AMES — Iowa State freshman guard Lindell Wigginton has been impressive on the offensive end in his young career.
He’s the fourth freshman in Iowa State history to score 30 or more points and he’s one 20-point game away from tying the freshman record of 20-point games in a season. The record currently stands at eight. Wigginton has 14 regular-season games to match or break that record.
But it was known that he was a prolific offensive threat. The biggest area Wigginton has grown at Iowa State is on the defensive end.
Tonight in Fort Worth, Texas, as Iowa State (10-6, 1-4 Big 12) travels to TCU (13-4, 1-4 Big 12), Wigginton will be matched up against TCU guard Jaylen Fisher, who is averaging 12.3 points and 5.7 assists.
“He plays great defense himself so that’s definitely going to be a good battle,” Wigginton said. “I obviously want to win every battle I go up against.”
Wigginton said it’s been a change in mindset for him on the defensive end. It started two weeks ago when head coach Steve Prohm challenged him to defend the best guard on the court every night.
Like many standout high school players, Wigginton was a good defender, he just didn’t always want to defend.
“(Prohm) has been challenging me a lot,” Wigginton said. “He feels like I can be an elite defender. That’s why, recently, I’ve been guarding the best player on the other team and I make it a point to myself that I want to guard the best player. I tell him I want to guard the best player.”
It’s easy for a guy with Wigginton’s athleticism to be a good on-ball defender. The transition from good to great defender starts off the ball and getting the rotations and help defenses right.
“It’s definitely a process guarding off the ball,” Wigginton said. “You have to see where your man is it but you also have to see where the ball is at. I think that’s been the biggest key in my defending process. I feel like I’m a good on-ball defender, but I still have to work on all aspects of defense.”
That team concept will be key against TCU. All five of the Horned Frogs’ starters average double figures, so Iowa State can’t help off one guy too much.
“They want the ball moving, so we have to do a great job of getting back and you have to guard everybody,” Prohm said. “Collectively, the five guys need to do a great job as a team to defend them. They are very, very efficient, they can make 3s – you look and it’s 41 percent from the 3-point line and 50 percent from the field.
“The defensive end is what’s going to get us the win down there. You’re not going to go down there and just outscore them.”