AMES — Soon ISU will embark on a flight to Spain, where basketball will merge with bonding and sightseeing with a Mediterranean flair.
It’s good timing. Cyclones coach Steve Prohm’s spirits were already sky-high after Simeon Carter committed to his program yesterday.
“We hit a home run there,” Prohm said. “That was huge.”
CF publisher Chris Williams covered Carter’s commitment in detail yesterday, but Prohm elaborated on the significance of it today at the Sukup Basketball Complex.
Carter, a 6-8 freshman-to-be who will be eligible for the 2015-16 season, planned to play for SMU, but didn’t qualify academically.
“Real thankful to Larry Brown at SMU,” Prohm said. “He worked with us very diligently in the process and likewise with the coaches at West Charlotte (N.C.). … To get Simeon, not only are you getting another guy up front, but you’re getting a very, very talented player and that’s just going to be a freshman, that’s going to be here four years. So excited about him.”
Carter averaged 14.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks his senior season of high school. He held offers from schools in every power-five conference before picking SMU initially and will be looked to provide immediate help in the one area ISU appeared potentially thin in 2015-16: up front.
“I think it all depends game-to-game,” Prohm said when asked to estimate how many minutes Carter would play. “It depends. Is Jameel (McKay) in foul trouble? Is Georges (Niang) in foul trouble? Are we playing a team that’s big? Are we playing a team that’s small? You hope you can play him, you know, 10-20 minutes, but there’s not really anumber you could put on it becuase there’s so many different scenarios.”
Prohm said Carter should be arriving in Ames around the time the Cyclones return from Spain Aug. 20.
“He should be getting back the same day or the day after we get back,” Prohm said. “So we should be getting back at the same time.”
Carter’s commitment also alters recruiting for the Class of 2016 in a big (and good) way.
“When you’re starting to look at 2016, you need four posts, do you need three posts, three frontcourt guys, now you maybe just need three,” Prohm said. “ Maybe you can just try to get one good one early and then maybe sign a junior college kid in the spring. May take a transfer. There’s so many options now that he gives you. This was big.”
ONE LESS TRAVELER: Prohm said freshman point guard Nick Noskowiak will not make the trip. “He’s got to deal with a family situation,” Prohm said. “Still with the team, he just won’t be with us on the trip.”
BREAKING UP BREAKS?: Record-setting point guard Monté Morris warned frequent alley-oop dunk finisher McKay that international play can be rough — especially in transition.
“They don’t like fast break points, so they’ll foul you early,” said Morris, who played in France last June as part of USA Elite Team under-20. “I think the guys, you know, Jameel, is going to be mad.”
McKay’s not so sure.
“We’ll see,” he said.
COACH LONG:Naz Long says he’ll love being in Spain — except for the not playing part. The sharpshooting guard remains on target for a full recovery from double-hip surgery and continues to put up plenty of shots (a.k.a. as many as ISU assistant director of athletic traning Vic Miller will allow) in the gym during the rehab process.
"When it’s all said and done, I want to be a coach, so I’ll get a little taste of that," Long said of his role on the trip. "Run the beaches, get my conditioning going, try not to eat so much."
Oct. 1 remains the date where Long expects to be allowed to take part fully in everything.
"I feel good, I fell really good," he said. "I just pray that it keeps going because it’s not 110 percent until they say it is."
TEAM MOTTO: Morris divulged that the team has adopted the motto: They don’t believe.
Why? Aren’t the Cyclones ranked No. 7 by ESPN in it’s no longer too early preseason top 25?
Exactly, he said.
"I feel like seven is an OK spot, but I feel like there aren’t six teams better than us in the country, especially with what we’ve got returning and what we’re going to show," Morris said.
Niang added some details.
"Oh, it’s just we got a new coach, this that and the other," Niang said. "They’re always looking to doubt us in some way, but that’s fine. I’ve been the underdog for a good portion of my life."