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Basketball

STANZ: Not playing Cameron Lard this season is the right move

Jan 7, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones 4 star recruit Cameron Lard sits on the bench before the game against the Texas Longhorns at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Can we finally give up on the idea of Cameron Lard making an impact for Iowa State this season?

Despite the 6-foot-9 freshman finally making it to Ames on Saturday, Steve Prohm still isn’t really entertaining the idea of playing Lard this season — and that’s the right move.

Would it be nice to add another front court player to the Cyclones’ rotation?

Of course, but thinking will be able to make an immediate impact on this veteran roster is far-fetched. Playing the post in the Big 12 is more than just being on the floor.

It can take weeks, even months, to learn the ins and outs of a collegiate defensive system. He’s never been asked to defend ball-screens to the level he would need to in this league. He’s never had to battle grown men like Baylor’s Johnathan Motley or Texas Tech’s Anthony Livingston.

He’s never played against the Mississippi Valley State’s of the world.

It is unfair expect this kid to be ready right away and face the level of physicality and the speed he would see in the Big 12 with essentially no time for preparation.

“I just can’t see it right now,” Prohm said on Monday. “He’s not even going to get his physical, I don’t even know, they told me last night, maybe, Wednesday, so we’ve got two road games this week. We’ve got Kansas then on Monday to where it just doesn’t seem realistic to me and so it’s not even something I’m thinking about.”

It takes time for players to adjust to what they’ll see at the college level. That’s what the summer and preseason before their freshman season is for. It’s what makes the non-conference schedule so valuable to young players.

Lard hasn’t experienced any of that. He’s spent the past few months playing against high schoolers for his prep school Pro Vision Academy. That’s far from a primer for the grind of the Big 12 schedule.

“I really just want to get him here and get him adjusted to college,” Prohm said. “People have been talking about if he’s going to play, he’s not even going to practice right now. I want him to get some structure and that’s the thing I talked about. Today, he was up at 7:45. He had academic meetings, class. He’ll get his physical sometime this week and then next week we’ll start integrating him into a strength and conditioning program. We will have him start observing practice this week, obviously. I don’t know what part of practice, you know, he’s so far behind it’s hard to just throw him right into five-on-five, so some closeout drills, some shell drills to where he’s learning and then we’ll do individual workouts and then we’ll slowly bring him along to get him into practice.”

People have to remember that this is a kid that struggled to even get into school this year. And some are still asking him to adjust to life on his own, college classes AND immediately jump into playing in one of the best conferences in college basketball?

Please.

Right now the discussion should be about what’s best for Lard as he tries to make a smooth transition to life in Ames and in college. It should be about making sure he is prepared to handle the grind of being a college student.

He will still have four more years to experience life as a college basketball player after redshirting the rest of this season. He will probably be a better player down the road because of it.

“I just want to get him into some structure and get him a day-to-day routine going,” Prohm said. “Get him comfortable before I think about anything else.”

And that’s the right move.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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