Prohm, Cyclones prep for trip to Spain
AMES, Iowa (AP) Steve Prohm inherited more than just a talented team when he accepted the Iowa State job.
He also took over a group whose personality had already been forged through years of shared experiences – good and bad.
Prohm and the Cyclones are about to truly get to know one another.
Iowa State opened practice Monday in preparation for a four-game trip to Spain early next month that includes stops in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid. The Cyclones, who won 25 games and the Big 12 tournament last season, open the 2015-16 season Nov. 13 against Colorado in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
”Hopefully we get a chance to bond,” Prohm said. ”Learn about each other more…and just get a chance to pour into one another. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not really about winning games and playing. It’s about the time together, the camaraderie.”
The NCAA allows team to make one trip overseas every four years. The Cyclones couldn’t have picked a better year for theirs.
Prohm, the former coach at Murray State, took over Iowa State’s program last month after the Chicago Bulls hired away Fred Hoiberg.
Though Prohm is expected to play a style similar to Hoiberg’s fast-paced system, there will inevitably be differences – mostly on defense. Iowa State is expected to adopt more of an aggressive approach under Prohm.
And even though Prohm and the Cyclones don’t have any idea what level of competition they’ll be facing in Spain, this represents their first chance to test some of Prohm’s ideas for his first Iowa State team.
”I think the biggest thing for him is to make the other team feel uncomfortable and get out of their rhythm and really try to get on them in the passing game,” forward Georges Niang said.
The trip to Spain also finally gives the Cyclones an opportunity to play with one of their most important newcomers in Oregon State transfer Hallice Cooke.
Cooke averaged 8.2 points a game for Oregon State in 2013-14, and he’s returning from surgery to repair cartilage tears in both of his hips. This will be an important trip for Cooke, who will try to earn minutes in a crowded backcourt featuring star point guard Monte Morris along with veterans Naz Long and Matt Thomas.
”With Hallice getting back from his hip surgery, (it’s key) for him to be out there together most of the time and making shots, getting his confidence level where it needs to be,” Morris said.
Marquette transfer Deonte Burton will make the trip, but he won’t be able to play because of NCAA transfer rules.
Burton averaged 6.9 points a game for Marquette in 2013-14 and played eight games last season before transferring in December. He becomes eligible to play for Iowa State at the end of the fall semester.
Burton will be in Spain for the experience, though, which the Cyclones believe will be much more important than the results.
”We’ve always been aa close team. But this give us a chance to get even closer and (play) in coach Prohm’s system and see what he likes,” center Jameel McKay said.
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