When Steve Prohm arrived in mid-June to take the reigns of the Iowa State basketball program, he and his future staff faced and early uphill battle on the recruiting front.
The Cyclones already had a handful of open scholarships (the number would swell to six) and lacked some frontcourt depth for the immediate 2015-16 season. In four months time, Iowa State picked up commitments from 2015 class members Brady Ernst and Simeon Carter to bolster the frontcourt and have already filled four of the six open scholarships for the 2016 class ahead of the quickly approaching mid-November early signing date.
While Prohm can't discuss specifics of recruiting, AllCyclones.com caught up with him at Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City to discuss recruiting four months in.
AllCyclones.com: You've been here four months roughly. What have you noticed on the recruiting trail initially in terms of maybe different challenges or things that are different about recruiting to Iowa State versus where you were and stuff like that?
Steve Prohm: The one common is you're recruiting to a basketball environment and then you're also recruiting at a place that you don't have a natural recruiting base, you've got to go out. You've got to go a couple hours to find players. Recruiting is off to a good start. I think we've got to understand that transfers are always going to be important, to recruit the right junior college transfers as well and then within the network of people we know within the Midwest and south, to try to continue to add good high school players and just have a good blend. If you look at the top players from where I was last year and at Iowa State, [it's] very similar in good high school players, JUCO transfers and a couple Division I transfers. I want to keep that same model. Obviously the better you play, the more success you have, the easier it is to recruit, but recruiting is tough at any level anywhere you're at because everyone needs good players.
AC: When you first got here you mentioned that, obviously, the south is somewhere you're comfortable and Coach William Small is comfortable. What have you noticed — and this is the first class so it's hard to judge — but what have you noticed initally about recruiting the south and how that might work?
Prohm: Yeah, I don't think you can evaluate it off this class. We'll have a better feel as we go into 2017 to see. They've had some success with some southern kids before, [Marcus] Fizer was just on campus the other day. But we'll have a better feel in 2017 when we've had a year, year-and-a-half to build relationships with these kids to see if we can get some southern kids up here. I'd love to get a couple, but I think we've got to understand that we've got to do a great job in the surrounding 5-, 6-hour radius and then continue to hit the junior colleges hard and the transfers hard.
AC: Then as far as recruiting in general goes, do you feel good about the depth you've built? Obviously what you lose this year, you lose a lot of different things.
Prohm: We lose a bunch. We could lose Monte, you never know with him [yet]. I think recruiting is off to a good start, can't really talk about it too much, but recruiting is off to a good start and hopefully maybe we can pick a mid-year guy and then eventually get a couple more in the spring and I think we'd be off to a really good start.