Tag: Georges Niang

Georges Niang, Jameel McKay
Associated Press

Iowa State’s Steve Prohm turns to Georges Niang for advice

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AMES, Iowa (AP) The biggest question facing Steve Prohm this season isn’t one rookie coaches generally have to address: How can the new guy get through to a group of veteran players talented enough to win a national title?

Instead of trying to come up with the answer on his own, Prohm has turned to his biggest star, Iowa State senior Georges Niang, for help.

Prohm has taken the unorthodox step of inviting Niang into his office for bi-weekly, private chats about the seventh-ranked Cyclones – some lasting as long as 90 minutes – in an effort to fully connect with the team that Fred Hoiberg left behind when he took the coaching job with the Chicago Bulls.

“He’s won a lot of games. He’s a senior. He’s a leader. He’s a captain,” Prohm said. “He’s earned that opportunity.”

Still, it’s unusual to see a college coach turn to a single player for advice multiple times a week – and nearly every day through texts.

But Prohm’s situation has been highly unusual from the moment he arrived in Ames. He inherited a Final Four-caliber roster. Niang, seniors Naz Long, Jameel McKay and Abdel Nader and star junior point guard Monte Morris are all as strong-willed as they are talented. They are the core of a team that won 25 games and the Big 12 tournament last season.

Perhaps not since Bill Guthridge took over for Dean Smith at North Carolina in the late 1990s has a first-year coach had such a great shot at a national championship.

Prohm quickly realized that changing things didn’t make much sense when he arrived from Murray State after piling up a 104-29 record over four seasons running a fast-paced, high-scoring offense. But Prohm also knew that he wouldn’t get anywhere if the Iowa State veterans didn’t follow his lead.

Prohm thought back to Bob Huggins during his first year at West Virginia, when Huggins had his seniors install his preferred 1-3-1 pressure defense as a way to build team unity.

Using that for inspiration, Prohm made Niang a de facto liaison between the coaching staff and his teammates as they prepare for the season-opener Nov. 13 against Colorado.

At the heart of Niang and Prohm’s private talks is a shared desire to take the up-tempo offense Iowa State ran so well under Hoiberg and marry it with Prohm’s desire for more defensive toughness.

“I think it’s actually super cool that you have a coach that has no ego and really wants to sit down and understand what’s going through your mind,” Niang said.

One of the many things Prohm has learned in his meetings is that Niang has a shrewd basketball mind. Niang was an overlooked recruit while playing prep school ball in New Hampshire alongside Nerlens Noel, now with the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season, Niang averaged 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists and earned third-team All-America honors.

“He makes you continue to keep thinking, keep probing, keep trying to find different things to challenge him,” Prohm said. “Great feel for the game. Great understanding of the game and how to make people better. I just think he’s a special player, and I’m fortunate to be able to coach him.”

Though Niang and Prohm’s talks typically revolve around basketball, they often expand to issues beyond the game. Niang said he often loses track of time while in Prohm’s office, a place where Niang has found a mentor.

“He’s always constantly like, `Forget this. Forget that. I just want to have a great year for you seniors and really send you off right,”‘ Niang said. “They could have brought in anyone that said, `Forget what you’re talking about. I need to run a program. I don’t care what you think.’ For him to put that aside and want the best for us, that really just speaks volumes about his character, and that’s obviously a person I want to be around for the rest of my life.”

Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LukeMeredithAP

Georges Niang on former coach Fred Hoiberg: ‘You really couldn’t hold a grudge’

Georges Niang (AP Photo)
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Last weekend, I flew out to Los Angeles to attend Nike’s Basketball Academy at the Barkar Hanger in Santa Monica.

Among the players in attendance there was Georges Niang, Iowa State’s All-American forward and one of the biggest reasons that the Cyclones are still considered a national title contender and a preseason top five team despite losing head coach Fred Hoiberg.

READ MORE: Higher Ames

That coaching change is what intrigued me. Niang and Hoiberg were obviously close — Hoiberg recruited Niang, developed him, helped him get into shape … and then bounced for the NBA — and I was curious: was Niang bitter? Was he resentful? Did he hold a grudge? And, perhaps more importantly, how did he get along with new head coach Steve Prohm?

I sat with the Massachusetts native during the camp and talk about all of that and more. The results? You can read through them in this column.

Kris Dunn, Georges Niang, Buddy Hield among college players at Nike Basketball Academy

Kris Dunn (AP Photo)
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Saturday morning the first annual Nike Basketball Academy got underway in southern California, with the event hosting some of the top college and high school players in the country. Those in attendance will receive instruction from coaches as well as NBA players such as Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

The college roster doesn’t lack for talented players who should factor into the national Player of the Year conversations next season. Among those invited are Providence point guard Kris Dunn, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Iowa State forward Georges Niang. There are also two players in the group who have yet to play a game at the Division I level in LSU’s Antonio Blakeney and Ben Simmons.

LSU is one of three schools with multiple players in attendance. Arizona has two in guard Kadeem Allen (who redshirted last season and center Kaleb Tarczewski, and Gonzaga forwards Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer are representing the Bulldogs. Below is the list of college players in attendance at the camp, which runs through the weekend.

Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
Paris Bass (Detroit)
DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s)
Antonio Blakeney (LSU)
Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia)
Isaac Copeland (Georgetown)
Tre Demps (Northwestern)
Kris Dunn (Providence)
Daniel Hamilton (Connecticut)
Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Damian Jones (Vanderbilt)
Shawn Long (UL Lafayette)
Georges Niang (Iowa State)
Gary Payton Jr. (Oregon State)
Jakob Poeltl (Utah)
Taurean Prince (Baylor)
Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga)
Ben Simmons (LSU)
Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)
Isaiah Taylor (Texas)
Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa)
Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)
Tyrone Wallace (California)
James Webb III (Boise State)
Troy Williams (Indiana)
Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)