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Arguing with Myself: Is Steve Prohm a Good Coach?

I ask the most intelligent person I know (myself) If Steve Prohm is a good coach

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

As the Iowa State basketball season crawls forward towards yet more pain and suffering this year, social media has been ablaze with takes, both hot and cold, regarding the program’s direction under Steve Prohm. Through the peaks and valleys of the last 3 years, we’ve experienced a full range of what Coach Prohm has to offer, whether it’s the talented recruits, or the questionable mid-game decisions, it’s been a mixed bag, to say the least. So I decided to capture a conversation I had with myself as I watched the Clones get shoved into a coal mine Wednesday night against West Virginia and try and get to the bottom of the following question:

Is Steve Prohm a good coach?

Anti-Steve Sean (Ass): So, uhhhh, it may be time to talk about Coach Prohm.

Sean: Not until the season is over.

Ass: Dude, we just lost by 15 and somehow that score seems closer than game really was.

Sean: West Virginia is the 7th best team in the country, according to KenPom. It’s fine. Plenty of more talented Iowa State teams have lost to worse West Virginia teams.

Ass: Were those teams also 9-13 at the time and limping towards a season finish that would make Greg McDermott blush?

Sean: Stop it. Even Fred went 16-16.

Ass: Yeah in his first year! You really want to talk about Fred vs. Steve? Really?

Ass: Listen, any success that Prohm has had has been due to previous circumstance set up by Fred. The man left Prohm with an absolute War Chest of talent.

Sean: Oh you mean like Lindell Wigginton or Talen Horton Tucker or Tyrese Haliburton? Those guys? The same group that won a Big 12 Championship?

Ass: I’m obviously referring to Georges, Naz, Matt Thomas, and Monte. Stop it.

Sean: So Prohm should be penalized because he took those guys to the Sweet Sixteen and then won a Big 12 Championship? Maybe if he lost to UAB he’d get more respect.

Ass: Whoa


Ass: Let’s stop with the Fred stuff. The question is if Prohm is the right guy to continue to lead this program. He is not.

Sean: He absolutely is! The guy runs a clean program, wants to be in Ames, has recruited an insane amount of talent, and uses sensible lip balm practices.

Ass: Can’t argue with the chapstick logic, but he runs a clean program? Next you’re gonna say he recruits the “right way” (Trademark of McCaffrey Corp, LLC).

Sean: Fair enough. Let’s just use the eye test here for a second: Coach Prohm has recruited several NBA guys to a small town in the middle of Iowa AND recently picked up the number 1 recruit in the state of Iowa BECAUSE he’s known for putting guys in the league. Say what you want about anyone else, the guy recruits at a high level.

Ass: If he recruits at such a high level what’s going on with this year? That’s a ton of “talent” out there bricking 3’s.

Sean: First of all, the 3 point arc moved back this year, so most players are taking a hit. Second of all, you think Prohm honestly thought that 4 of his top 5 guys would leave after last year? There’s no way he could’ve predicted Cam Lard would have the off-the-court issues he had and bolt for a fringe spot in the G League. THT got terrible advice and Lindell was supposed to be a one-and-done guy anyways! You want to penalize a guy for bringing in a group of guys that were so talented they left early? By that reasoning, John Calipari is the worst coach in college basketball. Stop it.

Ass: No, but it’s his job to manage his guys and recruit accordingly. You can’t seriously look me in the eye and tell me a recruiting class made up of Caleb Grill, Tre Jackson, and 2 guys who aren’t even on the team anymore is good enough to compete in the Big 12? Because clearly it isn’t.

Sean: Oh stop. If you want to penalize Prohm for inheriting talent then you have to recognize that Fred screwed him over for the 17-18 season AND Prohm was still able to pull in Wigginton and Cam Lard. He brought in Haliburton and recruited 2 of the best 3 recruits in Iowa State history (Brackins, Wigginton, THT).

Ass: Who knew McDoormat recruited Iowa State’s best prospect ever?

Sean: Like putting whipped cream on manure.

Ass: What?

Sean: The point is that Prohm has shown he can bring in the right guys and put them in the league.

Ass: Fine. The guy is a terrible in-game coach though. How is he constantly a step behind making the right moves? Why the hell does he call timeouts after we stumble into any sort of momentum?

Sean: Momentum isn’t real.

Ass: You don’t believe that. Why did it take him so long to realize that maybe Conditt was a better option to start than Solo? Why did it take him so long to realize that Nixon deserved to be benched? Why doesn’t Terrence Lewis play more?

Sean: At least this team isn’t getting in fights, which, I mean, baby steps, you know?

Ass: That’s not a pro-Prohm sentence!

Sean: You’re not a pro-Prohm sentence.

Ass: *Sigh*

Sean: Listen, Prohm’s team in 2016 owns the highest adjusted offense ranking since 2012. He can put together and manage an elite offense! Last year’s team finished 9th!

Ass: Those were-

Sean: Don’t say it

Ass: -Fred’s guys

Sean: I hate you

Ass: I am you

Sean: I know

Ass: Here’s a blind test for you. First 3 years. Total wins. Guess.

Coach A: 55

Coach B: 62

Coach C: 60

Coach D: 69

Sean: First of all, 69 wins? Nice. Second of all, I’m you, you idiot. A is Wayne Morgan, B is Fred, C is Prohm and D is Floyd. What does this prove, exactly?

Ass: Not a whole lot except that Wayne Morgan was not a good coach.

Sean: Touche. Didn’t want to include McDermott?

Ass: Would’ve been too easy to guess.

Sean: We’re getting off-topic again. Next year Prohm brings in the 20th best recruiting class in the country (via 247) and will have an elite big man in Xavier Foster to build around. If Tyrese stays this is a team that could make some noise in March.

Ass: IF Tyrese stays. What happens if he leaves? Are you comfortable with Tre Jackson running the offense?

Sean: I’m comfortable with Bolton running the offense. Nice try.

Ass: Yeah well I think we’re gonna suck next year.

Sean: We’ll be fine. No matter what you say at least we can agree that this isn’t Your Father’s McDermott program.

Ass: No sir. Thank goodness.