Belinson: Steve Prohm’s lineup will need time to fill out, so be patient

Steve Prohm sits courtside against Texas on Feb. 15.

Matt Belinson

Iowa State men’s basketball is in limbo as it approaches the start of the 2020-21 basketball season.

Head Coach Steve Prohm’s lineup has some proven commodities like Rasir Bolton, Solomon Young and George Conditt, but this year the amount of unproven commodities outweighs the proven by a wide margin.

There are still a lot of questions about the overall talent on the roster and what roles players will have on the floor, so it’d be easy to be pessimistic when evaluating this roster and giving an outlook on how the season will go.

But as crazy as it might sound, unknown potential could be the key for Iowa State to find its way back into competitiveness in the Big 12.

It may be a tough ask, but patience is going to be key when watching this year’s Cyclones.

At men’s basketball media day Thursday, Prohm said he liked the idea of playing small ball this year, but like many other potential plans for the team this year, the idea of small ball could change given the players on the roster. 

“I think that’s our mindset right now,” Prohm said.

The words “right now” are key because while the roster has plenty of players around 6-foot-5 or shorter, things could change in an instant for a roster with more players being integrated into the system compared to most other years. 

And with the roster having scorers like Bolton, Young, Jalen Coleman-Lands or Tyler Harris, shuffling players in and out of positions and lineups is going to happen more than people might be ready for.

It’s going to take time to find an identity and know who the key players will be. On paper, the big scorers may seem like Bolton, Conditt, Young or Coleman-Lands, but with young freshmen making an impact in practice for the coaching staff, young faces might have to take over those roles.

Prohm views the 2020-21 roster with less easy to identify scorers than previous years, even throwing out scoring averages across the board might take a dip based on the expected lineup shift early on.

For Prohm, even the scoring averages for his players could be much lower than what Iowa State had last year.

“I don’t foresee it as 18 (points per game), 15 (points per game), 12 (points per game), it could be a lot of 10, 9, 11,” Prohm said.

So as the season gets closer and roles are filled in, keep in mind Iowa State has more options to choose from than ever before. The key to this season will be if Prohm and his staff can find the best fit to win.

Patience will have to be key.