Basketball

MONDAY MUSINGS: On Merrill Holden, Big 12 expansion, CF news

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1 – Steve Prohm doesn’t need another scorer for next year. He needs a brusier. He needs a guy who takes pride in rebounding and blocking some shots.   

It’s damn nice to meet you, Merrill Holden.

“My goal for next year is to be that guy on defense,” an almost giddy Holden told me during a layover on his way home Saturday night. “There isn’t a position that I can’t guard. I want to help block shots, alter shots. I want to be a rebounding guy and get a bucket when they need me. I am very versatile. That’s what I do.”

As a graduate-transfer out of Louisiana Tech, the latest addition to Prohm’s roster seems to know his role. He is all about winning too, which is ultimately why he chose Iowa State, a program looking to make its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament next year. 

For a roster lacking size, physicality and frontcourt players in general, acquiring a “grown man” like Holden (averaged 8.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a junior) is as good of a scenario as Prohm could have drawn up.

2 – On his official visit, one thing stood out to Holden about his future Iowa State teammates.

“The hunger, the desire, the ambition that those guys have – that alone really got my attention,” Holden said. “They all have a huge chip on their shoulder. Those guys are hungry. They want to win and I want to hop on board with them.”

Is it November yet?

3 – One final nugget on Holden: He had promised a close friend that he would not commit to Iowa State on his visit. He lied. Holden told me that the atmosphere around Iowa State’s program was too perfect to pass up. 

4 – Right now, all signs are pointing toward Emmanuel Malou not making it to campus for one reason or another. The details are still fuzzy however based off of what Steve Prohm said last Friday at a Coaches vs. Cancer function in Des Moines, nothing has been ruled out yet. 

5 – However, it does sound like Cameron Lard is probably going to find his way to Ames, which is a major plus for the future of the program.

6 – A quick hit on possible Big 12 expansion: I totally understand the push to do something. I agree with Bob Bowlsby’s take on “if we don’t do something now, we are going to be way behind in 10 years.” 

If the Big 12 is $20 million in revenue (per year) behind the Big Ten and the SEC in 10 years, the Big 12 will no longer exist. This isn’t just a Big 12 problem though as the same can be said about the Pac-12 and the ACC. The difference is the Big 12’s tumultuous history and tradition of playing defense in the “game” of expansion. 

This weekend, the Dallas Morning News reported that BYU, Cincinnati, UConn and Colorado State “are believed” to be the league’s top four expansion candidates.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that adding any combination of those schools will get the Big 12 the place it needs to be in order to survive financially.

My guess is that whatever happens this summer, it won’t be as simple as adding Cincinnati and UConn. I’ll predict that the expansion is larger than that (more teams, different teams, poaching from another league) or that the Big 12 stays at 10 and eventually dies.

As is always the case in realignment, stay tuned.

7 – A major pet peeve of mine that stems from past realignment … when league’s claim the successes of current teams when they played in former conferences. 

Example: Today, ESPN released its top five quarterbacks in Big Ten history. No. 1 on the list is Tommie Frazier, who never played a game in the Big Ten.

Crap like this makes my skin crawl.

8 – If you missed it on Friday, we announced some big news.

As Cyclone Fanatic continues to grow, we need more help. This is why fresh off of his graduation, we are hiring Jared Stansbury to a full-time role starting this summer. Jared has interned with us for the last three years and we have loved his work so much, we decided to create a position for him. 

At the end of the day, our site has grown four to five times since new ownership took over back in 2009. Fan interest in Iowa State athletics has never been higher.

Jared’s primary role will be to thoroughly cover recruiting, something that we have never really had the resources to do in the past. He will be vital in our day-to-day coverage of Iowa State football and basketball too.

No worries: Rob Gray will still be around, but in a different role (I will write a separate column detailing CF’s new look later in the week). 

As always, thanks to you guys for continuing to support the site. We wouldn’t grow if it weren’t for our loyal users, who in return allow us to sell advertising.

Personally, I would like to thank the site’s owners (Jason Loutsch, Matt and Brian Lazear) for allowing us to grow. Having bosses who rarely say “no” is key to growing a business and when it comes to that, these guys are the best. 

Chris Williams

administrator

Chris was hired as Cyclone Fanatic’s publisher in the fall of 2009. He is Iowa State football's postgame show host on the Cyclone Radio Network and can be heard daily from 4-7 on Des Moines' top-rated sports station, 1460 KXnO. Williams, a 2007 graduate of Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism, is the former publisher of the old CycloneNation.com (Scout.com). He has also written for the Des Moines Register, the Ames Tribune, CycloneReport.com and is the former sports director at KMA Radio. When Williams isn’t working, you can usually find him doing something outdoors with his wife Ashley, daughter Camryn, and Golden Retriever Dierks. He enjoys golfing, boating, country music, the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Braves and is passionate about any and all motor sports so finding Williams at a local dirt track is very common.