Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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