Thousands flock to Lake City for Niang visit

LAKE CITY – Former Iowa State basketball star Georges Niang was the center of attention here Monday.

Niang made a stop at Macke Motors to sign autographs, shoot hoops and take pictures as the feature attraction to a gathering yesterday evening. Thousands of Cyclone fans were in attendance for the special event.

“This is awesome to come up (to Lake City) and give back to people that mean so much to me,” Niang said. “I thought it was a great idea (Macke Motors owner) Gus (Macke) had. I definitely wanted to jump at it.”

Niang posted arguably one of the best individual seasons in ISU history as a senior, averaging 20.5 points per game, shooting 54.6 percent from the field, 39.2 percent from 3-point range and 80.7 percent from the free throw line. He’s the only Iowa State two-time AP All-American.

Following a unanimous selection to the all-Big 12 Conference first team, the 6-foot-8 Niang helped Iowa State to its fifth-ever Sweet 16 appearance last month. He became just the fifth player in NCAA Tournament history to score at least 28 points in three straight games, joining elite company in Duke’s Jason Williams, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Davidson’s Stephen Curry and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.

“I recently just signed with an agent, so I’ll be moving out to where he’s at,” said Niang. “I’m just waiting to see what happens with the (NBA Draft). I’m enjoying the process right now.”

Niang, a Massachusetts native, wrapped up his career second all-time at ISU in scoring with 2,228 points. He was the first Cyclone to play in four NCAA Tournaments and owns the most wins (98) and games played (138) in school history.

This past Friday during ESPN’s College Basketball Awards show, Niang was named the Karl Malone Award winner, which is presented annually to the nation’s top power forward. Other finalists for the award were Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff, Kansas’ Perry Ellis, North Carolina’s Brice Johnson and Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney.

Under first-year head coach Steve Prohm, Iowa State went 23-12 overall and 10-8 in the league.

“Through all the ups and downs, we still had a great year,” Niang said. “Cyclone fans are tremendous. It’s been a great ride. I’m sad to leave, but it’s not goodbye. It’s see you soon.”