Fred Hoiberg wasn't expected to last in the NBA. After being drafted with the 52nd pick by the Pacers, it was common thought that he would compete in pre-season camp before inevitably making a living in Europe. 10 NBA years later, and The Mayor would beg to differ.
I imagine it wasn't easy for Fred
to live up to the expectations created for him prior to his arrival at
State. His Ames High Little
Cyclones had ripped through the High School State Tournament in 1991 like nobody
before and-- for that matter-- after him. Iowa had never seen such a high-school
athlete. He was just as talented on the football turf as he was on the hardwood.
Yet, even though it would have been easier to go to a bigger name program (ISU
hadn't made the NCAA tourney in 3 years) he challenged himself by staying close
to home. And we all know he lived up to and exceeded every expectation. With the
Mayor not seeking re-election on the hardwood, I thought I would take a look at
some of his best basketball moments.
10. In his final game at Iowa State, the Cyclones had the daunting task
of facing the North Carolina Tarheels led by Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. The Cyclones blitzed out to a torrid start, thanks to Fred's and
Hurl Beechum's several bombs and led at one time by 10. But, the Cyclones went
cold and North Carolina had too much talent
winning 73-51 in Tallahassee. North
Carolina would go on to the Final Four, before losing to Arkansas. Hoiberg,
Stackhouse, and Wallace are three of only 13 players left in the NBA from the
1995 draft. Not bad for a guy that wasn't supposed to play a day.
9. In his first year with Indiana, Reggie Miller
came down with an injury and Fred was forced to start. His job was to try and
stop the Jumpman himself-- Michael Jordan-- and the rest of the Chicago Bulls.
And to top things off, the game was broadcast on NBC. Hoiberg scored two points
in fourteen minutes. And Indiana won by 1 point. It was one of only 10
losses in the record-setting year for the Bulls.
8. The very first time Hoiberg
donned the Cardinal and Gold, he scored 15 points against Maryland
Eastern-Shore. He also added eight boards and two assists. It is the sixth best
scoring debut in Cyclone history. The only players ahead of him are Ron Harris,
Curtis Stinson, Jeff Grayer, Gary Thompkins, and Shawn Taggart.
7. Known as the "Night Hilton Shook"
a freshman Hoiberg helped Iowa
State upset second ranked Oklahoma State in Hilton. Trailing 84-83 with only
seconds left in OT, The Cowboys Darwyn Alexander, a 90 percent free throw
shooter, missed two free throws. Hoiberg said after the game, "The floor was
6. After four years with the Pacers,
Hoiberg was acquired by his old coach Tim Floyd and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls
limped to a 0-5 start, and looked like they would lose another against Boston. But The Mayor came
to the rescue. He scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four
assists. Despite his heroics, the Bulls were still tied with 3 seconds. Floyd
designed a set play for Fred like he had done many times before at ISU. Fred
took the ball, drove to the basket and was fouled with .7 seconds left. He made
one free throw and headily missed the second, as the Bulls erased the donut in
the win column. Dedric Willoughby also scored three points in this game.
5. Fred Hoiberg was the Cal Ripken
State basketball. He is
tied in the Cyclone history books in most games played – 126 – with Stevie Johnson and trails only Jeff Grayer for most starts with 123. Fred came to play
every single night, throwing his body on the line. He never missed a game and
averaged almost 35 minutes per game in his career.
4. The Mayor didn't just represent
the state well on the court. He was an academic All-American, accumulating above
a 3.0 GPA in his four years. Freddie was also a great humanitarian. When
Street tragically died in a car crash during the 1993
season, Hoiberg paid tribute to the fallen star. Hoiberg donned Street's #40 for
his junior season. He had competed against Street in high school, when Street
starred at Indianola. This started a trend of Iowa born players who wear the #40 in tribute
to Street. Players such as Loren Meyer, Klay Edwards, and Ross Marsden followed
in Hoiberg's footsteps.
3. In his second to last game at
Hilton Coliseum, Fred turned in one of the most memorable performances in the
history of the building. He made 16 of 16 free throws, scoring 41 points as the
Cyclones hammered Colorado 108-68. His 41 points are the fourth
best output in the Cyclone record books and nobody has reached the 40 point mark
2. Perhaps it was his last hurrah.
After scoring a total of 13 points in the NBA Playoffs in his eight prior NBA
seasons, Fred was thrust into the spotlight in 2004. The sixth man on the best
Minnesota Timberwolves team in history, The Mayor swung the gavel/dagger in the
playoffs. Game-after-game he came up huge. He averaged only seven points, but
hit 22 threes and big shot after big shot in the playoffs, helping Minnesota make it to the
Western Conference Finals. Fred was frequently on the floor in the last minutes
and became a favorite of Charles Barkley. By the end of the Playoffs, The Mayor
was known throughout the nation.
1. Fred was a large part of what
Hilton Magic is all about. He only lost at home nine times in his four years at
State and he played in the
brutally tough Big 8. On four separate occasions top 10 ranked Kansas came into town
when the Mayor was in "office." They went home with a loss in three of them. In
his final home game against the rival Jayhawks, Hoiberg dominated. He scored 32
of Iowa State's 69 points as the Clones shocked third ranked
Kansas. In the
second half, with ISU struggling, Hoiberg scored 17 straight. Later that year in
the Big 8 tourney, the Hoiberg led Cyclones shut down the #2 Kansas 80-72. Fittingly,
when Fred's and the rest of the Cyclone jerseys were hung from the rafters of
Hilton in 2004, Iowa State upset a ranked Texas team. That game came down to....two
missed free throws in the last second. Almost 12 years to the day after the
"Night Hilton Shook" game. The Magic is alive and well, and Fred is a big reason
The Mayor may have hung up his
gavel, but he will last forever in the hearts and minds of Cyclone fans. Thanks
for the memories Freddie.