AMES — Iowa State’s Solomon Young was Steve Prohm’s first high school signee.
Young has played with the likes of Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thoms and Deonte Burton early in his career, as well as Marial Shayok, Talen Horton-Tucker and Tyrese Haliburton later.
On Saturday, Young was honored during Iowa State’s senior night as the Cyclones hosted TCU.
Technically, Young could get a sixth year of eligibility thanks to the COVID pandemic.
“I think I’m already super senior,” Young, who graduated last season with a degree in hospitality management, said with a chuckle. “But seriously, I don’t plan on coming back. I’m ready to pursue a pro career.”
Young has been the steadying force for the Cyclones for the better part of half of a decade.
Even as a freshman, he helped turn around the team led by Morris, Mitrou-Long, Thomas and Burton.
He started that season on the bench as Darrell Bowie and Merrill Holden were the two post players. But the Cyclones were 12-8 overall and just 4-5 in the Big 12 to begin the season.
Then the Cyclones traveled to Allen Fieldhouse to play Kansas. At that time, the Jayhawks had won 54 straight games in Allen Fieldhouse.
Young came off the bench early in the second half and never sat back down in that game.
“He broke his hand early in the season and that set him back a bit,” Prohm said. “It was the game at Allen Fieldhouse where I said, ‘Ok, let’s go.’ He played the last 16 minutes of regulation and the five minutes of overtime. I thought he was the missing ingredient of that team.”
Iowa State finished with an 8-2 record in the remaining regular season games and won a Big 12 Championship before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Purdue.
“We were as good as any team in that country the way we finished that season,” Prohm said. “Solomon was a great fit for Naz, Monte, Matt and Deonte. He was a great fit who was blue collar and did all of the right things.”
Because of Young’s soft-spoken tendencies and not-so-flashy game, he didn’t always get the attention he maybe deserved, but he recognizes the people that recognized him.
The fans and the people around the Iowa State program.
“I’m always going to remember walking out of the doors and seeing all of the fans cheering at the Kansas games or the Baylor games,” Young said. “I’ll remember the environment and the vibe and just how loud it gets.
“The other thing I’ll think about is how the people here treated me like family and how comfortable it was being here.”
For Young, a lot of different moments stick out.
“One of them that sticks out is my first start against Oklahoma my freshman year,” Young said. “I made my first shot and the crowd went crazy. Those firsts are something I’ll always cherish.”
Even though Young is in his fifth season, he’ll get one last “first” on Saturday.
His mom, Tina Solomon, who has battled breast cancer, will make her first appearance in Hilton Coliseum for a game.
Solomon, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., has been to a few road games, like the Oregon State game last season, but she’s never been able to make it for a home game until now.
“Over the last couple of years she’s been on us about making sure she’s here for senior night,” Prohm said. “Talking with her over the pandemic, that was one of her big concerns. She really wants to be here. I know she’s really, really excited about getting over here.”
Young, who is as stoic as they come, had a catch in his voice when he talked about his mom finally making it to a home game.
“It’s going to be great,” Young said. “I’m glad she’s finally able to get down here and watch a game. Obviously I wish it was under normal circumstances so she could experience the full effect but just having her here is great.”