When Fred Hoiberg was hired as Iowa State’s basketball coach in April of 2010, “The Mayor,” a man who seems to turn everything that he touches into gold, had as much head coaching experience on his resume as I do.
However from day one, Hoiberg had a very clear goal in mind. It was to load this program that had a measly three scholarship players on its roster at the time up with as much talent as possible, as quickly as possible.
Hoiberg raised a heck of a lot of eyebrows and went the transfer route. It wasn’t like Hoiberg took a transfer or two either. It was the fact that he basically put all of his chips in the middle of the table by taking four at a time, and two more the following year.
Hoiberg filled up on transfers like Popeye did on spinach. Both got stronger because of it too.
Three years and two NCAA Tournament’s later, Hoiberg appears to have started a trend. He proved that this game plan can indeed work and now, its like Fubu jerseys were in the 90’s.
Everybody is doing it. In college basketball these days, you ain’t cool unless you’re taking transfers.
It began with “Uncle” Jake Anderson who came to Ames via Northern Illinois in year one of the Hoiberg campaign. It ended last season with Korie Lucious, Will Clyburn, Chris Babb and Anthony Booker. There was some guy named Royce White who made an appearance in between (Chris Allen too).
Another transfer will visit Iowa State this upcoming weekend. Justin Edwards, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who averaged 16.7 points per game last season for the Black Bears, announced this news to the world via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. And you have to like Iowa State’s chances here too. Edwards, a Canadian, comes from the same AAU program, the CIA Bounce, as Melvin Ejim and Naz Long.
If you’re into technology, nursing, engineering, journalism or anything, you know how this world works. It is all about connections (take notes college students reading this that eventually want to get a job). That is why I like Iowa State’s chances with Edwards but after that, it’s Slim Pickens when it comes to transfers in 2013’s “off-season.” For now at least.
It isn’t like there aren’t players available. It’s just that three years ago, Iowa State had half the competition to land these guys that it does today. Now, when a guy like 6-foot-8 forward Josh Davis of Tulane becomes available (who is eligible to play right away), every coach and his Golden Retriever is interested.
The same was the case for Alex Oriakhi last season.
What program in America couldn’t use a ready-to-contribute big man right now?
Did Fred Hoiberg set this trend? Probably not entirely, but his success at Iowa State certainly had something to do with it.
Back in the day, there was a negative stigma that came with taking transfers. To the college basketball elitists out there, that still might be the case. But if you’re not Duke, North Carolina, Kansas or Kentucky, it sure seems like a smart route to go anymore. You don’t want to live and die off of transfers alone, but adding them to an already sturdy base can make a good team great.
Because of the success that Hoiberg has already had in Ames by going the transfer route, it will make it that much harder for him to do it again in the future.