AMES — Iowa State men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm calls or texts every one of his players’ parents every Friday. He keeps them up to speed in regards to the coronavirus pandemic in Iowa and what Iowa State is going to do to keep the players safe.
Iowa State’s men’s basketball team is going to model what the football team has done as closely as possible.
When Matt Campbell and the football program welcomed players back, they initially had three players test positive for COVID-19, but since the reintegration haven’t had a positive test.
Vic Miller, the men’s basketball trainer, and director of operations Micah Byers have spearheaded the plan for reintegrating the players as they return to campus this week.
“I told all the parents this, the players have been phenomenal — academically, making good decisions and not trying to get back here when we told them to stay home,” Prohm said. “I think our parents have been phenomenal. I thought there would be a lot more questions when we had those Zoom calls, but there really wasn’t. There were a couple questions that we answered but all the parents were really good.
“I thanked them for their patience since March but Vic and Micah laid out a really good plan of how we’re going to bring them back, how we’re going to quarantine, how we’re going to test. We’re able to use football as an example, too, because they’re having great success.”
Prohm talked for an extended period of time with the parents of the incoming freshmen because they’re sending their kids off during a time of uncertainty.
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“When I talked to the freshman parents, I just said it’s a unique time,” Prohm said. “Imagine them, they’re sending off their freshman for the first time and No. 1, they’re a freshman, No. 2 the coronavirus and No. 3 the social issues. You put those together, and that’s a lot.”
Prohm and his staff can have plans for the players and their safety when they’re at the practice facility, but it’ll be up to the players to keep themselves healthy and safe during the other 20-plus hours of the day.
“The biggest thing we have to do is talk to the players and emphasize that when you’re not in Sukup (Practice Facility), you need to make good decisions,” Prohm said. “That means wearing your mask, that means not going out to eat, that means washing your hands — all the things you hear people reiterating.
“This isn’t a time to be out and be social and try to have a great, great time if we want to keep healthy and put ourselves in a position to have a season.”
The plan for practices is simple.
Start with small groups and gradually work your way up.
“We need to remember that it’s just July and a lot can change,” said Prohm, whose season is scheduled to start Nov. 10. “We’ll start in small pods — we’ll have four pods in groups of two or three. ... Then, when they say it’s OK to bring six in, we’ll change. When they say it’s OK to bring 10 in, we’ll change. I’m not trying to speed anything up.”
Prohm believes starting in small groups could benefit the Cyclones, who are welcoming in seven newcomers as well as Javan Johnson, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
In the small groups, players will be doing a lot of two-on-zero and three-on-zero spacing concepts while running the fast break and other actions.
“Early on in those pods, we’ll be getting a lot of shots up, a lot of conditioning and because we do have a lot of new guys, a lot of terminology and spacing concepts,” Prohm said. “This could help in a way too because we can spend some time and really, really focus on the terminology and spacing.”