By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
The Big 12’s group of basketball coaches met with members of the media today in their annual summer teleconference. Here’s the complete transcript of what Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg had to say.
When you took the Iowa State job, you were going to be playing 16 conference games. Now, it looks like you’ll be playing 18. What are your thoughts on that?
FH: I am excited about it. I think it is the fairest way to do things from all of the teams standpoint, getting a chance to play all of the teams the same amount time times. It is certainly going to be tough to go down to the Texas schools every year and play all four of them. It is going to be a tough task but you want to play the tough teams to prepare yourself for the postseason and this will give us an opportunity to do that.
Are you done recruiting in 2010?
FH: We are still looking at a couple of things. We still have a few things going on here over the next few days and potentially somebody coming in over the weekend. We still have two scholarships to give so we are going to exhaust every option and see if there is somebody worth signing.
There will be a lot of new faces on your roster next season and it certainly isn’t an ideal situation. I guess you could say that a lot of you guys are in this for the first time.
FH: They are all new faces to me. I am excited about the guys who we have coming back. Diante (Garrett), Scott Christopherson, Jamie Vanderbeken and Bubu (Palo) coming back as a walk-on red-shirt freshman. Those guys have all had very good springs with playing down in the Capital City League, which is a league that they play in down in Des Moines. They’ve all put up pretty good numbers and have been working very hard in the weight room and coming in here to get extra practice and extra shots in our new practice facility. The thing about LaRon and losing him, that was the only one that I wasn’t expecting. All of the other guys had left, they had pretty much already happened before I got here. With LaRon, it was I think a very poor decision on his part. But you know what, he made that decision and has moved on. We will support him in any way that we can. What that does now is it opens up opportunities for our incoming freshmen. It is going to allow those guys to get very valuable experience in the Big 12 Conference. Are they going to be ready right away? I don’t know that yet. I’ve been in the NBA for the past 15 years. You draft a rookie who you think can come in and make and immediate impact and for whatever reason, they just aren’t ready. A lot of these guys, it is their first year away from home. It is going to be a very different experience. It is up to us to put them in a comfortable environment, pump them up with confidence and try to let them play to their strengths. That is going to be my job as a coach. I like the class that we have coming in. I think that we have some guys who can step in and play immediately and be effective.
Diante Garrett has been around for a long time. At times, he’s struggled on offense. Will you need a little more offense out of him?
FH: It is going to be a huge year for Diante. I am going to be relying on him a lot and he is going to be playing a ton of minutes. Diante has been working tirelessly on his shot. He has been coming in here and working with the shooting gun, getting in extra shots and working with our managers. He is getting in here and doing the work. He has shot the ball very well in the Capital City League. The thing about Diante, my job will be to put in a spacing plan to allow us to play to his strengths. We need to allow him to get into the paint. He is very crafty with his dribble. He can make plays for his teammates. He has the size and ability to finish at the rim. I have always liked Diante as a player. From watching him the last couple of years form a scouting perspective in the NBA, he is the type of kid with his size and versatility, he can play at the next level. It is up for me to put in a spacing plan that will allow us to use his strengths the most.
What has your swing of emotions been like over the last few weeks with all of this conference realignment stuff going on?
FH: Obviously I was very excited about getting the opportunity to coach at my alma matter. It is my dream job. When Jamie Pollard came up to my house after he called me when Greg McDermott had taken the Creighton job, it was a dream come true. My wife and I both grew up in Ames. We had great experiences here. I won a state championship at Ames High School and went on to have four great years at Iowa State. The opportunity to come back here was very exciting for me. Then, all of that conference talk started just a couple of weeks after I had taken the job. I’ll be honest with you. I was nervous. You just didn’t know what was going to happen, even though our athletic director Jamie Pollard did a good job of keeping us in the loop on what was happening and he thought it would work out. But you read so many things. It is hard to figure out what to believe. But it worked out for the best. The opportunity to keep the Big 12 Conference in tact, which I thought was the best basketball conference in the country last year.
How was it that you were able to land Bobby Lutz as an assistant coach?
FH: Well I will just start out by saying that I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to bring Bobby Lutz onto my staff. He is a tremendous coach. Of his 12 years at the University of Charlotte, he was in the postseason eight times, in the NCAA Tournament five. He got fired after winning 19 games last year. Just to bring somebody with his pedigree is very exciting for me. He can help me navigate through these first few years of coaching with his experience. I did not have a prior relationship with Coach Lutz. The NBA is a very close-knit community. A number of the guys who I was on the road with scouting players on a nightly basis, were former college assistants. I have been leaning on those guys a lot and talking to them. They all told me that if I could get Bobby Lutz on my staff, I need to do that, if he was interested in coming. So I gave him a call. He was interested in coming up to check out Ames and look at the situation and how we are going to be and what our roster looked like. For him, he was excited about the opportunity to come here and have a very active voice in practice and games and game preparation for us and just to be a coach. That is something that he loves to do. I am going to lean on him very heavily, especially very early on in my career.