Media Day quick hits

Chris Wolff

The ISU men’s basketball team unofficially kicked off the 2015-2016 season Tuesday afternoon with their annual Media Day, and it couldn’t have come soon enough for the Cyclones.

After an early exit in the first round of the NCAA tournament against UAB last year, ISU players have been chomping at the bit to get back out on the court. Here are the top stories out of media day:

1. Coaching Change and high expectations

First and foremost, Iowa State addressed the elephant in the room. Fred Hoiberg has left for the NBA and Steve Prohm has replaced him as the head coach.

After the recent string of successful seasons Hoiberg and company put together, some may be concerned that a new coach might derail that. A new coach implementing a new system might not mesh well with guys who are used to Hoiberg’s system. Fortunately for the Cyclones, that shouldn’t be much of a  problem.

“You can’t have a huge ego to walk into this situation and think you know everything or you know how things need to be done,” Prohm said.

“A lot of the core is going to be what these guys have had success with and felt comfortable with and then a tweak here and a tweak there. I’m not going to come in and change everything.”

Hoiberg may be gone, but the sky-high expectations have remained in Ames. With a senior class of Georges Niang, Jameel McKay, Abdel Nader and Naz Long — accompanied by junior Monté Morris — whispers of reaching Final Four have already begun.

Coach Prohm and his players aren’t backing down from the expectations either.

“Yeah, they’re realistic,” Prohm said. “I think we got the opportunity to have a special, special team, a special season and a special year. But that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s still going to be a journey, it’s still going to be a process.”

2. Injury update

Both Naz Mitrou-Long and Hallice Cooke underwent surgery in the offseason for hip injuries. Prohm said that Hallice Cooke is “full go” and has not missed a day of practice yet.

Prohm classified Mitrou-Long as “hit and miss” and said he is essentially practicing every other day this week. Prohm said he thinks Mitrou-Long will be ready when the first game of the season rolls around.

3. The X-Factor

Nader was receiving plenty of love on media day from coaches and teammates alike.

“He’s probably the most consistent guy we’ve had since I got here,” Prohm said.

“He’s the guy that when you talk about All-Big 12 or you talk about NBA or All-League or the pictures, all the fanfare stuff, he’s kind of the one guy everybody forgets about, but I think he’s a huge, huge piece to this team.”

When asked if Nader was likely to be a starter, Prohm said the starting lineup is still up in the air, but he conceded that Nader likely had an inside track to a starting position.