Fred Hoiberg was that baller putting up shots in every game he played and whether you consider him the gunner that he was, the numbers simply didn't lie. In 4 years, he scored 1,993 points at Iowa State and his number 32 flies in rafters. It has to special that he grew up in Ames and since his dad was a sociology professor at the school, a young mayor-in-waiting, honed his stellar jumper in Hilton Coliseum. He was the quarterback for Ames High School, captained the basketball squad to the 1991 State Championship and named Mr. Basketball in Iowa. How many former players or fans of the program looked at a young Hoiberg and thought he would one day be head coach? He was groomed for this position whether anyone saw it early or not. When he was brought on as Cyclones' head coach in 2010 after a 10 year NBA career and VP of basketball operations for the Timberwolves, he turned around a program that missed the NCAA Tournament the previous 5 years. His record at Iowa State is 88–46 (.657) and the Cyclones are on a run of three straight NCAA tourney berths.
What makes Hoiberg more nuanced than many coaches beyond his coaching style is his approach to building the program. He goes out and gets transfer athletes and gets them to buy into his style of doing things. Think of DeAndre Kane as a great example of the ripples Hoiberg is sending through college basketball. Kane, a business management graduate of Marshall pursing a Master’s in higher education, was a three-year All-Conference USA performer before he was dismissed from the program for basically not controlling his emotions. Now that Kane is in Ames, he leads a Hoiberg squad using his array of basketball abilities to help his coach change the way coaches view transfer eligible athletes. Minnesota transfer Royce White helped put the program back on the map in 2010 and the Cyclones now have the most talent since the days of Larry Eustachy. Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang are two of the more explosive collegiate players at their position and Iowa State looks to be a team that won’t shock anyone if they make a deep run into the tournament. Fresh off their first Big 12 Conference title in more than a decade, the third-seeded Iowa State Cyclones will take on 14-seeded N.C. Central Eagles on Friday night.
The NBA will be calling for Hoiberg soon – if it hasn’t already – and programs like UCLA have already done so. It will be interesting to see if Hoiberg stays on the Ames campus for long and if he does leave, surely the city will miss Hoiberg. Has he outgrown his hometown? If he has, Ames has no one but itself to blame for preparing Hoiberg for everything basketball has to offer. After all, he is The Mayor right?