Who will fill the assistant coach role?
It’s now nearing five weeks since Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzelberger departed for South Dakota State, and Steve Prohm remains on the search to fill the void.
In reality, that search may be all but completed, but no official announcement has been made. That decision, Prohm said, could be made public within the next week and almost certainly will be announced no later than the end of May.
“Not a secret,” Prohm said Monday during a stop on the Tailgate Tour in Carroll. “I’ve talked to Neill [Berry] a lot and so hopefully something official by June 1.”
That reference to Berry, who spent last season as Special Assistant to the Head Coach, came unprompted, though not without rampant speculation. Several Iowa State recruiting targets have told AllCyclones.com that Berry has been their lead recruiter since the onset of the spring evaluation period last month.
Berry’s first assistant coach duties came at Western Kentucky in 2007-08. He has also been an assistant at South Carolina in 2009-10, when the Gamecocks had the 17th-ranked recruiting class on Scout.
“There’s no hang-up at all. It’s just the business side. You’ve got to look at a lot of different factors,” Prohm said of the current timeline. “But at the end of the day, I talked to Neill when we got here if I had an opportunity, if somebody left, to move him up, I’d probably do that. That’s what I’m leaning toward.”
Filling the final remaining scholarship
With Iowa State’s 2016-17 roster mostly settled, the Cyclones can turn their attention in the coming weeks to determining how to fill the final opening.
Iowa State has now filled 12 of its 13 scholarships after announcing the addition of graduate transfers Darrell Bowie and Merrill Holden last week while simultaneously recently learning the fate of Emmanuel Malou (NBA) and Brady Ernst (transferring). What direction might Iowa State go with the final spot?
“I don’t want to just sign somebody tomorrow just to fill the scholarship if it’s not somebody that can help us reach our goals where we want to be not just for next year but in the future,” Prohm said. “The perfect scenario would be if we can sign a sit-out guy. I don’t care what position, just the best player we can get that can impact our program the following year. If we can’t get there, if there was a high school kid we think has a great upside, someone that can come in and be a great four-year guy for us, that’s another option. Or you just sit on the scholarship.
“We’ve got 12 guys [and are] excited about those 12 guys, very excited to where you’re not playing 13 guys anyway. I know that leaves for a big senior class, but again, you’re not playing with 12-13 guys most of the time.”
Iowa State will be much deeper in 2016-17 than it was in 2015-16, making another immediate-impact player less useful. Thus, Prohm and Co. are in no hurry to quickly reach a decision on that final spot.
“We’ve got 12 guys. I’m excited about those 12,” Prohm said. “We’ve got four returning guys that are right at double figure scorers or better in the league, we’ve got two fifth-year guys coming in, I like our other group that we’ve got, our other junior college and high school guys coming in, so if it just ends up being that 12, I’m excited about those 12. If there’s a 13th guy that becomes available — I heard someone say the other day, it’s almost early for transfers, there may be a lot more good transfers pop up in the next month. We’ve got a lot of time [and] we’re weighing a lot of options.”
Leftovers: Summer league, 2017 class and Lard
- Whether 2016 signee Cameron Lard will make it to Iowa State has been in question since he committed to Iowa State last fall. Since he put ink to paper this spring and was officially announced, things have trended in a positive direction. Now, it appears that Lard will more than likely be in an Iowa State uniform this fall whether he arrives next month or in July. “Whether he’s here for first session of summer school or not, that doesn’t have any bearing on anything,” Prohm said. “He finishes up I think May 28 and then if he does a summer session [then] he does a summer session and our plans are for him to be here in July.”
- All signs point to the majority of Iowa State’s roster playing in the Cap City League this summer in Des Moines. Iowa State JUCO point guard signee said on the Cyclone Scoop this week that he likely won’t, but all other returners and incoming players appear likely to take part. “I think the majority of them will play,” Prohm said. “I think Naz will play. I haven’t sat down and really dove into it. Whether they play twice a week, three times a week, once a week I don’t really know. But I think the majority of them will play.”
- The Iowa State staff will be busy in the months ahead filling a large 2017 class that will have at least six openings. Prohm provided some insight Monday as to how he’d like to see that class come together. “If you looked at my board, and I don’t have a million things up there, I just have the main things you need, is we’ve got six guys,” Prohm said. “I’d like to sign a couple high school kids early if we can — two perimeter, one post early — and then maybe two junior college guys fit in and that sixth scholarship is kind of a wild card for a fifth-year, for a transfer, something like that based on what we need.”