Pratt Keeps His Promise, Earns Iowa State Degree
Kenny Pratt, a key player on Iowa State's outstanding basketball teams in the late 1990s, earned his degree from Iowa State yesterday, fulfilling a promise he made to his mother before she passed away.
"Before my mother died she told me she wanted me to finish my degree," Pratt said. "I decided to get going and make it happen because I promised her I would. Just having an Iowa State degree and going through the things we went through as a basketball team, it's like putting a stamp on a finished product. This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me besides my family."
All Cyclone fans remember the undersized Pratt dominating opponents in the paint in his two seasons at Iowa State (1995-96 & 1996-97). Listed at 6-5, but probably closer to 6-3, Pratt used skill, angles and a wide variety of post moves to score on the low block with ease.
The junior college transfer averaged 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in his junior season (1995-96), as the Cyclones finished second in the league and won the final Big Eight Tournament title, all from a team picked to finish last in the preseason Big Eight poll. Pratt was named second-team All-Big Eight at the end of the season.
The Cyclones were just as tough in Pratt's senior campaign, tying for third in the Big 12 and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Pratt was a Third-Team All-Big 12 pick after averaging 14.7 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Pratt's allegiance to Iowa State began at an early age.
"My older sister, Paula, went to Iowa State," Pratt said. "When I was about 11 years old, she used to bring back all of the Iowa State t-shirts, basketballs and jerseys. I remember watching the TV show Webster, and a lot of people didn't notice this, but he used to have an Iowa State flag hanging in his room, so it was programmed in my mind I was going to be a Cyclone."
Pratt currently works for the James "Major" Adams Youth & Family Development Academy, a service center in Chicago for underprivileged children. He's also an AAU basketball coach on the side.
He is grateful to be an Iowa State graduate.
"There are so many people I would like to thank who have helped me out in my pursuit of my degree," Pratt said. "Iowa State Athletics Director Jamie Pollard, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Thomas Hill and my academic advisor Kathleen Timmons all provided tremendous help and guidance. I couldn't have done it without their assistance."