This Saturday was the biggest game of Tyrese Haliburton’s young college career. The freshman from Oshkosh North High School would take the national stage as his Iowa State Cyclones were hosting #5 in the nation and perennial hoops powerhouse Kansas.
Haliburton delivered, with 14 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc. He also added three assists and a stellar 4 steals, helping push Iowa State (12-2) to a 77-60 win.
It was Haliburton’s first win over a nationally ranked team, and a rare victory for any Big 12 team over Kansas (the Jayhawks have won an NCAA record 14 consecutive league titles).
Add this performance as just another impressive accomplishment during his first year of college. Back in December, he set the team’s all-time assist record with an insane 17 assists in a single game (with just a single turnover!). He’s leading the team in minutes per game, 3-pt shooting percentage, and steals. He’s also in the top three in blocks and assists.
His early impact on the season comes as a surprise for a recruit who was rated outside of the top 100 and received just 3 stars (out of 5) by most national recruiting services. But the success can be seen as a continuation of the domination he had at the high school level, where he led Oshkosh North to a 27-1 record and a D-1 state title his senior year, averaging nearly 23 points per game and receiving the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year award.
Last season, the Cyclones finished last in the Big 12 with just four conference wins. The team already owns two wins and has 16 more league games yet to play. In two weeks, Haliburton and Iowa State will have two of their season’s biggest challenges, going on the road to both #11 Texas Tech and #5 Kansas. What has become clear is that is if the team is going to continue their early success, Haliburton will be an important part of it.