AMES – All of Iowa State coach Steve Prohm’s concerns reared its collective head in Iowa State’s 77-68 exhibition win over Emporia State at Hilton Coliseum Sunday. And Prohm was happy they did.
The Cyclones struggled offensively, defensively and on what Prohm calls special teams, which is essentially hustling and being selfless.
“You have to address your problems and you have to address the situations early if you want to get better,” Prohm said. “I knew this team would have to figure things out and get better week-by-week and day-by-day. I was just more disappointed in the little things we have to be great at this year. Humility, selflessness, thankfulness – all of those words champions and great teams embody. I didn’t think we had that tonight. That’s what was disappointing when you’re representing Iowa State.”
Teaching the “special teams” is a part of Prohm’s job, and he recognizes that. He had to teach last year’s team of veterans the same things and by the end of the year, they were among the best teams in the nation. Prohm wants that same development path for this team.
“Everything is a teaching day with these guys, but that’s fun,” Prohm said. “A couple years back someone said this year will make you a lot better coach because there are things you already know and there are some things, when you have experienced teams for a while, some things you forget. It’s good to get back to the basics and really start talking core values and selflessness and humility. I’m excited to see if we can build a team.”
Junior guard Nick Weiler-Babb saw the same things his coach did.
Emporia State beat Iowa State to loose balls; it got seven offensive rebounds and out-hustled the Cyclones.
“Offense isn’t going to be perfect and defense isn’t going to be perfect but the hustle plays we can’t give up,” Weiler-Babb said. “We have to make 50-50 plays. The offense and the defense we have to work on without a doubt – we saw that coming. But we have to give heart, play with passion and we have to give more heart than the other team has.”
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Speaking of imperfect offense. Iowa State only hit on 5 of 20 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Donovan Jackson was the only Cyclone to consistently hit from 3-point range, connecting on 4 of 7 attempts.
Jackson ended the first half scoring the last 13 Iowa State points. He ended with 20 points.
“I (asserted myself) because I needed to get myself going,” Jackson said. “That’s the only way I can play to just get myself going and play with energy.”
Outside of Jackson, Jakolby Long was the only other Iowa State player to hit a 3.
Iowa State missed a number of open looks, but the Cyclone offense was stagnant and rarely made Emporia State make rotations on the defensive end.
“You can’t go 5-for-20 from 3 and 60 percent from the free-throw line and think you’re going to score a whole lot of points,” Prohm said. “We still want to try to get to 80 points. Offensively, we have to play at a pace that we are putting pressure on the defense all the time so we are not a grind it, slow down team. We have to continue to reinforce that.”
The Cyclones open the regular season Friday at Missouri (8 p.m., SEC Network).
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