Well, it's May and that means it's that time of year where a healthy portion of the Cyclone fan base begins to collectively lose their minds as Fred Hoiberg's name is continually mentioned as part of the NBA head coaching candidate rumor mill.
To your credit, none of the old standbys that comment on this site reacted much to yesterday's flurry of rumors, speculation and quotes that surfaced from Tuesday's Cyclone Tailgate Tour stop in Ottumwa (and a tip of the cap to you all for that), but we thought it best to get out in front of this and address this latest dose of crazy before things start to get out of hand.
To catch you up to speed, Brent Blum, whom I greatly admire, wrote this piece which surmised that if Hoiberg is going to leave for the NBA (and Brent seems fairly certain that he is), now is as good of time as ever to make the jump. It wasn't Brent's intention to incite mass hysteria within the fan base and given the reaction to his piece, I think the response was actually fairly predictable; long-held beliefs supporting denial mechanisms and snide missives bordering on contemptuous.
Blum's prevailing point, though (and the obviousness of it may have been lost on some) is that Hoiberg has options now and for a man in his profession, those options can often be short-lived and Hoiberg might be wise to jump at the opportunities while they're in front of him.
Fair enough. That piece in and of itself was a bitter dose of reality that not all of us have been willing to face. Everything Blum wrote was true and certainly merits discussion. But what really needs to be discussed at length are the submissions from The Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson and Cyclone Fanatic's Rob Gray.
Sensational headlines from the Register aside, the true shock waves that shook the fans of the Cardinal and Gold on Tuesday originated from regrettably, the outspoken employer of The Mayor - our old pal, Jamie Pollard.
Straight from Jamie Pollard's mouth:
It's that time of the year," Pollard said. "In some ways you just get numb to it. What we all need to do is appreciate what we have, and enjoy it for as long as we can.
Now it's just strictly a decision for him and his family personally, not what he wants to do, because he's made that clear," Pollard told reporters. "(The NBA is) what he wants to do. It's a matter of when he wants to do it.
...wait, there's more...
From the first time I met him in Minnesota for the job (interview), he's talked about that's something he's been intrigued about getting to do," Pollard said, referring to the NBA head-coaching bench. "Now we're five years later, and he's proven he's a really darn good coach, so there's a lot of people who have interest in him.
...this is where the media relations director should have stepped in...
It's something that he's always talked about - that at some point in his career, he'll want to do that. You don't get to pick and choose those moments.
...can someone please shut this man up?
He's always said from Day 1 that his lifelong goal has been to coach in the NBA," Pollard said. "It's for him to decide when that part of his life he wants to activate.
Jamie, if you're reading this (and I doubt you are), I'm imploring you to STOP. For the good of the basketball program, for the good of Iowa State athletics and for the good of yourself, just STOP. You've done a phenomenal job of fundraising, marketing and raising Iowa State's overall athletic profile, but coming from someone who respects you, you need to step away from the mic every now and then. This was one of those times.
There's no need to pull the curtain back as much as you have with Fred Hoiberg's possible NBA future and with every utterance from your mouth about any candid conversations you've had with The Mayor, you're jeopardizing recruiting and doing nothing but stirring up the masses. What could you have possibly hoped to accomplish with your comments to reporters on Tuesday at Iowa State's Tailgate Tour?
With Hoiberg on the mend following his most recent open heart surgery, the Iowa State staff and specifically T.J. Otzberger, are out on the recruiting grind, busting their asses to restock the cupboards that will be void of the services of Georges Niang, Jameel McKay, Naz Long and Abdel Nader following next season and the last thing they need is more fuel for the fires they continually have to put out when talking with every recruit they contact about the future of Hoiberg.
Then again, perhaps Pollard is still under the antiquated guise that these young athletes are more committed to the idea of alma mater as opposed to who will be coaching them while they're in school. Frankly, it wouldn't shock me following some of the more recent comments Pollard has inexplicably volunteered of late.
Now, back to the most important matter at hand; Hoiberg's future.
Nobody knows what the future for Fred Hoiberg holds and considering he's yet to return to work and Tom Thibodeau, Kevin McHale and a host of other NBA coaches still have jobs, any speculation at this point is premature at best. That being said, if Hoiberg opts to chase his NBA dream, I hope you would all join me in wishing him the best of luck.
Sure, it will be the most devastating blow in the history of Iowa State athletics, but Hoiberg has already resurrected and saved the Cyclone basketball program...twice. He has given everything to Iowa State and while all of us believe there are inevitable heights he's destined to take the program to should he stay in Ames, this is his life, his path and his choice.
We are all fortunate and eternally grateful for everything Hoiberg has given to Iowa State athletics and regardless of what his future holds, I hope that fact is never lost on any of us.
(And for what it's worth, I'm banking on Hoiberg being in Ames next season)