Preseason top-10 ranking, back-to-back Big 12 Tournament champions, one of the best senior classes in Iowa State history, multiple All-Americans, potential Cousy and Wooden Award winners, new coach and staff, and a chance to dethrone the blue Kansas team’s run of regular season championships. I bet you’re all soooooo excited for this upcoming basketball season, right?!
Who cares? What you really want to know is what comes after this dream, don't you? What happens when reality sets in and Prohm looks to build on the recent successes left behind by the deamiest of the dreamy? Let’s talk about the plan for 2016 and beyond.
Roster Building: If you didn’t listen to every game of the Fred Hoiberg era on mute, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the term "positionless basketball." The whole basketball world seems to be moving this direction, and while Prohm’s recent teams haven’t had a Royce White or Georges Niang type to handle "point forward" responsibilities, I think we can expect a similar roster build to what we've become accustomed to in recent years. So what does this mean? Absolutely nothing.
It’s just my logic that takes me to the following conclusion. Each roster of 13 schollies ideally amounts to seven guys capable of playing a guard role, seven guys capable of playing a forward role and three guys capable of playing a center role. Now, before you tell me "you just said it was positionless basketball," you’re right. But when I say playing those roles, I essentially mean guarding their positional counterparts.
What it means for 2016: I’m going to base this breakdown under the premise that Monté Morris leads us to a national championship and goes to the NBA, and since we have no news on Georgios yet, I'm going to assume that he’s off leading the Greek Basket League in scoring. This leaves us with the following with our seven used scholarships:
Guards: Thomas, Cooke, Noskowiak, Weiler-Babb (4/7)
Forwards: Thomas, Burton, Carter, Weiler-Babb, Ernst (5/7)
Centers: Carter, Ernst (2/3)
So, I would expect to see four schollies used on G/SF type guys and 2 on F/C types. Prohm knows that great guard play wins in March, and it’s a lot easier to dictate style of play with elite guards. Big men can be recruited more so to match style than anything, so expect a priority on quality guard play throughout the recruiting process. I’m not breaking any news here, and we’re quite a ways out, but here’s four potential and realistic guards to fill our four theoretical vacancies.
PG Xavier Simpson (5'11", 165 lbs.)
247 Rankings: Overall #77; PG #14 Twitter: @Xaviersimpson3
Simpson would really be a good cornerstone for this class whether Monté stays or goes. He's a tad undersized, but the Big XII is no stranger to successful minis (ahem, Phil Forte…). First word that comes to mind when watching his tape is efficient. He’s got a pretty quick and high release, which is important given his size, and he makes the right plays in transition. He’s not the flashiest point guard, and I wouldn’t call him a Big 12 game changer yet, but he seems like a great match for Prohm and someone he'd love to run the offense and develop for four years.
PG Donovan Jackson (6'1")
247 Rankings: Unavailable (Junior College) Twitter: @Pursuing_Dreams
Could be an either/or situation with Simpson, but the Clones could definitely use both, especially if Morris bolts for the League. Jackson brings the experience of playing for one of the best programs at the JUCO level, and could fit right in to continue Iowa State’s great run of point guard play. More of a slasher than Simpson, the lefty has the ability to finish with either hand around the rim and can knock down the open shot if given a window.
SG Amir Coffey (6'7", 180 lbs.)
247 Rankings: Overall #35; SG #6 Twitter: @coffeyshop_
It's an uphill battle to get him to Ames, but not impossible. Coming off an ACL tear, the talented 6-foot-7 wing has recently returned to the court and could give Iowa State that long, athletic, wing that can play multiple positions. The Gophers appear to be the frontrunner for the Minnesotan, but the fact that he’s still mentioning Iowa State in the recruiting game is Prohmising (see what I did there?). Watching his tape, I think of a young, left-handed Will Clyburn. Not saying he’s the next Will, but he’s got that type of game. Wouldn’t it be weird if we had Coffey, Jackson and Burton (three lefties) all out on the floor at the same time? Cripes.
PF Jeriah Horne (6'7", 210 lbs.)
247 Rankings: Unavailable Twitter: @JeriahHorne1
Iowa State are underdogs in the recruitment, but if K-State continues to K-State themselves, there’s a chance to convert Jeriah to Cyclone Nation. Yes, he’s more of a "forward", but I could see him in a flex 3-4 role similar to how we might use Burton this year. He could really use his size to disrupt some of the other guards in the league defensively. I see a lot of Dustin Hogue in his game, without the ridiculous hops and roundhouse kicks to the chest. Physically, he looks Big XII ready. He’s a fighter down low for his size and he gets you those hustle and garbage buckets. Not the flashiest recruit on the board, but it seems like every one of my favorite Iowa State teams has a dude like this.
Other names to watch: Tyson Carter, Micah Thomas, Willie Jackson
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Summer Sermon on the forwards for the 2016 class if you potentially need another distraction from football season.
Editor's Note: RevDizz is another new writing recruit and will be in charge of men's basketball recruiting going forward. Be sure to give him a warm welcome!