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Basketball

WILLIAMS: So far, so good for Prohm staff on the trail

It’s early, but here’s an official Cyclone Fanatic tip of the cap to Steve Prohm’s coaching staff for its recent efforts on the recruiting trail.

Combine the timing of Fred Hoiberg’s departure and the unusually high number (six) of scholarships to fill in its 2016 class, this group was up against it if you know what I mean. 

It all began with Daniyal Robinson reeling in a July Christmas gift, Simeon Carter, to provide immediate depth in the frontcourt for the 2015-16 squad. 

Over the last three days, “Ole Reliable,” T.J. Otzelberger, has acquired two important pieces to that class, beginning with perhaps the most important piece of them all – a potential replacement for Monte Morris at the point guard position. Donovan Jackson, one of the top JUCO’s in America, chose Iowa State over Virginia Tech, Memphis, Illinois and Mississippi to name a few.

On Monday, another Otzelberger prize, forward Solomon Young made his pledge to the Cyclones.

Now, the key question, as Iowa State has one point guard committed and is still intently going after another in Xavier Simpson… 

Will Monte Morris be going pro after his junior season?

Here’s how I look at it. While he very well might not be ready, put yourself in Monte’s shoes. You’re not getting any younger and the 2016-17 roster is without question going to be a shell of what Iowa State rolls out onto Hilton Coliseum in 2015-16.

In a hypothetical situation, let’s say that Morris isn’t a sure-thing Lottery pick after this upcoming season (which is also my guess as to how this will go down). He will in essence be in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of situation. I’d say it’s 50-50 deal and because of that (and also knowing that Nick Noskowiak is no longer with the program), having the insurance policy of quality JUCO makes a ton of sense. You don’t bring in JUCO point guard to develop, you bring him in to play.

As for the commitment of Solomon Young, here’s what I’ve gathered. Young is a dirty work type of guy – a lot like Melvin Ejim was when he first got to Iowa State. I’d also compare him to Dustin Hogue, who for the most part worked harder than others on the floor. Generally, this blueprint of a player translates to a guy who can compete in the Big 12 as a freshman (which Iowa State will need). That freshman learning curve usually occurs because of a lack of toughness, which I don’t think Young has.

Up next? 

Xavier Simpson has received a lot of press and he’s a fine player, but I’m anxious to see what happens between Iowa State and perhaps the top JUCO player in America, Emmanuel Malou. 

At this point, I’m interested in Iowa State not taking too large of a step back after next season. Of all the guys on the board, Malou is the No. 1 instant impact guy I can see Iowa State adding to its 2016 class at this time. He’s the one I’m zeroed in on.