Basketball

STANZ: What does Cam Lard’s transfer mean for Iowa State?

Dec 7, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Cameron Lard (2) dunks against the Iowa Hawkeyes at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes 84 to 78. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

News that has felt somewhat inevitable for several months is now official.

Redshirt sophomore center Cameron Lard is moving on from Iowa State basketball. The program announced the 6-foot-9 big man’s intention’s to transfer to a new school on Tuesday.

Lard cited a desire for a fresh start when he met with reporters shortly after the news came down. It is sounding as though the decision could have been somewhat mutual on the part of the school and Lard.

Here’s what I think Lard’s transfer means for Iowa State moving forward.

*** First of all, I’d like to say a few things about Lard.

There is no doubt few players on Iowa State’s roster in 2018-19 had potential as vast as Lard. When he was playing at his best, the Louisiana native could be viewed as one of the best young big men in the country.

He has future NBA abilities.

Unfortunately, we saw the wrong side of Cameron Lard a bit too often to feel confident that potential would ever be fulfilled in Ames. His inconsistency made it hard to keep him cemented heavily in the rotation. It never took more than a few minutes this season to know if the team was getting “Good Cam” or “Bad Cam” in a given game.

His last dance as a Cyclone, a 12-point, six-rebound, one-assist and one-block performance in the season-ending loss to Ohio State last Friday, may go down as his best performance in Cardinal and Gold. He was engaged, active, physical and energetic.

If he’s able to channel that sort of performance on a consistent basis, Cam Lard will have a great deal of success no matter where he chooses to continue his college career. We should all wish him the best.

*** Part of what makes this development so disappointing is the amount of time and energy Steve Prohm put into helping Lard become not only a better basketball player but a better person.

His work behind-the-scenes with Lard, such as helping him enroll in a wellness center last summer, has been widely publicized. So have Lard’s troubles off the court that led to multiple suspensions in two seasons as a Cyclone.

Prohm did everything he could to help Lard succeed in Ames. Iowa State’s head coach should not be faulted for the fact that it did not ultimately work out.

*** From a basketball standpoint, this should clear up what became a somewhat muddied picture for Iowa State’s frontcourt in 2019-20. Lard’s departure will surely push freshman center George Conditt into more minutes in his second season on campus.

We have seen how good Conditt can be during flashes. His performance against Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament title game comes to mind. He went toe-to-toe with Kansas’ All-American forward Dedric Lawson.

That kid is ready for the spotlight.

Michael Jacobson proved during his junior season he is more than good enough to continue being a crucial piece of the Cyclones’ rotation. The former transfer from Nebraska could be an All-Big 12 type player as a senior if he is capable of building on the All-Tournament team performance he showed in Kansas City.

Plus, the team will be adding Solomon Young back into the fold after the junior missed the majority of the year after offseason groin surgery.

To put it simply, Iowa State’s frontcourt will be fine next year.

*** Lard’s departure immediately opens up one scholarship for Prohm and his staff to work with this spring and there’s still potential for more spots opening up. Talen Horton-Tucker and Lindell Wigginton‘s professional futures continue to hang in the balance and I fully expect each of them to test the NBA waters in the coming months.

It would not be shocking at all to see more attrition either when you look at Iowa State’s future backcourt situation and the makeup of the end of the team’s bench.

Will Prohm focus on high school prospects or pursue a high-profile transfer?

That question remains to be answered and who knows if those guys even truly know what they will do with any open spots at this point. Regardless, the staff will have flexibility with what they want to do.

Lard’s transfer opens the door for more questions about the program’s future while in a way answering a few others.

Welcome to what could be a very busy offseason in Ames.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared is in his sixth year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He's the site's lead reporter for ISU recruiting. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as the full-time staff writer in May 2016. Jared spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI.