IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT
This is an article from the Nov. 9, 2015 issue
When Murray State coach Steve Prohm agreed to replace Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State in June, the first player he planned to contact was 6'8" senior forward Georges Niang—but Niang got Prohm's number first and beat him to the text.
Becoming a more proactive leader was Niang's main focus this off-season. A year after dropping about 25 pounds and cutting his body-fat percentage in half, Niang decided to exercise his mind as well. Each morning last summer, before hitting the weight room or the practice court, he sat in bed and read a chapter of The Energy Bus, a motivational book by Jon Gordon. "The first lesson is that you're in control of the energy on your bus," Niang says. "Positive energy drives whatever bus you're leading."
Prohm's goals for Niang reflect what the coach wants from his team: improved rebounding and defense. Last season the Cyclones were outside the top 100 in defensive rebounding percentage and in three-point D. A career 14.7-points-per-game scorer, Niang is productive in the post, but his offensive rating was below 90 in 12 games last season and above 130 in six. Hoping for a smoother final season, he's bearing the Bus's final principle in mind: "Have fun and enjoy the ride."
PROJECTED TEAM STATS
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 116.9 (7th)
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 96.1 (50th)
BIG 12 RECORD 12--6 (T-2nd)
Monté Morris may be the best pass-first point guard in college basketball; his 4.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio led the NCAA in '14--15. Morris must now seamlessly implement Steve Prohm's scheme on a squad packed with veterans.
With 2015--16 projections for the top six scorers
Coach Steve Prohm (1st season)
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
|PF||Georges Niang* 6'8" Sr.||16.6||5.7||3.8||111.3||27.0%|
|PG||Monté Morris* 6'3" Jr.||13.4||3.7||5.4||126.0||19.0%|
|PF||Jameel McKay* 6'9" Sr.||11.6||7.7||0.8||119.3||19.0%|
|SG||Naz Long* 6'4" Sr.||10.7||3.3||2.1||116.5||16.3%|
|SF||Abdel Nader* 6'6" Sr.||9.4||5.0||1.1||98.8||21.9%|
|SG||Matt Thomas 6'4" Jr.||7.9||3.0||1.2||111.1||16.3%|
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
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