By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
It’s been a slow week here at my CycloneFanatic.com home office. We’re at that slow time of year in college athletics. Nothing is going on.
(Insert pirate face here.)
What a week! The Mayor is back in town. Obviously, the majority of this week’s questions revolve around that topic. I’m excited to get going with this edition of the CycloneFanatic.com Mailbag. I apologize for it being a few days late but come on, you all know why.
IcSyU writes: JP thus far….What grade do you give him and why?
CW: I have a rule with this type of question. I never give A’s to anyone. We should all strive to be better, no matter what we do in life right? That’s how I look at it at least. Jamie certainly has plenty of critics out there and probably rightfully so. I am more of a big picture guy though. I look at more than just his hires of Gene Chizik and Greg McDermott. I look at what he has brought to Iowa State University as a whole. He’s raised a lot of money and brought facilities to Ames that past coaches could have only dreamed of. But I think the biggest thing that Jamie has given Iowa State is a consistent face. Should an athletic director be the face of an athletic department? That’s debatable. But Jamie hasn’t had much of a choice over the past five years. When times were bad, Jamie Pollard stayed true to his colors. He’s outspoken. He’s sometimes brash. A lot of times, you’ll disagree with what he says or does. But with Jamie Pollard, you’re always guaranteed one thing. He’s going to stay true to himself. He’s going to be himself and that’s why I’m glad he’s on our team. He has a vision. Be it the billboards in Iowa City, the ticket stunt a few years ago or keeping it real with that one fan via e-mail in March. Jamie Pollard is always going to be Jamie Pollard and nobody else. I love that. So I give him a B+.
CyclonePride writes: Do you think the hiring of Fred Hoiberg will help put momentum behind the effort to honor Johnny Orr, in spirit, financially, or both?
CW: I think so. Nobody reveres Johnny Orr more than Fred Hoiberg. Actually, yesterday on KXNO, Jim Hallihan told Keith Murphy that he was “confident” that “Johnny Orr Floor” would happen next year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see but I’m excited about this. Johnny Orr is a living legend and we need to honor him ASAP.
CP44 writes: How many years do you think FH has to turn this thing around?
CW: Hoiberg has a five-year contract in Ames. I think that is about right. But having said that, I believe it will happen sooner than that, if it is going to work. This is a totally different situation than when McDermott took over. Hoiberg will actually have players next season. They won’t win the Big 12 by any means but they’ll at the very least have a chance to compete. He’s not being forced to throw a team together in the first part of May.
Do you think the inexperience will cost him any wins the short run?
CW: Yes. Of course it will. It’s just like anything else in life. You learn as you go. The best thing about this situation for Fred though is that he’s got every support group that he needs around him. He’s got family, friends, boosters etc. who are going to do everything that they can to make sure he is successful.
Kurimski writes: What ever happened to the where are they now? I know that you did a piece on Jared Homan, but were you going to do more? If so, who was you planning on doing an article on? I’d love to read about Marcus Fizer, the Davis brothers, and Loren Meyer.
CW: Thanks for asking about this. Yes, I’m planning on doing this feature in the future. Everything kind of got away from me over the last month with spring football and now the Hoiberg situation. I’ll do quite a few of these over the summer months to make up for last month. I promise. My plan is to catch up with Julius Michalik next.
Cloned writes: What was going through your head when Walters unleashed on Perrault?
CW: That was one of the top five most awkward situations I have ever experienced in 25 years of life. I had a guy I work with a lot and a friend in Matt and then one of my biggest mentors in John, just flat out going at it. Chris Hassel and I kind of just looked at each other and let things go. It was just an emotional moment and one that Matt and John have both put behind them.
CarolinaCy writes: Any names being floated for assistants to Hoiberg?
CW: I’ve heard a couple of names be mentioned. The first is former Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz. Lutz was the head coach there for over a decade and would bring a ton of experience to the table. This would be an outstanding hire in my opinion.
The other name that I’ve heard is former NBA player Ed Pinckney. He’s got a ton of recruiting connections out east, specifically in the New York area. He was Jay Wright’s main recruiter at Villinova for like four seasons. Nothing concrete on these guys but their names keep popping up.
1) What # of season tickets sales for MBB are you predicting this year? (I’m saying 12,500). Will there be a thermometer?
CW: I have no idea what to expect as far as season tickets go. I saw today that you can get them for 99 bucks. That’s a hell of a deal if you ask me. I expect a nice turnout. I think 12,500 might be a bit on the high side but I guess we’ll see.
2) How greatly do you think Fred’s hire will increase donations and Cyclone Club memberships?
CW: You might have a few people bump up their donations because of this but I don’t expect a massive increase. The economy is still pretty rough right now. Let the Mayor win a few games and that’s when people will really open up their wallets. I wouldn’t expect too much initially.
3) I was asked at work, and I don’t know the answer. Has anyone looked into how many page views or whatever the ISU ticket office has had since the Hoiberg Hire?
CW: I have no idea. All I know is that CycloneFanatic.com had close to three million pageviews in three days. Insane.
Cyforce writes: Midnight madness;
Hoiberg V. Willoughby in horse, who wins and can you make it happen?
CW: No, I cannot make this happen but I’d take the Mayor. I have to say that you know? What is Willoughby up to now days? Anybody know?
Kentkel writes: Two quick questions: In your opinion, who is the most underrated Country band/singer? Which is the most overrated?
CW: Yes! I love these questions. First of all, I could write a book about artists whom I think are underrated. I’ll just list a few.
Number one is Eric Church. This might sound a little bit nutty, but he is my second-favorite artist of all-time. King George is obviously number one. I know, that’s crazy right? But I’m serious. All-time. I LOVE Church’s stuff. He doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion. Other underrated artists are Blake Shelton, Justin Moore and Miranda Lambert.
Most overrated? No question about this. Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. It’s not the fact that they suck that bothers me. It’s that they really don’t sing country music that drives me insane. Both started their careers off nicely and then slowly shifted into that ridiculous pop/country genre. Get them both off of my country stations please.
GeronimusClone writes: New name for Cyclone Alley? I like the City Council.
CW: That is a phenomenal idea. The best thing about this Hoiberg hire is the refreshing positivity that GeronimusClone has been bringing to our men’s basketball forum. It is good to have you back my friend.
Nj829 writes: Any thoughts on Hoiberg being able to put a fence around the borders and keeping Roy Williams away from the upcoming top level players?
CW: You know what, forget about Roy Williams. Seriously…Forget about him. This is Iowa. Forget the nickname “Mayor” too. Fred will be the "Govoner" Hoiberg five years from now because he is going to own this state. Why wouldn’t you want to go play for a young, hip and intelligent coaching staff like the one that is being built at Iowa State? Forget about Roy Williams. This is the Cyclone State. He’ll have to go through the Governor to grab out players from now on.
By the way, every time I think about that Harrison Barnes press conference when Williams popped up on that big screen, it makes me want to vomit. Let’s move on
Stormin writes: Do you think that Fred Hoiberg has been a possible target for HC by Pollard for the last couple of years? And do you think that despite publicly supporting GMac, that JP had told GMac that if he was given some other coaching offers that he should consider taking them?
CW: First of all, every good athletic director has a short list of coaches to target should something happen to your guy. Pollard obviously had Hoiberg at the top of his regarding men’s basketball at Iowa State. And no, I do not believe that Pollard and McDermott ever had a conversation remotely close to that. Pollard had a ton of confidence in McDermott. And let’s be honest here for a minute. Who really thought that a quality basketball school like Creighton would actually target McDermott for a 10-year deal at this point in time? Exactly.
Azn4cy writes: What are your thoughts on the Jeff Horner as GA rumors? Also, to add on, what about Tom Davis as an assistant? I’d personally be a fan, but is that too many Hawkeyes for your liking?
CW: I really don’t care if they are Hawkeyes, Jayhawks or Huskers. If they can help get this basketball program back to the top, bring them on. I think that Jeff Horner would be a fine GA and I wouldn’t a have a problem at all if he showed up in Ames. The same goes for Dr. Tom. It is funny that you mentioned him actually. I brought up that possibility to a friend of mine the other night. Dr. Tom would be a quality asset in my opinion. Fred wants to play that up-tempo style that Davis became a master of coaching in the 80’s and 90’s. It would make sense to me. However, I do not see it happening. Davis is 71-years old. Let the man enjoy his retirement.
Ericbj writes: What are your thoughts on getting rid of Cyclone Alley and spreading the students throughout Hilton? Just like back in the Orr days when Hilton had some magic. P.S. Do the Cardinals take the division by July 4th?
CW: I like the idea of a student section. I think that the name “Cyclone Alley” has run its course but at the same time, I like an organized section. I really feel like the “Mayor” nickname should be included in this group. That or something that has to do with Hilton Magic, since that was kind of the theme of Fred’s initial press conference. I don’t really give a rip about your Cardinals by the way.
Cyman1189 writes: Lakers vs. Thunder tonight… What’s your pick?
CW: It is the NBA and I live in Iowa. Like most people, I really don’t care. I might watch for a little bit though after the NASCAR race. Gun to my head? I’ll always take the superstar. Give me Kobe and the Lakers.
Cycloneted writes: Who would win in a present-day dunk contest: Fred Hoiberg, Greg McDermott or Jeff Grayer? Do you think McDermott and Grayer can still throw down? Freddy looks pretty fit; he has to be the favorite.
CW: I have no clue. I know that Mac can dunk. I’m sure that Hoiberg can. Not sure about Grayer. I’d imagine that he has a few hops left in his step. Like I wrote earlier, everybody here at CF currently has Hoiberg fever. So give me the Mayor.
12alphmacchio writes: If ISU could have any sports apparel sponsor they wanted, who would you chose and why.
CW: I personally am a fan of the Adidas brand. But Under Armor has really come on strong as of late. Nike is too trendy. Give me Under Armor. Those football uniforms that they make are sick.
Yaman3 writes: Chris-Name me two guys who coach basketball and football at the same school that have a stronger emotional connection to that school. I dare you.
CW: You’re dead on Yaman. It is impossible to answer your question. CPR and the Mayor both represent exactly what it means to be a Cyclone. Like we’ve seen with Rhoads, the fans will rally behind Hoiberg. Iowa State has the greatest fans in America. It isn’t easy being a Cyclone. As a kid, being a Cyclone isn’t the cool thing to do. Rhoads and Hoiberg both get this. They understand what we feel. That’s what’s great about the fit.
J_crow writes: If you could be Cy for a day, what other sports mascot would you have a public brawl with, and why?
CW: No question about this one at all. I’d pick a fight with Herbie the Husker. I hate that mascot, mainly because he is the Nebrask mascot. That and he just looks like somebody I would want to punch in the face. Missouri’s mascot is pretty lame too. If you were a tiger, wouldn’t you want to be mean? That thing looks like a cartoon character. Therefore, I’d love to get into a brawl with it, mainly because I know I’d be able to beat the living tar out of him.
MoreCowbell writes: Is Dan Beebe the worst major conference commissioner or what? And why does he seem to hate any school not named Texas, A&M or OU?
CW: I think that you just made some solid points MoreCowbell. Do I really need to add anything to that hard-hitting analysis? Nope. Well done my friend. Well done.
Isufan writes: Do you think a different system and more point guard-based offense (NBA style) will help Diante to really excel this year?
CW: I think that Diante is going to thrive under Coach Hoiberg for a handful of reasons. First of all, I think that he’ll be a much better shooter and finisher after working with the Mayor. Second, Eric Heft made some great points about Diante’s game when I interviewed him on Wednesday. Garrett catches a lot of flack on message boards that he probably shouldn’t. I really anticipate Hoiberg freeing him up a little bit more. Hopefully that pays off and Diante will have a great senior campaign.