A new head coach often tries to find innovative ways to get to know the athletes they are preparing to coach. Steve Prohm, rookie men’s basketball coach, took his team to Canada.
The Racers took advantage of an opportunity to play offseason ball on an international stage, something the NCAA allows teams to do every four years.
During the trip, the team swept all three of their games in Toronto, beating Brock University 79-39 on Aug. 5, besting A-Game Hoops 76-60 on Aug. 7 and breaking a late 65-65 tie with the ABA All-Starts to win 79-72 on Aug. 8.
In an Aug. 9 interview with Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, Prohm spoke about his first successful road trip as head coach.
“It was great,” Prohm said. “Great for me– and even better for our guys. It’s something I wish the NCAA would allow us to do more than once every four years.”
Prohm said the trip allowed him to get to know the guys on the team and his new staff.
“Toronto is a great city, and it was a great opportunity for us to fellowship,” he said.
The road trip also proved to be a good opportunity for the first-year head coach to evaluate his new team.
“The biggest thing was just getting a chance to see the new guys play and getting them acclimated to how we play,” Prohm said.
Prohm said it was good to see his team respond to a type of basketball play they were not used to.
“The game is so different over there,” he said. “It’s far more physical. The level of difficulty rose each game.”
Prohm said he was impressed with the way the Racers responded in the final game against the ABA Canada All-Stars.
“The last night was a really competitive game,” he said. “They came out and really hit us in the mouth at the beginning of the game and our kids did a great job. I was glad that we were put in a situation where we had to play. We had to execute, we had to keep our composure and listen, and they did that. Late in the game, their maturity and sense of urgency really changed and they were able to finish out the game.”
Prohm begins his tenure following the departure of former head coach Billy Kennedy, who left the Racers after the 2010-11 season to coach the Texas A&M Aggies. Prohm said he hopes to duplicate the success of Kennedy while adding his own mark on a new Racer team.
“I know we’ve only had 10 practices, but if you talk to anyone who knows our program, the one thing they’ll say is that we’ve been fundamentally sound over the last few years,” Prohm said. “We’re not there yet, but it’s still early.”
An optimistic Prohm said senior leadership can help the Racers return to good form this coming season.
“Come January and February, I think we’ll have a chance to be a very good team,” he said. “I was impressed with the maturity and leadership of our older guys. They did the right thing – and for me, that made me feel good – like things are going to be just like normal.”