AMES —Matt Thomas has a new role within the Iowa State basketball program.
Thomas snagged a career-high 11 boards in Monday night’s 106-64 pounding of Chicago State and five in a season opening victory over Colorado.
“For us to be a complete defensive team, we have to rebound,” Steve Prohm said. “Matt has the size at 6-4 to rebound down. We need all of those guys to get in there and help us. We did that against Colorado collectively. I thought that for Matt, that’s a role that he can play for us kind of as our sixth-man. He can make shots and bring some toughness.”
Thomas scored nine points to go with his double-digit rebounding effort in Monday’s win.
It’s no longer a question.
Brady Ernst will not redshirt for the Cyclones this season. Prohm made the decision when he put Ernst in the game late against Chicago State.
Down the road, Iowa State will need bodies and Prohm thinks Ernst could provide that later this season.
“We are looking down the road to the Big 12 where we are going to need some bodies,” Prohm said. “Right away, the first game we played a physical team in Colorado and with 10 minutes left in the first half, we were in foul trouble. We went zone but we might have to use that body because he is our next true big man around the basket. I think we saw some good things from him tonight in the little bit that he played. We are all in and he is all in. Now we are moving forward.”
Ernst scored two points and collected two rebounds in eight minutes during his Cyclone debut.
More from Prohm
What has Steve Prohm learned most about his team through the first two games of the season?
SP: "We won’t be perfect right now, I think I’ve learned that because we’re still learning each other from a game standpoint. I thought we were put into some situations where we were tested during the Colorado game. I thought that we really passed those tests from attitudes to execution to finishing. It was a game where we kind of knew we were going to win it but we just kind of stayed and it was the same thing tonight. I know we have a talented team. I think we are just going to get better from November to December, January and February. We’ll get a better feel for one another. We are at a good place now but need to continue to grow each day.”
What specifically does Prohm want to work on from now until Iowa State’s next game that will take place next Monday against Chattanooga?
SP: "We have just kind of relied a lot right now on talent but just playing and playing free. Now we have to refine some things and put a little bit more stuff in and fine-tune some things so everybody kind of knows it in and out. Now we are about to run through a run of games with Chattanooga, Virginia Tech, the tournament. I’m glad that it is set like this so we can get in there and add some things and continue to get better on the defensive end. Transition defense is something we are going to do every day. Running is another key.”