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Basketball

WILLIAMS: Analyzing what the latest Cam Lard suspension means 

Cameron Lard is suspended again. Other than it being a “violation of team rules,” we don’t know exactly why. 

“I will meet with him on Monday,” head coach Steve Prohm explained following Saturday’s discouraging 86-69 loss at Texas. 

Here’s what we do know: It doesn’t sound serious. It isn’t like Lard committed a crime or anything like that. But I don’t exactly blame fans for letting their minds wander when news of Lard not making the trip to Austin broke on Saturday morning. The sophomore forward, who missed the first seven games this season serving a suspension for violating team rules last spring, hasn’t exactly been the most consistent player in the program over the last few years.

Prohm though has been very consistent about something during his four years at Iowa State, and he doubled down on it during his postgame press conference in Austin: He doesn’t view coaching as a basketball-only job. He’s developing players, and men. 

“I think that’s the roll you play as a coach,” Prohm said. “You want to win. We are 20-9 but you want to change people. You want to impact people. I sure would rather be known for that than all of the other stuff you guys write about. He’s done a lot of other good things too.”

The problem is, it’s impossible for fans who don’t see everything on a day-to-day basis to know this. Lard HAS improved leaps and bounds off of the court since this time last year. 

“I talked to him and I said, ‘I’m going to have to sit up there on Saturday and answer all of these questions about you and they don’t know that really, you’ve done a pretty good job,”’ Prohm said. ‘“But you have to be disciplined.’ That’s just how life is. If I did something, I have to be discipled for it.”

I get the feeling that Prohm feels heavily invested in Lard, the person, especially after sending him away to a wellness center for much of last summer. Prohm has seen that growth, which is what made this latest suspension – presumably over something fairly minor – so difficult. 

Was the violation a major deal?

Again, it doesn’t sound like it. 

But Prohm continues to push consistency, which will ultimately help the Cyclones on the court too. In Prohm’s mind, the two go hand in hand. 

“He had a setback that I felt if I am going to run a program the right way, he needed to be disciplined,” Prohm said. “We have a lot of young guys. You need to understand what I expect, what I think is wrong and what you can do. He didn’t do that so you have to be held accountable for your actions. That is the reality of life.”

When you’re making millions of dollars a year and coaching in the Big 12, winning is a vital aspect of the job. Nobody is denying that. But despite Iowa State’s recent 2-4 skid, give credit where it is due. Prohm is hold Lard accountable.

The question now is how many chances does the sophomore have left?

Conditt plays well in Lard’s absence

We are reaching for positives right now but freshman George Conditt certainly gave Iowa State one in Saturday’s loss. 

The high-energy post out of Chicago scored 11 points with four rebounds in 16 minutes on Saturday.

“He has a chance to be a really, really good player here,” Prohm said. “He just hasn’t gotten a ton of reps with the gold team. I love his character. I love his work ethic. He loves Iowa State. He is going to be a good player here.”

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