AMES, IOWA — Two weeks into his tenure, Iowa State men's basketball coach Steve Prohm and his staff are beginning to ramp up their recruiting efforts and pinpoint a plan of attack to build the future of the program.
Between assistant William Small and Prohm, Iowa State will begin to mine the south for recruits while still focusing on the Midwest and junior college athletes with T.J. Otzelberger and Daniyal Robinson. The staff has already begun laying out a plan for the July recruiting period which begins shortly.
In a one-on-one interview with AllCyclones.com on Wednesday, Prohm delved into a number of recruiting topics ranging from how Iowa State will build for 2016-17 and beyond, his recruiting involvement, how the Cyclones can move to the south and much more. Here's what Prohm had to say.
AllCyclones.com How do you feel you and the staff have gotten off the ground with recruiting here in the initial weeks?
Steve Prohm: Recruiting, obviously we can’t mention names, but now that I have my whole staff here, I think we’ve hit the ground running. We’ll recruit the Midwest, we’ll recruit the south, we’ll recruit junior college kids. Most likely we’ll leave a scholarship open to maybe get a midyear transfer, because those have been good here and at Murray State.
We’ll keep the same recruiting philosophy as I had at Murray. That’s great high school players, junior college kids that can come in and be an impact, and then one or two scholarships for transfers. Point guard is a point of emphasis because Monte will be a senior next year and then bigs because we only have two true bigs in the program in Georges and Jameel. Those are our points of emphasis right now.
AllCyclones.com All head coaches have to be involved in the recruiting process to some extent, but how do you feel about your involvement? It seems like you enjoy being heavily involved.
Prohm: Yeah, I want to be as involved as I possibly can. I want them to have the best relationship. My goal is for them to have the best relationship with me than any other head coach that’s recruiting them whether that’s through texting, whether that’s talking to family, whether that’s communicating with them the most. My assistants will obviously do the leg work, but I want to be involved as much as possible to make those kids understand how important they are and then also for them to have a great sense of comfort and peace with me and our relationship
Because I’m the one that’s going to coach them, I’m the one that’s going to put them in and out of the game, so that relationship is huge. Hopefully that will give us a chance to maybe separate ourselves. But everybody recruits hard, everybody recruits at a high level. I just have to make sure I’m doing my part.
AllCyclones.com The south is a little different place than Iowa State has been in before in terms of recruiting. How do you think you can start using the south to get kids to Ames more than before?
Prohm: Someone told me they’ve had some really good players here from Louisiana. I think Tim Floyd had some guys. I think [Marcus] Fizer and [Dedric] Willoughby may have been Louisiana. You probably just have to get them up here on the right weekend [laughs] so the weather is good. We’ll recruit the south: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida. Those are states that we have a good feel for and states that have been really good. Now, we have good relationships [there].
One of the attractions here, too, to sell them on, is this is a passionate, passionate basketball fanbase. You recruit those kids in the south where football may be the deal, you’re coming up here and playing in front of 14,000 sold out, whatever Hilton seats exactly, every night and we’ve got one of the best atmospheres in college basketball. I think our staff has good southern ties, but obviously we had to have a couple guys on staff that have great Midwest ties and then great junior college ties because that’s our six-hour radius.
AllCyclones.com I know we can’t talk names, but there are at least three recruits we have ranked highly that had been connected with the previous staff and they’ve kept Iowa State in their top mix. How have you maintained relationships?
Prohm: Some of them I have a feel for, and some of them honestly I don’t because you may be in the top six or eight, but are you really in their top two or three? That’s what you really have to know is are we in their top two or three. I think we’re trying to figure out that right now and figure out that process. It is late for a lot of 2016 kids and that’s why we need to make sure the ones we go after know they’re a priority, know this is an important class and know that we’re losing a lot of seniors and they’re going to have an opportunity to step in and do some really good things for us.
AllCyclones.com Obviously people are really excited about next year’s roster, but with 2016-17 how do you feel with the five to six open scholarships?
Prohm: I think our biggest thing is, point guard and bigs are our priority. Try to get the best high school kids we possibly can and then fill in the junior college kids as well and kind of do a nice split there. And then if we have a scholarship late maybe bring in a transfer. There are five, six, seven scholarships that could be on the table for this class, it is a very big class.
If we can get the right kids in here, 2017 I think we go down to three, maybe four at the most and now we’ve got a good base because I don’t want to sign six or seven kids every year. You want to sign three or four kids. The goal for me is to try to keep an all-league guy in each class. If you do that you’re going to be very, very good.
AllCyclones.com What are your plans for July? I know it’s going to be a quick turnaround for you and will be a busy month.
We just met yesterday. We’ll all be out. We’ll be spread out chasing the guys we know and may uncover a couple of other guys. It’ll be Monday and Tuesday practicing these guys [and] Wednesday through Saturday and a little bit of Sunday recruiting and then get back. We’ll go three weeks really hard with that format and then get back at the end of the month and start getting ready for Spain and start getting kids on campus before we go to Spain if we’ve got a couple top priority guys.