First of all, I hope that you guys had an amazing Memorial Day weekend. I hope that you enjoyed time with your families, ate some great barbecue and honored those men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I also hope that you went a few hours without thinking about the current situation regarding Iowa State head basketball coach Fred Hoiberg and his flirting with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.
Over the last week, I’ve caught a lot of flack for talking about Hoiberg on my radio show (Sports Fanatics heard weekdays from 4-7 on Des Moines’ Sports Station, 1460 KXnO). Many of you believe that the media is blowing this story out of proportion. That’s fine. Everybody has a right to his/her opinion.
Because of this, I wanted to throw it to you guys for a mailbag, where you would control the content.
Hoiberg questions dominated the mailbag.
It’s the hot story. In fact, other than conference realignment, this is probably the biggest story we’ve seen since taking over CycloneFanatic.com back in 2009.
I’ll label the different topics today so that if you don’t want to read about Hoiberg, you don’t have to. That’s where I’ll start today’s column though with a question from Yoteforever.
ON IOWA STATE BASKETBALL…
Yoteforever writes: The story I’m hearing is that T.J. (Otzelberger) is doing a bang up job of not only holding our current players together, but has received conformation some key recruits still have the Cyclones on their short list. Comments?
CW: I think that T.J. coming back to Iowa State turned out to be a very big deal for the program – more so than anybody could have possibly thought when the news initially broke.
There is a lot of fluff out there about Otzelberger being some silent head coach in waiting but I can tell you all today that is 100 percent not the case. Otzelberger moved his family east and back to Ames anticipating that Fred Hoiberg would be his boss next season.
However during Fred’s absence, there is no doubt that Otzleberger has been critical in keeping this team on the same page during the off months. It’s easy to forget because he’s been gone for two years, but Otzleberger recruited the majority of Iowa State’s current roster to Ames. Even transfers like Jameel McKay and Deonte Burton were Otzleberger guys (both out of Milwaukee) during their recruitments out of high school. His familiarity with the individuals on this team has been important and should not go unappreciated by the fan base while Hoiberg has been recovering from heart surgery.
CysRage writes: If Fred were to go, who do you think (or know) are these "surprises" on the short list Jeremy was referring to?
CW: You know, last week I tossed around the idea of coming up with a “short list” of replacements should Fred decide to go to the NBA. Ultimately, I decided that would be inappropriate considering Hoiberg, Iowa State’s golden child, indeed still is the program’s head coach. I think I am going to opt to stay away from going to deep into this now because of that very reason.
As you can see here though, Tim Floyd is on our front page but only because Andy Katz of ESPN threw the rumor out there. I thought it would be appropriate to react to the national reporter’s stance.
Let’s wait and see what happens and if Iowa State needs to hire a new coach in the new few weeks, you’ll be able to count on CycloneFanatic.com to be all over the story from multiple angles.
Thank for understanding.
LawyerClone writes:What’s the over/under on an end date for confirmation of Hoiberg’s 2015-16 coaching destination?
CW: I’d love to give you a date but I honestly don’t know. I have heard from multiple sources that the Bulls/Thibs drama should come to an end on Thursday or Friday of this week. Take that for what it is worth. That situation is just getting uglier and uglier behind the scenes though. There’s no way Thibs coaches that team next year in my opinion. What you’ve got going on are a couple of millionaires with giant egos trying to one-up each other.
From there, it’d be a giant upset if Fred isn’t Chicago’s top candidate. However, that doesn’t mean that he will take the job. If he does want the gig, I’d say it moves quickly though. This process has been dragging on for long enough. While Fred doesn’t owe anything to Iowa State as far as not taking an NBA job in the future, he does owe it to the program he built to move this on as quickly as he possibly can.
CycloneWorld writes: When do the players start preparing for their Europe trip and if the Hoiberg NBA questions are still not resolved by then, how do you see it impacting the team’s preparation and the trip?
CW: First of all, I’ll be very surprised if the Hoiberg situation isn’t settled by then. The trip is in August. This Hoiberg/Bulls story should be completed in the next few weeks, I’d think. The team begins practicing for Europe in mid-July. I don’t think this is anything to worry about.
JP4CY writes: The Cincinnati home and home will be a great non-conference series. Was there a relationship between ISU and Cincinnati to make that happen or was it just pure scheduling?
CW: Pure scheduling from what I’m told. This isn’t a deal where there was some sort of connection between the two coaching staffs or anything like that. Both programs wanted a high-major home and home and here we are because of it.
From Twitter: @MarkRobb2 writes: Who will be the surprise of the basketball team this year?
CW: I’ll take Deonte Burton. I just feel like he will fly under the radar and when that second semester hits, his style of game shouldn’t take very long to adapt to the Big 12. I think that Burton is better than most fans are imagining at this point.
ON IOWA STATE FOOTBALL…
Mj4cy writes: Will we see a Joel Lanning goaline offense similar to what Oklahoma did a couple years ago?
CW: Man, I hope so. Funny thing is, I remember when Iowa State was recruiting Lanning and this was all I could think about. I’d like to say yes but in all honesty, I haven’t seen the type of creativity out of Iowa State’s offense in years that makes me think they will actually do it. Stay tuned.
Cloneteach writes: Which number is higher: ISU Football wins or ISU Basketball non-conference losses next year?
CW: Football wins.
Cycloneworld writes: What do you think the AD’s expectations are with ISU football this season? Is it a set amount of wins? Is it progress? And if ISU doesn’t meet those expectations, do you think a coaching change would happen?
CW: That’s a great question that I don’t have an answer for. Only Jamie Pollard can go there. My initial thought is that Rhoads needs to go to a bowl game, however if the program gets to an impressive 5-7 (meaning that a couple of exciting upsets occurred or what not), I wouldn’t be shocked to see Paul in Ames in 2016 either.
Sigmapolis writes: What’s the most likely "upset" win of the football season schedule (if Rhoads goes back to the upset special at some point this year) given the home/away mixture, the potential for a "letdown" from another team, specific match-ups, or just some good, ole-fashioned Cyclone luck (yeah, I know, not a lot of that)?
CW: Hoiberg Watch 2015 has admittedly kept me from digging too deep into Iowa State football at this point in the spring but I’ll take a crack at this…
I guess as far as an upset goes, I’ll go with Texas on Oct. 31. I wanted to say Texas Tech on the road (Oct. 10) but that probably isn’t the sexy upset that you’re looking for. I wanted to go with at Kansas State on Nov. 21 (the Wildcats should be down compared to the last two years) but that’s just too late in the year. Usually, Iowa State is worn down by the time November rolls around and I don’t see the Cyclones having the depth to win in Manhattan or Morgantown the following week. I’ll go ahead and give Iowa State no chance against TCU, Baylor or Oklahoma. Oklahoma State on Nov. 14 is a possibility.
From Twitter: @JaredSmith24 writes: Is the Jack suppose to be complete by the start of the season?
CW: As far as I know, yes, it should be ready to go.
ISUCubsWin writes: What’s the most impressive thing your daughter has accomplished to date?
CW: This is easy. She looks like her mom and not this ugly hack blogger! Thank you for asking. My daughter is my world.
From Twitter: @TedFlintInKansas writes: Top 3 places to have a beer? Mine are:
1. In a lake/on a boat
3. By a fire
CW: The shower? Really, Ted? Wow. That reminds me of this…
I’ll go with:
1. On a boat
2. At a racetrack
3. By a fire