Don’t Hire Steve Prohm: He’s Dropping the Ball

Georgia natives like Steve Prohm, but Cyclone Nation knows he dropped the ball.

A hire is supposed to be rejuvenate the program and bring about culture change.  If Atlantans are pleased, that’s wonderful, but this is not the primary concern.  It’s about making Georgia Basketball not only relevant, but an event that is a sold-out social occasion just like Football.  Until the program reaches the point of selling out every game, making home games special and having a substantial following the road just like Football, the mission is not accomplished.  Winning helps get there, but also a coach who can capture imaginations.  Fred Hoiberg was able to do it at his alma mater, Iowa State.  Hoiberg’s successor was given the keys to the Porsche that is Iowa State Basketball and was able to carry over the success with holdovers from the previous teams, but now that the team is comprised of Prohm recruits, things have changed.

Steve Prohm:  Can he get it done on his own?

Can Prohm source talent, develop them and then make it to the Sweet 16 or better?  This is an open question and Prohm is going to get his chance to prove that he could do it, but this season is really Year 1 for Prohm at Iowa State.  Iowa State is 13-13 this season and the program is back to where it started under Hoiberg.  Hoiberg built the program on cast-offs from other programs and Prohm also has cast-offs of his own, but he is developing more guys coming straight out of High School.

Prohm has been trending away from the transfers lately and competing head-to-head on the recruiting trail rather than being the reclamation station.

Prohm is doing it his own way and hoping that his development abilities carry the program.  The transfers and JUCOs seem to be a stop-gap that ends next season.

How he sources the talent is not the issue, but rather is Steve Prohm’s new approach going to work?  It’s a new approach that is shockingly conventional, but it was previously necessary to source and develop the way Hoiberg had done it.

Prohm is essentially starting over in Ames and is hoping that the Iowa State brand is better than it was when Fred Hoiberg took over the job.  Prohm knows what it is like to follow in the footsteps of success, he did it at Murray State.  Prohm was not able to match the success that he achieved in his 1st season with talent that carried over from Billy Kennedy’s roster.  Prohm built it on his own, but he did not have enough time with the talent he sourced and developed.  Iowa State called.

Matt McMahon did not inherit much at all from Steve Prohm and had to start all over again.  He filled in gaps with transfers and had to gut it out in his first two seasons before having a much better 2017-18 Season that could result in an NCAA Tournament berth.

Murray State is a stepping stone job where coaches last 3-5 seasons and their success propels them elsewhere.  Iowa State was a stepping stone for Fred Hoiberg and Tim Floyd to coach the Chicago Bulls.

The previous two seasons would be considered exciting at Georgia, but they have to be considered underachieving extensions of the Hoiberg era that Prohm was finishing.  Prohm is now rebuilding at Iowa State after being dealt a rather full cupboard.

Would Prohm Be Leaving the Program in Better Condition?

Hiring a coach in the middle of a rebuilding effort after a mediocre season is not exactly going to get anyone excited. There’s a significant drop-off offensively and defensively with the departures.  He would not be leaving Iowa State Basketball in better condition than he had left it.




What is notable under the Prohm era is that there are declines in the offensive efficiency and the defensive efficiency fell off completely.  The pace also fell off considerably from his first season.  Under Hoiberg, the pace of play was always among the fastest and Prohm put the brakes on in his second season.  This season’s team has also been criticized for a lack of mental toughness.

The right candidate leaves a program in better condition than they have left it.  Prohm would not be leaving Iowa State Men’s Basketball in better condition, he’d be leaving the program in a condition very similar to what his predecessor inherited.

Compare this to Mark Fox at Nevada and this should be a red flag.

There’s a clear decline much like this third season for Prohm at Iowa State is a clear decline.  Iowa can hire Prohm, Georgia should not.

The only word to describe this season at Iowa State is ‘Ouch’.  This is a significant drop-off for Iowa State.  Hilton Magic does not exist this season and Steve Prohm has dropped the ball.

It’s one thing for a program like South Carolina to have a clunker of a season like this one, the prior season they made the Final Four and were in the wilderness as a program for well over a decade.  Frank Martin is not dropping anything, he’s just trying to make things consistent and now he has proof that his way works even in Columbia.  However, Iowa State made the NCAA Tournament for six straight seasons and then this happens.

When it rains, it pours…

Lately, it has been tough for Iowa State, but it does not excuse many of the problems regarding depth and performances.

  • Donovan Jackson just lost his father.  Condolences to the Jackson family.
  • Nick Weiler-Babb is playing with tendinitis in his left knee, he missed the last four games.
  • Solomon Young has knee cartilage issues.
  • Hans Brace has been out for four games with lingering problems following a pair of ACL surgeries.

The failure to develop depth has been an issue.

The Rotations are Too Tight

What if these same issues happened to one of Jim Harrick’s teams in the 2000s, would tight rotations be as lauded?  Certainly not.  The reason for Harrick’s rotation depth was his inability to recruit talent out of High School. The failure to get Freshmen and Sophomores up to speed has been an issue in Athens.  Developing depth is important because these seasons are a grind.  Flu Season, injuries and fatigue all play a role and getting less experienced talent the opportunity to play is important as well.  There will come a time when they are all needed.

Steve Prohm is left with six scholarship student-athletes now.  That’s his fault.  He constructed the team and came up a scholarship short with two sitting out due to transfer.

Prohm is only playing Terrence Lewis and Jakolby Long because he has to do so now.  He leans on his core guys very heavily.  It’s excusable to do this at a smaller school because of the talent deficit, but in the Big XII it is not and with programs like Oklahoma State, Texas and West Virginia that will press almost all game long, it is not hard to understand why this team has issues.

This is a team that plays seven deep and it’s not working.  They are running out of gas in the second half in more ways than one.

Georgia wants to grab a rising star, not let a falling star land in their lap.  Don’t hire Steve Prohm.

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