I’m growing tired of talking about Fred Hoiberg.
Had you asked me three months ago, I would have waxed all about the ball boy days (though I wasn’t alive for that). I would have brought up the house that built him five blocks from Ames and the 1,993-point career in the cardinal and gold; the 10-year NBA tour through the Midwest and the heart misfortunes; the picture-perfect family and the stint in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office.
And last but certainly not least, I would have talked about the time The Mayor returned to save Iowa State basketball. It’s the kind of story Disney makes a low-budget movie about a decade later (starring Aaron Eckhart, of course).
But the parts nobody wants to talk about are the times Fred Hoiberg has salivated at the thought of returning to the NBA (and the fateful day Athletic Director Jamie Pollard reinforced it).
We grow weak at the knees watching Iowa State basketball these days, and rightfully so, but nobody wants to talk about how perfectly that finesse and tempo and shot selection and offensive sets translate into professional-style hoops. For five years, Fred Hoiberg has literally advertised the National Basketball Association using 18 through 22 year olds... and DeAndre Kane.
A career’s worth of warning signs.
But May 2015 will still always be remembered as the period in Iowa State history when the sky actually fell.
I've made a decision this week to stop being the one who tells you to "calm down."
Nobody wants to hear it, nobody needs hear it. Instead, I’ve been redirecting my time and energy toward a different subset — the fans who plan to wash their hands of Fred Hoiberg when (and if) the day comes he decides to leave Iowa State University.
I have caught, and will probably continue to catch, eleven different kinds of hell from those who categorize themselves in this way. But there are several others like me. We are proudly the "fanboys" that are welcome to "kiss Fred Hoiberg’s feet if we want." You know what?
Fred, I support you.
I support you because I’m a guy who has goals and dreams and ambitions, just like you. I’m a guy who has a family and people who count on me, just like you. I’m a guy who grew up being told that the best way to predict the future is to create it — to create my own way of life. I support you because I’d like to believe when you put the suit jacket (no tie) back on the hanger for the last time, you’d want to be proud that you tried everything.
I have it on good authority that my life carries on regardless of who the Iowa State men’s basketball coach is, and I find a lot of comfort in that in times like these.
I’ve heard this brief period in Iowa State basketball history called an "athletic crisis;" that Hoiberg’s silence (about a coaching vacancy that, frankly, isn’t vacant) speaks volumes.
I’ve heard that Hoiberg is "as good as gone" and we should all take turns punching the universe in the neck for it.
There are a ton of problems with this, and none are more maddening than the fact that Hoiberg himself hasn’t even said a word. Not a single solitary utterance. Not a statement, not a tweet, not a sentence, not a damn word.
But he might as well be a villain today.
I don’t know about you, but he’s the opposite for me. I’ve cherished my time with The Mayor at the helm, probably more than I thought I would. And let’s again make this abundantly clear, since I feel we keep missing it:
Fred Hoiberg is still employed at Iowa State and has given us no reason to believe otherwise.
But hey, I’ve cherished the "Hoiball" era to this point and I hope you have, too.
I may have wanted to cry when Larry Eustachy left... and scream cry during the dog days of Greg McDermott's 2008 Big 12 schedule. But Fred Hoiberg is responsible for the only time I’ve ever shed an actual tear for Cyclone basketball when he hoisted that 2014 Big 12 Championship trophy.
You know the one.
In that moment, I realized that we had more than just something special. Iowa State basketball — the one entity I’ve historically been known to place ahead of things like school, work, oxygen and my girlfriend’s birthday — was finally something I could be proud of.
Fred Hoiberg did that, and I’m personally indebted to him for it. I hold this basketball program very near and dear to my heart, and I have for a long time.
And so as he. But unless your name is Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp or Jim Boeheim, moments like the 2014 and 2015 Big 12 Championship games can be fleeting. Especially when your higher NBA calling is college basketball’s worst-kept secret.
I think Confucius said, "You can’t really build a reputation on something you’re going to do."
So you know what, Fred? Whatever you want to do, go fucking do it man. You’ve got me in your corner.
I owe you that much.