There's been a whirlwind of activity around Iowa State these past few days. So much so that just when I was ready to comment on one thing, something else happened. It's not something us Cyclone fans were used to see happen with our basketball team. Although we all were looking for a change. Unfortunately, this change and the pace at which it happened was not what we expected. At least not me.
It all started with the news Sunday that McDermott had been offered the job at Creighton. Some folks were saying he was already gone even though he contendedhe wanted to sleep on it and make a decision Monday. Here's the thing though: as soon as he said he had to think about it, it was evident he had already made a decision. Otherwise, he would have told Creighton he wasn't interested and there would have never been a story. McDermott saw the writing on the wall. He knew his days here were numbered. That's going to happen when you have four consecutive losing seasons.
I don't know about anyone else, but I was personally ready to see McDermott go. He had done more harm than good in his four years at ISU. He scared away Wesley Johnson who subsequently returned Syracuse to national prominence and himself him into a contender for collegiate player of the year. He couldn't put a good enough squad on the floor to court the best high school recruit in the nation who was right in his own backyard. He couldn't even recruit enough talent to surround his sole superstar with the help he needed to give the Cyclones at least one winning season.
So even though alot of us where happy to see McDermott leave, some folks were a little uneasy because of the timing. Not me. I just knew that ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard had a plan all along. I was just thinking of a different plan. I figured since he had recently hired Nick Nurse from the Iowa Energy that it was with the intentions Nurse would eventually take over as ISU's new head coach. He had head coaching experience, could deal with different personalities and even had an international connection to broaden ISU's recruiting base. It seemed like such a no-brainer. Or so I thought.
I first saw the news that Fred Hoiberg had been hired as ISU's new head coach on someone's Facebook status. Someone that was neither an ISU fan OR an ISU grad. Someone known to be a practical joker. Therefore, I just figured that he was trying to be funny. Especially since I couldn't find anything about it on the Des Moines Register site. It just didn't make sense.
Granted, Hoiberg was tha bomb when he was at ISU. Easily one of the coldest players in the history of the school. There was Jeff Grayer then Jeff Hornacek (yeah...some of you probably forgot about him already) then Hoiberg. I still remember his freshman year when the Cyclones played the Hawkeyes at Hilton Coliseum. Hoiberg had a NASTY dunk on Acie Earl. The same Acie Earl that was the career blocks leader at the University of Iowa. I knew then that Hoiberg was going to be one special cat. As a player though, not as a coach.
I just don't see how Pollard can justify this hiring when Hoiberg has exactly zero games coaching experience. He's never even been an assistant coach. Anywhere. On any level. Yet Pollard is expecting Hoiberg to step into the role of a head coach of a Big 12 program? To say that it's a huge risk would be an understatement. Hoiberg will either turn out to be the next Brad Stevens (Butler's head coach that took the tiny school to the National Championship game this year) or he could be the next...well...Greg McDermott. Pollard will either turn out looking like a genius or a total idiot.
It's not that I don't want to see the Mayor succeed. I want nothing more than to see Hilton Magic return. I just don't see it happening with a guy who has had NO coaching experience whatsoever. I don't care who he is. I don't care that his presence will boost ticket sales because of who he is (which I am 100% certain was Pollard's driving motivator for hiring him). I just care that he's able to get ISU back to being competitive and even dominant. And if Hoiberg also isn't the one to make that happen then Pollard definitely needs to be the next to go.