116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
KANSAS CITY - Point guards under first-year Iowa State coach Steve Prohm have typically had the same identity.
They've been athletic and good decision makers, but perhaps most importantly, they've all been able to score at a high clip. Monte Morris hopes to be the latest to fall in that category.
'I've been (scoring) a lot in transition and looking to get all the way to the basket until someone stops me and then making a play to kick out,” Morris said. 'I feel like it's the edge (Prohm's) had with his previous point guards. It's feeding off on me because I like to pick up people's past experiences to make me a better person. With his past experiences with them, I'm going to put that into my game also.”
Morris has been a scorer when he's needed to be. His 24 points - including a game-winning jumper - lifted Iowa State past Texas in last year's Big 12 tournament and he averaged 11.9 points per game and 5.2 assists per game as a sophomore.
Through the preseason, Prohm has installed a handful of offensive sets where Morris is the first scoring option. He's also put trust in Morris' basketball I.Q. and has deferred to actions that suited Iowa State well in the past two seasons, but maintained his own philosophy.
'I'm in a few more iso situations now and even if I get past defenders, I just get help and leave one side of the floor open for me,” Morris said. 'I'd say it's probably three or four sets where it's my call, but other than that we're still flowing.”
Featuring point guards was what Prohm did so well at Murray State - with Isaiah Canaan and Cameron Payne both going to the NBA - but with the Cyclones, he'll have a plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal.
Georges Niang has proved in his first three seasons he possesses one of the most unique offensive skill sets. His 15.3 points per game - third in the Big 12 - are attained based largely due to his technique around the basket, and it's certainly not something Prohm will stop looking for.
'Hopefully that gives Monte a good comfort level, playing under me, that I do want him to score,” Prohm said. 'I told Georges this too, my four-man has always been my second-leading scorer. I do want to go inside out. I want to play at a good pace.”
'I think it's really going to be a lot of the same stuff with little kinks here and there,” Niang said. 'I think with Monte's overall game, the fact that you'll be able to see him take over a game with the ball in his hands and get people involved, I think (fans will) notice a difference.”
The offensive wrinkles allow Morris to continue being a threat distributing the ball, but will highlight his ability to get to the basket. More aggression from the junior on the offensive end means more freedom for his teammates to create looks.
Morris isn't changing what has made him successful. His two-time national leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.63) accolades are still very much a part of his repertoire, but this new aggression Morris developed should only add to the dynamics of the potent ISU offense.
'(I'm) keeping my foot on the gas all 40 minutes,” Morris said, 'always looking to make plays for my teammates and myself at all times.”
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