Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Morning News: Iowa State Hires Steve Prohm, Murray State Gets Matt McMahon, NJIT On The Move, Rysheed Jordan Goes Pro, And More

Iowa State Hires Steve Prohm There were a lot of names thrown out for the Iowa State job, but in the end I think it will turn out that Steve Prohm is a sensible hire. Prohm has had four successful years at Murray State, finishing no worse than first in the Ohio Valley Conference West division, taking the team to three postseason tournaments, including the Round of 32 as a 6 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Prohm was able to steer the ship of a successful Murray State program, and he should be able to steer the ship of an Iowa State team with one of the ten or fifteen most talented rosters in the nation in 2015-16.

The question for Prohm, and the question that will determine whether he is a successful hire in the long run or not, will be what happens to the roster after 2016. Fred Hoiberg landed big recruits, particularly on the transfer market, on an annual basis. With a senior-heavy team, Prohm will need to land multiple big time players to keep the team as strong in 2016-17 as they will be in 2015-16. Is Prohm able to navigate the world of blue chip recruiting? We will find out.

Murray State Hires Matt McMahon Murray State moved quickly after losing Steve Prohm, bringing back former Prohm assistant Matt McMahon as the new head coach. Murray State has become a perpetually strong program that is a coaching hotbed. Four of their last five head coaches (Steve Prohm, Billy Kennedy, Mick Cronin and Mark Gottfried) have left to take high major head coaching jobs, with all four leading the team to the NCAA Tournament. I already had Belmont as my preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley for next season, but McMahon will be in a situation where he should be able to succeed in the near future.

NJIT Joins The Atlantic Sun I jokingly called NJIT "America's Team" all of last season, but they really were an easy team to root for. Jim Engles has done a tremendous job coaching with no conference and almost no resources. The year before he took over, the team went 0-29, and it was a full two months into Engles's tenure before the team broke a 51 game losing streak. But in his seventh season, in 2014-15, Engles defeated Michigan, Yale and Cleveland State while also nearly defeating Marquette. They won't be the favorites in their first season in the Atlantic Sun, but it's not crazy to think that they can compete for a title in their first season.

Rysheed Jordan Goes Pro Chris Mullin had done a good job of holding the St. John's roster together, but academics will force Rysheed Jordan to go play pro ball next season. This makes Chris Obekpa the only returner from the six man rotation of regulars that Steve Levin played this past season. Mullin has added a slew of newcomers, including proven transfers, so the Johnnies should still be reasonably competitive next season. But I don't see how they can be a projected NCAA Tournament team preseason.

Kansas Recruit LaGerald Vick Reclassifies To 2015 Vick is a 6'5" shooting guard who will become the one backcourt addition to Kansas for 2015-16. Bill Self certainly wasn't desperate for a backcourt player as all of last year's key pieces return, but Vick will provide depth behind Frank Mason, Devonte' Graham, Brannen Greene and Wayne Selden.

Max Biefeldt Heads To Indiana Biefeldt is a graduate transfer, and will be eligible immediately for his final season of eligibility at Indiana. The 6'8" forward averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for Michigan this past season. As Tom Crean tries to make a run at a Big Ten title next season, his big need was size, particularly with the loss of Hanner Mosquera-Perea. Stud 2015 recruit Thomas Bryant is the big addition there, but either Biefeldt or Emmitt Holt looks like Indiana's second best front court option. Believe it or not, after being so ridiculously over-signed with recruits, Indiana is actually still one scholarship under the limit, so Tom Crean can still add one more player this summer. They're going to need "Hello, My Name Is..." stickers at summer practices.

NC State Adds Torin Dorn Dorn was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, averaging 12.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for Charlotte. He will have to sit out the 2015-16 season, but helps to set up NC State with significant backcourt talent for years to come with West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson also coming on board this season.

Keyshawn Woods To Wake Forest Speaking of Charlotte transfers, Keyshawn Woods will be heading to Wake Forest. Woods averaged 8.4 points per game as a freshman, and like Torin Dorn will have three seasons of eligibility after sitting out 2015-16. The reality is that Wake Forest's first realistic shot at the NCAA Tournament under Danny Manning will likely come in 2016-17 anyway, and Woods will be a significant part of that push.

Dayton Picks Up Josh Cunningham The 6'7" forward averaged 7.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a freshman at Bradley this past season. He'll have to sit out 2015-16, but then will have three years of eligibility remaining. Dayton was the smallest team in the NCAA Tournament this past season, and while Archie Miller picked up some size this past offseason, he certainly needs more. Cunningham should be a significant contributor when he becomes eligible.

Washington Lands Noah Dickerson We're just about done with the 2015 recruiting class, but Noah Dickerson was probably the biggest name left on the market (unless you count Thon Maker). He was originally committed to Florida but left after Billy Donovan left. With the loss of Nigel Williams-Goss and Jernard Jarreau, Lorenzo Romar has been desperately looking for new additions as his coaching seat gets ever warmer. It's hard to expect too much from a true freshman who isn't a one-and-done level talent, but Dickerson should be a significant contributor right away.

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