Hoiberg era ready to officially start

Cyclone Sports Report talks with Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg on his early observations of his new team right before the 2010-11 season officially begins tonight against Northern Arizona.

Cyclone Sports Report: What were you most happy about after breaking down the film of the Dubuque game?

Coach Hoiberg: I would say I was most impressed with how unselfish all the players were throughout the game. I thought Diante (Garrett) did a great job of throwing the ball ahead which is what we are really pushing him to do for two reasons. We want him to either push it up and reward the bigs that ran the court well or for him to draw and kick to create wide open shots before the defense gets set.

Cyclone Sports Report: What was your biggest concern after breaking down the film of the Dubuque game?

Coach Hoiberg: I thought I we gave way too many offensive rebounds. Their tallest guy was only 6-foot-6 and we just can't do that when we go up against physical Big 12 teams. We are a team that is going to have to gang rebound. I have really stressed with our guards that they also have to get on the glass and I thought Jake Anderson did a very good job the other night. For us this is going to be a battle all year long to try and not give up offensive rebounds.

Cyclone Sports Report: When you were first hired a lot of people said that you need to hire some experienced assistant coaches due to the fact that you had not coached in the past. How much of a balance is it using your high basketball IQ as a rookie coach and listening to your assistant coaches?

Coach Hoiberg: Yeah, I feel I have a great staff that has helped a lot but ultimately it is my job to get the guys to play with effort every night in order to give us a chance to win. I feel all my past coaches would say that I was a good student of the game and kind of a coach on the floor. I'm really proud of how my guys have reacted to our coaching. They have really done a great job with effort and listening to us in practice.

Cyclone Sports Report: There was a lot of hype after you were hired last spring. How nice was it for you to just get out there and actually coach a game the other night after such a long wait?

Coach Hoiberg: It was big and I was a little nervous but I got a great response which I really appreciated. It's good to have the first one out of the way and to have actually done it especially heading into our game with Northern Arizona.

Cyclone Sports Report: How important with your lack of depth is it that your guards seem to be highly versatile?

Coach Hoiberg: It's real important that we have three guys that can handle it and most of them can run the lanes and make plays. Some of them can guard different positions like at point guard we can have Diante, Jake, or Bubu on the ball and then we also have Melvin (Ejim) and DeMarcus (Phillips) that can play the two and the three position. Guys like Scott (Christopherson), Diante, and Jake are really going to have help out with rebounding.

Cyclone Sports Report: Three of your four freshmen played the other night against Dubuque. What kind of assessment would you give each one of them?

Coach Hoiberg: Calvin (Godfrey) you could argue was our best player on the court that night. He's an animal that really battles and is constantly on the offensive glass. I just love his energy and his shot-blocking will also be important. Melvin (Ejim) is so versatile in that he can play a variety of positions. He's our small forward of the future but at times this season he'll play out of position at the four due to our lack of depth. I thought he did a lot of good things the other night. Jordan (Railey) has really improved since he got here and he's going to play minutes whether he is ready or not due to depth issues up front. He did okay the other night but we need him to be a little more physical. His game is really growing and his mid-range shooting can really help us this season.

Cyclone Sports Report: A lot of the media has picked Iowa State to finish last this season in the Big 12. How are you and your players dealing with those predictions?

Coach Hoiberg: Well we talked about it and the fact is that every Big 12 coach picked us to finish last so we put it up on the board and I think you'll see these guys play with a chip on their shoulder all year long.

Cyclone Sports Report: You have fifteen games before the Big 12 season begins. What is the most important thing you want your team to get accomplished before conference season starts?

Coach Hoiberg: I just want our guys to gain enough solid experience heading into Big 12 play and I think they will. We have five guys that will be playing their first official Division I game on Friday and so we just need to get experience and to learn from it in order to get better. Games with Creighton, Drake, UNI, Iowa, Virginia, and California should really help the process.

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