On Wednesday afternoon, Fred Hoiberg joined Bill Reiter on CBS Sports HQ’s Reiter’s Block to discuss Nebraska, his roster additions, officiating and some of the brightest stars in the NBA.
Below is a transcript of what Hoiberg had to say.
On what Hoiberg is doing to get the program where he wants it to be:
“This team does lose a lot from last year with Glynn Watson and James Palmer and Isaac Copeland and we’ll see what happens with Isaiah Roby—he’s in the early-entree pool for trying to get into the draft and we’re going to support him however we can. I know how excited he is to be invited to the NBA Combine coming up here in a couple weeks. So we lose a lot and it’s going to be up to our new guys to come in here and fill those shoes. We’re excited about some of the players we’ve signed these last few weeks.
This last weekend we got a very good point guard in Cam Mack who played at Salt Lake Community College; very good getting into the paint, very fast with the ball, excellent vision and a playmaker. Jervay Green who was signed by Tim Miles and the previous staff is a guy that we feel very fortunate has kept his commitment; he’s a combo-guard that does a lot with the ball and plays with great speed. Haanif Cheatham is another player who is a fifth-year transfer—we got him after starting at Marquette, spent the last year at Florida Gulf Coast and he gives us great experience, another guy that can play with the ball in his hands and can make a shot and get into the paint. And then Matej Kavas as well, a player that shot as well as anybody last year. He was seventh in the nation in 3-point shooting at over 45 percent. Our newest player that we just signed today who will actually sit out this season is Dalano Banton. He’s a player that’s got great versatility and certainly fits how we want to play. We’re excited about where things are these first couple weeks on the job.”
On why he chose Nebraska:
“It starts with my family. I’ve got a lot of connections to this university and it starts with my grandparents. My paternal grandfather was a professor here in the history department for over 30 years. My other grandfather coached here for nine years. He was here from ’55 to ’64 and had some great wins, some of the best wins in program history with beating Kansas, a team led by Wilt Chamberlain, and then the following week knocking off No. 1 Kansas State with Bob Boozer. My parents both went here, my dad got his PhD at the University of Nebraska back in 1972. I was actually born in Lincoln before my dad moved his family to Ames when I was actually 2 years old. But we spent a lot of time in Nebraska with holidays, spending time with our grandparents, I’ve got aunts and uncles in the area, cousins, my brother lives in Nebraska so it really always has been a second home for me.”
On the discussion about officiating that followed game one of the series between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets:
“I think it is a little discouraging. It takes away from, I think, where the game is now which is as good as it’s ever been with the talent and the skill level of today’s player. To have so much talked about and the scrutiny on these officials, it’s unfortunate, I’ll say it that way. That’s what’s dominating the press; you see all these talks shows that are on right now and they’re not talking about Giannis’ skill set, they’re not talking about Harden and his ability to score it and his one-on-one-ability and everything that the Warriors do, the focus so much is on the officials and I think that is unfortunate. Hopefully moving forward—it looks like it was a little bit better last night. Those guys have a hard job. They’re going out there and officiating the best players in the world and I think, for the most part, they do a good job.”
— Bill Reiter (@sportsreiter) May 1, 2019
On his former player Jimmy Butler, Butler’s impact on the Philadelphia 76ers and his expectations for the series between the 76ers and Toronto Raptors:
“He was phenomenal in game two and really became the go-to guy. One thing about Jimmy is there’s not a better competitor at any level all across the world in basketball than what Jimmy brings you. He’s always going to give you a great defensive effort. He’s one of the rare players in this league that does it at an elite level on both ends of the floor. The trades that Philadelphia made to put them in a position to win a championship not only with Jimmy but with Tobias Harris, bringing him in, the way that team is built obviously with [Joel] Embiid being as dominant a force as there is on the inside, Ben Simmons with his unique skill set and then you’ve got [J.J.] Redick out there as your sniper. They’ve got so many things that they can do with that team and again, they can go to a lot of different players: Embiid if he’s got it going on the block, they put the ball in Jimmy’s hands a lot obviously in the fourth quarter the other night against Toronto. Good for them to get the split and it should be a great series.”
On Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo:
“He’s as difficult a game prep as there is in that league. The biggest thing that we always tried to do, not that it worked so well, we tried to get the elbows covered and tried to get the boxes. You see Boston when they’re getting back in transition, which you have to do, against Giannis and that Milwaukee team is you have to show length, you have to show numbers and you have to try to get him to kick the ball out. The other thing you have to make him do is shoot and if he’s going to make 50 percent of his 3s, you’re probably not going to beat him. [Mike] Budenholzer’s done an unbelievable job and the system he runs with the five-out spread offense has been so good for that team. You look at their 3-point rate, where it is this year as opposed to where it’s been in the past and they’ve done a great job of building that team of shooters around the most unique player in the game.”
On Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard being an under appreciated star:
“I agree with you. I think he’s as unappreciated a player as there is in the game and he’s just such a lethal player, can go for 50 any night. His counterpart in the backcourt, CJ McCollum, is another guy that can give you 50. He gave us 50 in three quarters a couple years ago in Portland and he’s playing at such an elite level right now. That’s going to be a great series with Denver. You’ve just got so much skill out there on the floor. You look at what Jokic is doing right now, a triple-double threat, he just seems to be getting better by the minute every time he’s on the floor. Murray has really elevated his game this year as well and then they’ve got great role players around those guys. As far as Lillard, he’s absolutely a superstar and should be in the conversation for best point guard in the league.”
Reiter closed out the segment with an endorsement of Hoiberg:
“He’s an Iowa legend. He’s about to be a Nebraska legend. I think he’s going to be very successful with that program. That is a great hire for the University of Nebraska.”
Hoiberg also joined NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz for an interview, discussing how he ended up as Nebraska’s head coach, why he left the NBA to return to college, the challenges of the Big Ten, adding Doc Sadler to his staff and Nebraska’s roster.
Welcome back Fred Hoiberg! 👏
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) May 1, 2019
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.