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Basketball

Prohm notches first commitment as Iowa State coach

Steve Prohm has landed his first commitment as the head basketball coach at Iowa State.

On Thursday afternoon, Brady Ernst, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward out of Clinton, Iowa told CycloneFanatic.com that he has verbally committed to the Cyclones.

Ernst tore the ACL in his right knee on Feb. 25, which greatly hindered his recruiting process. According to Rivals.com, he held offers from Drake, Northern Iowa, Lehigh, San Diego, South Dakota and others before the injury. 

“It was tough going down in the first playoff game, right before the half," Ernst said. "We were looking to hopefully make the state tournament with a good team. I had waited so long for the recruiting process and they were some low times for sure. I’m just thankful for this opportunity that Coach Prohm has given me at Iowa State. I can’t express that enough.”

Ernst will provide something that Iowa State desperately needs right now, depth in the frontcourt. Even if he isn’t immediately a Big 12 contributor, Ernst can help on the scout team and develop himself into a Big 12 player in the future.

Ernst visited Iowa State and met Steve Prohm last Friday before committing this morning. 

“I obviously have the knee issue but he (Steve Prohm) isn’t worried about it," Ernst said. "I’ve been talking with the trainer and stuff. They just got done with my last physical therapy session and it couldn’t have gone any better. The knee looks really good and I’ll hopefully get some minutes this year on the front line.”

Ernst will start summer school in Ames on July 13 and plans to be 100 percent when practice begins this fall. 

Adding another frontcourt player is especially important for Iowa State with the lingering question if Giorgos Tsalmpouris will return to the program after spending the summer in Greece. 

After the Ernst commitment, Iowa State now has one free scholarship to use for the 2015-16 season. That number will grow to two if Tsalmpouris does not return to the team. 

Before the injury, Ernst was averaging 16.7 points and 12 rebounds per game. He is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at Clinton. 

“It’s a dream come true," Ernst said. "I have always wanted to play at the highest level. That was my goal from day one. Ever since I started receiving college interest, I was waiting for that big school to come and pull the trigger. It finally happened and it’s crazy.”

Iowa State assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger served as Ernst’s primary recruiter.