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There is no stopgap in the frontcourt.

Vanderbeken was a medical redshirt in 2009-10, and he’s more of a perimeter player. Melvin Ejim, whom Hoiberg said is the freshman most ready to play, will likely be at small forward. Freshmen Calvin Godfrey, Eric McKnight and Jordan Railey will battle for minutes at power forward and center.

“The big thing they’re going to have this year is an opportunity,” Hoiberg said of the freshman class. “Whether they’re ready or not, they’re going to get thrown into the fire and see what they have and gain valuable experience doing that.”

There appears to be some talent in the new class. McKnight picked Iowa State over the likes of Georgetown and Maryland, and Ejim starred for the nation’s top prep school team a year ago.

But there’s a reason why Iowa State’s been tabbed for the Big 12 basement. The Cyclones lost by far their two best players and most of their depth from a team that finished with a losing record, and they’re replacing them with a host of youngsters.

“You may see these guys throwing the ball in(to) the third and fourth row in the first month of the season,” Hoiberg said. “But if they keep grinding away and learning from their mistakes, these kids have got a chance.”