At the 2014 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Media Day, Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg talks about the upcoming season, what he’s seen out of Bryce Dejean-Jones so far, and both the upsides and downsides to bringing in transfers.
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First, the coach’s opening statements were about how “excited” the team was about playing this season and what they need to replace from last year’s crew.
“We’re very excited about this upcoming season,” Hoiberg said. “Had a special year last year. Lost two guys that had a tremendous impact on our team — two All-Americans in DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim — which will be very difficult to replace.
“You don’t replace those guys with one or two players. You have to do it by committee.”
Looking ahead, Hoiberg is happy with the group he has and how we’ll they’re doing in practice. The depth also gives him the ability to throw out different kinds of lineups.
Mar 8, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg draws up a play during a timeout in their game with the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Oklahoma State 85-81. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
“I think we’ll have a little bit more depth this season,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll have the ability to play 10, maybe even 11 guys, and we’ll have the versatility to play different types of lineups.”
Even though Iowa State has players with some height that they didn’t have in the past, Hoiberg is going to stray much from what’s made his team so good in the last couple seasons.
“We’ll continue to do what’s made us a successful offensive team by playing with the court spread,” Hoiberg said. “But we are able, with the make-up of our group, to run some more quick hitters and take advantage of some mismatches because of the size of players.
The focus hasn’t been on that though. Right now, Hoiberg is more concerned about the “flow” of the offense and players taking advantage of their mismatches.
Hoiberg emphasized that missing the leadership of both Kane and Ejim will be a challenge this team will have to overcome.
“There was a lot of things said about DeAndre Kane going into the season,” Hoiberg said, “and he was an absolute pleasure to coach all throughout the season. And the leadership he brought to our guys — he’s 24 years old and brought a lot of life experiences.
“We’ll evolve as the season goes on of who will take the role as leader. Again, I think we’ve got a group that will lead by committee as opposed to one or two guys.”
Dec 7, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; UNLV Rebels guard Bryce Dejean-Jones (13) and Arizona Wildcats forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) battle for the ball during the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
As far as what Bryce Dejean-Jones has brought, we know Hoiberg’s been impressed with all the 3’s he’s made in practice. Apparently, one of his skills is also making ridiculous shots.
“Bryce has been awesome,” Hoiberg said. “As a basketball player, he does things that you can’t teach. He’s extremely athletic. He plays above the rim in transition. The thing we’re trying to talk to him about is spacing and taking the right shots on the floor.
“He’s a very good midrange shooter. We talked about not taking a lot of long, contested 2-point shots, but he finds a way to make them. You have to let him shoot some of them, and then he can shoot the three.”
Other notable quotes from Hoiberg
On the downsides of bringing in transfers.
"“As far as pitfalls, we haven’t had any at this point. It’s such an open mind when we bring these kids into our program. They’ve really bought in to what we’re trying to do. I think when you have guys like Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang, and now Monte Morris and Dustin Hogue, you have a culture in place where they’ve got to come in and conform to what you’re doing.”"
On the upsides of bringing in transfers.
"“As far as why we’ve had success with him, they’ve really come in with the idea to win basketball games. It’s not just about individual agendas.”"
On how important team chemistry is.
"“We talk to them about chemistry all the time, and if you’re going to win and beat teams that have more talent, you have to have great chemistry.”"
As a side note, I was extremely disappointed when the moderator had to ask twice for more questions for Hoiberg. Why the hell am I not there? Here’s just a few that popped in my head afterwords:
- How has Jameel McKay performed in practices so far and are you concerned about changing the momentum if the starting lineup is playing very well?
- On a scale of 1-10, who shocked were you when Georges Niang was jacked to the moon and why?
- What do you use in the morning that makes you look so handsome?