NOTEBOOK: Steve Prohm talks CyHawk rivalry, injuries, physicality of young roster

Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm speaks with his team during a timeout against Western Illinois.

Brian Mozey

After a quick 12 hours after Iowa State defeated Northern Illinois 94-80 on Monday night, coach Steve Prohm came back to the podium for his weekly press conference.

The main focus for Prohm and his team is the Iowa Hawkeyes. The CyHawk rivalry game comes back to Hilton Coliseum this season as tip-off will happen at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Hawkeyes lead the series 44-26, but Iowa State has won six of the last eight meetings between the two.

With a young set of players for the Cyclones, Prohm had a few topics to cover for one of the biggest non-conference games this season.


When Iowa State had its media day on Oct. 17, Prohm told the media that this team was going to be different. Last season, Prohm had experience and chemistry that led to a 3-point shooting team with Monte Morris, Deonte Burton, Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long.

This season the focus was on getting into the paint and making the easier shots inside. The Cyclones have more post players than last season with Cameron Lard, Solomon Young, Hans Brase and Jeff Beverly.

Iowa State is going to be facing a tall and lengthy Iowa team on Thursday. The Hawkeyes have 10 players on their 16-man roster that stand at 6-foot-7 or taller. That can be a problem for a Cyclones team that has only four 6-foot-7 or taller players that can play this season.

“[Iowa] has good presence around the basketball,” Prohm said. “We got to get back in transition and get ready to defend them early.”

Iowa State needs healthy players

Iowa State came into the season with only 10 players able to play. In the beginning, the team faced some challenges when Zoran Talley Jr., Cameron Lard and Terrence Lewis sat out because of a coach’s decision.

Then, on top of them sitting out, Brase wasn’t 100 percent yet coming off the ACL injury. That meant Iowa State was playing with seven or eight players each game to start the season and that led to an 0-2 start.

After the first two regular season games, every player was back on the roster and ready to play at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. That depth and versatility helped Iowa State win the tournament.

Now, the Cyclones are facing more injuries once again resulting in Prohm only being able to play eight players in the Northern Illinois game last night. He was getting worried when Lindell Wigginton and Donovan Jackson had foul trouble earlier on in the game because Prohm didn’t have much of a bench to replace the two.

“It’s hard doing certain drills in practice because you only have eight guys to work with,” Prohm said.

Talley Jr. and Jakolby Long were the two players out in last night’s game. Long has been dealing with concussion symptoms for the last couple of weeks. He was hit in the head during practice over Thanksgiving break and hasn’t been able to play a full practice yet without having concussion symptoms.

Talley Jr. injured his foot during the Western Illinois game on Nov. 25. He tried to practice on Monday of last week and told Prohm that he experienced a lot of pain. Talley Jr. will have a MRI on his foot later today that will let him know his status for Iowa.

Prohm said both of them are questionable for the Iowa game, but he has to see improvement before allowing them back on the court.

Practice and games are different for Steve Prohm

Prohm has many new faces on this team’s roster, which means he’s teaching new players his mindset of Iowa State basketball.

Last season, Prohm had a lot of veterans on the team that knew the small details and had played together for at least a year and maybe two. That allowed Prohm to focus on fine-tuning a few plays or certain individuals.

This season, he can’t focus on those because his attention goes towards cleaning up bigger obstacles. Prohm did say that practices are continuing to progress and not only are the individuals getting better, but the entire team is building better chemistry.

“I’m not a screamer. I always want to represent what I am all the time,” Prohm said. “But, these guys have pushed my buttons a little bit, more than I would like, but I’ve got to challenge them every day.”