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Fred Hoiberg: Nebraska’s New Basketball Coach by the Numbers

March 30, 2019

Nebraska has reached an agreement with Fred Hoiberg to make him the program’s 28th coach, sources told Hail Varsity Saturday. Hoiberg is expected to be introduced on Tuesday. Until then, here’s a look at his coaching career by the numbers.


In five seasons at Iowa State, from 2010 to 2015, Hoiberg won 115 of his 173 games as a coach. That’s 67.3 percent, giving him the program’s best all-time winning percentage. He went 23-24 against ranked opponents during those five seasons but went just 4-9 against Kansas — the cream of the Big 12 crop. Two of those wins, though, came in the Big 12 tournament. 

The Cyclones beat the Jayhawks 94-83 in the semifinals of the 2014 conference tourney and then 70-66 in the 2015 title game. Hoiberg won back-to-back Big 12 Tournament championships in his final two seasons in Ames and went to the NCAA tournament in each of his last four seasons, earning four wins and a Sweet 16 berth. In both 2014 and 2015, Iowa State earned a No. 3 seed. 

(That first year, when he went 16-16, the Cyclones beat Creighton on a neutral court 91-88.)


That’s the offensive output the Hoiberg-led Cyclones topped out at over five season. In 2013-14, Iowa State averaged 83 points a game. Nebraska basketball hasn’t hit the 80-point threshold for a season since the 1995-96 campaign. 

With the Cyclones, Hoiberg was known for offense. 

(National ranking in each statistic is listed in parentheses. “OffRtg” is short for offensive rating, or a team’s points per 100 possessions. “eFG%” is a team’s effective field goal percentage, a more holistic way to track shooting efficiency as it weights 3-point shooting. “3PAr” is the percentage of an offense’s overall attempts that come from 3-point range.)

  OffRtg eFG% 3PAr 3P% PPG
2010-11 104.6 (t-118) 50.6% (t-108) 37.5% (63) 36.8% (t-64) 74.8 (40)
2011-12 108.5 (t-44) 52.6% (t-51) 41.6% (t-19) 37.3% (t-51) 73.2 (52)
2012-13 111.7 (16) 53.8% (t-22) 43.8% (8) 37.4% (t-42) 79.4 (3)
2013-14 113.9 (t-27) 54.2% (t-22) 37.5% (t-63) 35.8% (t-110) 83.0 (5)
2014-15 111.4 (28) 54.3% (29) 36.8% (t-100) 36.2% (t-86) 77.8 (15)

Nebraska’s best offensive rating in a season under Miles was 106.9. Its best effective field goal percentage posted was 50.3 percent (Miles-led teams posted one season above 50 percent by eFG and never cracked the top-150). Nebraska’s best 3-point percentage in a season was 34.7 (Miles-led teams were in the top 200 here just twice). Nebraska never averaged 73 points for a season under Miles, Hoiberg’s worst season average.

Hoiberg’s system at Iowa State was as up-tempo and pace-and-spacey as it gets. His teams love to shoot the 3 and move the ball around the court. Its a system that utilizes the motion weave concept (off-ball movement, screens everywhere, back cuts everywhere) to generate open looks from 3 or easy looks at the rim. The threat of the outside shot spreads the defense out and opens up the paint for cutting and driving lanes. It’s basically everything Bill Moos wants and everything Miles wasn’t. 

There’s an emphasis on positional versatility and big men who can do a little of everything. In four years in Ames (the first three with Hoiberg), stretch forward Georges Niang averaged 16 points, five rebounds and three assists a night while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3.

If there’s anyone who can maximize Isaiah Roby’s game, it might be Hoiberg.


That’s the best finish the Cyclones had under Hoiberg by defensive rating. In five seasons, the Cyclones ranked 111th, 159th, 171st, 117th and 109th in defensive rating. If Miles has anything on Hoiberg, it's defense, as Nebraska was a top-100 defense by this metric twice in seven seasons. While it was never a calling card, the Cyclones were never terrible on that end of the floor. 

Hoiberg's emphasis on interchangeability on offense means he loves to switch on defense. Only twice did a player average more than a block a game while playing for Hoiberg.


The number of transfer players Hoiberg brought to Iowa State in his five years at the helm. 

Hoiberg is largely credited with the popularization of building off the transfer market in college basketball. He wasn’t the first to ever take a player from another school and turn him into a mainstay at his new school, but Hoiberg built his Cyclone success on recycled stars, so to speak. 


Four players who played for Hoiberg at Iowa State have been drafted into the NBA. Abdel Nader (2016), Niang (2016) and Monte Morris (2017) were all second-round picks while Royce White (2012) was a first-round pick. Nader (Thunder… yeet), Niang (Jazz) and Morris (Nuggets) are all still playing in the league.

Morris is the big name here. In 75 appearances this season, he’s playing 24.2 minutes a night while scoring 10.3 points, dishing 3.8 assists and grabbing 2.5 boards. He’s currently shooting 49 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3 for a Denver team tied with Golden State for the best record in the Western Conference. 


That’s the number of players who have suited up for the Chicago Bulls since Hoiberg’s debut 2015-16 season as the team’s coach. Hoiberg’s NBA experience features far fewer highlights, but his time in Chicago was marred with inconsistencies in roster construction and injuries. Hoiberg went 115-155 in three seasons and a quarter of a fourth.

In 2015, the Bulls went 42-40 and missed the playoffs. That proved to be the final season of the Derrick Rose-Joakim Noah era in Chicago, as Rose, Noah, and Pau Gasol — all major pieces of Hoiberg’s rotation — left the team in the offseason. 

Instead of rebuilding around Jimmy Butler and youth, the Bulls front office signed veteran guards Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo the following season and asked Hoiberg to make a pace-and-space offense predicated on ball movement and 3-point shooting work with isolation scorers. No qualified player on that 2016-17 squad shot over 40 percent from the 3-point line but Hoiberg adjusted on the fly and the Bulls went 41-41 to earn the eight-seed in the east. Chicago had a 2-0 series lead on the top-seeded Boston Celtics before an injury knocked Rondo from the floor and cost the Bulls the series. 

The next offseason, the front office traded Butler to Minnesota for a package that became binge-scoring-two-guard Zach LaVine, second-year point guard Kris Dunn and rookie forward Lauri Markkanen. Dunn missed 30 games with various injuries and LaVine was limited to 24 while recovering from torn ACL. Hoiberg structured everything offensively around Markkanen, who averaged 15 and eight in his rookie season. 

The Arizona stretch forward set a Bulls record for 3-point makes in a rookie campaign (145) and was the first Bulls rookie since Elton Brand in 1999-2000 to score at least 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds. During that season, he was one of only three players in the entire league to record 1,000 points, grab 500 boards and hit 140 triples (LeBron James and Philly forward Dario Saric were the other two). He was also the fastest player to hit 100 career 3s. 

Hoiberg was fired 24 games into the 2018-19 season, with the team at 5-19. Both Markkanen and Dunn missed the first 23 of those.

Statistics used in this piece come from unless otherwise noted.

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