Basketball

WILLIAMS: Prohm proves that old school still works on the trail

Mar 17, 2016; Denver , CO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm in the closing seconds of Iowa State vs Iona in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On the day he was hired at Iowa State, I asked Steve Prohm about his plan for being able to recruit at the high-major players at a place that traditionally is difficult to recruit to. “I’ll get players,” a confident but still very reserved Prohm said with his southern drawl.

Coach wasn’t kidding around.

Friday morning’s news of top-50 point guard Lindell Wigginton is huge on so many levels.

There are the recruiting rankings (Wigginton is the highest-ranked player to ever commit to Iowa State in the rankings era. Meanwhile Iowa State now has a top-15 class.), which are awesome.

The biggest thing to be impressed by right now is the Prohm staff’s inability to strike out. In the 2017 class (minus KeyShawn Feazell who recently swapped his commitment to Mississippi State), every “top target” this staff has zeroed in on, it has gotten. Prohm is batting 1.000 in a world where .333 is really damn good.

How is he doing it?

While I’m not able to follow Steve Prohm around and chronicle every move of his on the trail, I do know him well enough to guess as to how the 2017 class has ended up where it is today.

The thing that’s important to know about Prohm is that there isn’t a lot of flash there. He is as wholesome of a coach as I have ever covered.

Recruiting is all about relationships and Prohm’s approach to this is actually pretty simple:

Look a person in the eye.

Shake their hand.

Tell the truth.

Moms and dads love that and if you spend 10 minutes with Steve Prohm, you will very quickly learn he is as genuine as they come. It’s also worth noting that assistant coach Neill Berry, who headed up Iowa State’s commitment of Wigginton, is essentially Prohm Jr. in my book. All class, all the time. And he too has the southern drawl.

There are a certain number of top-100 kids that are into flashy things like shoes, AAU connections and false NBA promises. Those guys might not be the best fits at Iowa State these days.

But Prohm’s staff has refreshingly proven that the old school approach still very much works in the year 2016 and with that, this was a big day for the future of Iowa State basketball.