Rohlfing: Kansas City media day highlights leave food for thought


Caitlin Yamada/ Iowa State Daily

Head Coach Steve Prohm speaks at men’s basketball media day Oct. 16. 

Noah Rohlfing

Big 12 media day is the dawning of the college basketball season for Iowa State fans and Midwestern basketball fans in general (non-Big Ten division). This is my second-straight trip to Kansas City’s Sprint Center, and while it was pretty sleepy this year for the most part, there were a few small things at Wednesday’s event that caught my attention. 

Prohm to propel Cyclone offense

Iowa State knows it’s not fancied to do much in the Big 12 this season. Picked seventh and with four of its top six scorers gone, the Cyclones will not be as dynamic offensively as they were at times in 2018-19. The Cyclones shot poorly in a recent scrimmage against Big Ten opponent Minnesota, although by all accounts the defense was strong. 

Coach Steve Prohm said Wednesday the Cyclones have to find a go-to scorer late in games, and shot selection is something the team still needs to work on.

“The biggest thing was, half of them were good looks and half of them weren’t good looks,” Prohm said. “On the ones that are not good looks, we’ve got to make the extra pass or we’ve got to have continuous ball reversal.”

The offensive woes the Cyclones had against the Golden Gophers might not show in full during the regular season, but the development of the offense is going to be interesting to follow — especially given Prohm’s stated commitment to pushing the pace. Watch for Zion Griffin to make some big plays running the floor in transition.

Michael Jacobson’s offensive role is intriguing. He’ll play both front court positions depending on the situation, which could leave the senior caught in two minds. Jacobson said he’s trying not to fall in love with the outside shot.

“I’m not worried about it; I think it’ll play itself out,” Jacobson said. “It’s all depending on matchups and how they guard us.”

NCAA makes rule changes

The rules session was easily the most interesting part of the morning. Big 12 coordinator of men’s basketball officials Curtis Shaw held a mid-morning breakdown of the NCAA rule changes taking affect in 2019-20. The conference wants to push back against the rise of the flop in basketball — which is nice in theory, but I struggle to see how rules strictly against flopping (which include a dead-ball technical) will really be enforced.

Baylor guard Devonte Bandoo said Wednesday he would have to keep an eye on his motion when he feels he’s getting fouled, as the conference will crack down on “head bob” motions that exaggerate contact.

“The only thing I have trouble with is the head bob, I do that sometimes,” Bandoo said. “[In practice] every time coach [Scott Drew] sees me do it, it’s an automatic turnover.”

It’s an interesting rule change, but far more interesting to me is the conference’s attempt to curtail traveling.

Shaw said referees will be held accountable if travels continue to be missed at the current rate.

“Traveling has been our worst call in college basketball the last five or six years,” Shaw said. “We’re terrible at it.”

Tell us something we didn’t already know.

Traveling is so bad in college basketball it would have been awful if the officials didn’t change up their strategy for catching it. If they can enforce it in a game regularly, that would make me one happy reporter.

Solomon speaks on athlete bill

Iowa State forward Solomon Young had an interesting answer when asked about the Name, Image and Likeness bill passed in California recently. The redshirt junior was fully in favor of the bill, which would allow student-athletes in the state to profit off of their image.

“I think a lot of players can benefit from this,” Young said. “I think the NCAA makes millions off of us, and I feel like it would be fair for us to use that to our benefit.”

Interesting comments from a player with a story of perseverance and overcoming hardships — he has a lot of perspective. 

How this situation plays out with multiple states putting forward similar bills will be fascinating to see.

Kansas coach responds to Adidas question

Shockingly, Kansas coach Bill Self was asked about the ongoing NCAA investigation into the Kansas program’s relationship with Adidas (specifically former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola) and whether the school provided impermissible benefits to players.

You’ll be surprised to hear he wasn’t relatively thrilled about it. But, he did express confidence in keeping his job with the Jayhawks ahead of his 17th year with the program. 

“I know that our chancellor and our athletic director, the basketball program, are totally aligned in this,” Self said. “There’s been a lot of people [who] say certain things, which anybody is entitled to opinion. Certainly you can’t be angry or bitter because people are writing and commenting on this.”