Six quick hits from men’s basketball Media Day

Head Coach Steve Prohm speaks on his ideas to further the success of Iowa State Men’s Basketball for the 2015-2016 season at Media Day Oct.6.

Chris Wolff

The ISU men’s basketball team unofficially kicked off the 2015-16 season Tuesday afternoon with its 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 champing at the bit to get back out on the court. Here are the top stories from media day:

1. Coaching change

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.

Some people may be concerned that a new coach might derail the recent string of successful seasons Hoiberg and company put together. 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.”

2. Great Expectations 

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 the 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.”

3. Revenge 

The Cyclones had great expectations last season, before UAB sent them packing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which the Cyclones haven’t been able to forget. Monté Morris said that loss haunts him every day.

A chance for revenge may exist, however. UAB and Iowa State will both be in Emerald Coast Classic and could potentially meet up.

“Lets hope,” McKay said about the possibilities of a rematch.

4. Injury update 

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

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.

5. 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 said Nader likely had an inside track to a starting position.

6. Morris scoring more

Monté Morris has developed into one of the best point guards in the nation, but Prohm would like to see a little more offensive production out of him. Morris, a pass-first point guard, differs from former Prohm point guard Cameron Payne, who was more of a scorer.

“I’m a little more aggressive,” Morris said. “Taking more chances, more shots.”

He was a little hesitant about the offensive numbers Prohm hopes for him to have.

“I’m going to score a little bit more,” Morris said. “[Coach Prohm] wants me to average like 13-14 [points] and eight [assists]. I feel like that’s being a little [too] aggressive.”