- 1991-1995: Played college basketball at Iowa State University
Over four years he averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals in 34.0 minutes played per game. He never missed a game while playing for ISU. He shot 56.9% on two-pointers, 40.0% on three-pointers and 84.4% on free throws for his career. He was so popular that in 1993 he received numerous write-in votes in the Ames, Iowa mayoral election and was thereafter nicknamed "The Mayor".
- 1995-2005: Played as a backup SG for ten seasons with three different teams: the Indiana Pacers (1995-1999), the Chicago Bulls (1999-2003), and the Minnesota Timberwolves (2003-2005). During his NBA career he played for Larry Brown, Larry Bird, Tim Floyd, Flip Saunders and Kevin McHale. He reached the Western Conference Finals with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2003-2004. Those Timberwolves, the #1 seed, lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers, who went on to lose 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons in the Finals. The Timberwolves were led by Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, with Hoiberg as a shooting specialist off the bench. The Lakers were led by Shaq, Kobe, Gary Payton and Karl Malone.)
- 2005-2006: Assistant Coach, Minnesota Timberwolves
- 2006-2009: Assistant General Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves
- 2009-2010: Vice President of Basketball Operations, Minnesota Timberwolves
A couple of meaningless but interesting facts about his time in the Timberwolves' front office:
- Hoiberg was the assistant GM (to Kevin McHale) in 2007 when Minnesota traded Kevin Garnett to Boston.
- His final season in the front office was during the first year of Kahn's reign of terror. Kahn infamously selected, not one, not two, but THREE point guards in the first round of the 2009 draft: at #5, Ricky Rubio; at #6, Jonny Flynn; at #17, Ty Lawson. Rubio and Flynn were selected AHEAD OF Stephen Curry, while Ty Lawson (probably the best of the three and the only one with any semblance of a jump shot), was then traded to Denver for a future first-round pick that eventually became Luke Babbitt. At #28 overall he selected SG Wayne Ellington, which basically acknowledged that none of his PG selections could play together. At #45 and #47, he selected two European players that had no interest in coming over to the NBA any time soon. Neither of them would ever play for the Timberwolves, and one of them was yet another PG. No wonder Hoiberg thought it was a good time to start looking for other employment!!
- 2010-2014: Head Coach, Iowa State University
In the 5 years prior to his arrival at ISU, they finished with a winning record only once (2005-2006). Their record in conference play was 24-56, with their best single season at 6-12. They had lost in the first round of the Big 12 tournament in each of those 5 seasons. They had not received a single invitation to a postseason tournament of any kind.
In his first season (2010-11), ISU managed a get back up to a .500 record. Struggles within the conference continued, with a 3-13 record and a first round exit in the Big 12 tournament. They did not receive an invitation to a postseason tournament.
His second season (2011-12) is when the program really started to take off. The Cyclones went 23-11 with a 12-6 record in the Big 12, including a home victory over eventual National Runner-Up, Kansas. They reached the NCAA Tournament as an #8 seed and easily won their first game over #9 seed Connecticut before falling victim to Anthony Davis and the Kentucky Wildcats. They finished the year as KenPom's #24 ranked team.
Sidenote: This season was the last time Royce White was a productive basketball player.
His third season (2012-13) was another success. They managed a 23-12 record overall, with an 11-7 record in the Big 12. They also won a game in the Big 12 tournament for the first time since 2005. They reached the NCAA tournament once again, this time as a #10 seed. They crushed #7 seed Notre Dame in their first game before falling by 3 points to #2 seed Ohio State. They finished the season as KenPom's #27 ranked team.
His fourth season (2013-14) was arguably the best in school history. The Cyclones went 28-8 overall with an 11-7 record in what was an absolutely brutal Big 12 conference (7 of the 10 teams in the conference made the NCAA Tournament!!). They proceeded to take the Big 12 tournament crown by convincingly winning against three teams headed to the NCAA Tournament: Kansas St (#9 seed), Kansas (#2 seed), and Baylor (#6 seed). They were rewarded for their excellent season with a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament. They easily defeated #14 seed North Carolina Central in their first game, but the win was costly. Georges Niang, their second-leading scorer, suffered a broken foot during the game. On a team with only a 7-man rotation, this loss was devastating. In their second game they found a way to come back in the final minute and beat #6 seed North Carolina by two points. In their third game they weren't so lucky. #7 seed and eventual National Champion Connecticut controlled the game from start to finish, leading by double digits most of the way. Iowa State tried to rally, cutting the deficit to 4 with 2:28 remaining, but they would never get closer than that. Despite playing good offense, their defense just wasn't the same without Niang. They gave up 1.23 PPP, rating as their second worst defensive game of the year. They finished the season as KenPom's #21 ranked team.
So, what can we learn about Fred Hoiberg's coaching philosophy from his four seasons with Iowa State?
1) His teams shoot lots of 3-pointers. Each year, Iowa State took 37.5% or more of their field goal attempts from 3-point range. This peaked in 2012-13 at 43.8%.
2) Every player on the team is expected to take lots of 3-point attempts. In his 4 seasons, only 1 player who played 50% of the available minutes took less than 50 3-point attempts. The lone exception was Royce White in 2012. If you exclude his first season with the team, when he had to work with a largely inherited roster, every player that played at least 30% of the available minutes (except Royce White) took at least 50 3-point attempts. Even players who were inefficient were expected to launch 3-pointers. For example, Melvin Ejim shot 13/56, 23.2% and 11/50, 22.0% his first two seasons at ISU. But Hoiberg made sure he kept launching them, and he improved to 24/69, 34.8% his third year and finally 44/127, 34.6% his final season. This tells us two things: First, he puts player development ahead of immediate success. Ejim came in as an inefficient low-volume 3-point shooter, and Hoiberg helped turn him into a league-average medium-volume 3-point shooter. Second, Royce White must have been awfully bad at shooting 3 pointers.
3) His teams tend to play at a fast pace. 3 of his 4 seasons at ISU ranked in the top 10% of adjusted tempo, and the most recent season ranked in the top 5%. The other season his pace was just slightly faster than average, so he is willing to adjust his scheme when appropriate.
4) This doesn't mean you should expect a frantic, full-court press defense or the like. All of his teams were very close to dead-average in defensive possession length. They rarely force turnovers, block shots or foul. Rather, the focus is on trying to force one fairly inefficient shot and then making sure the offense doesn't get a second chance. His teams have had excellent defensive rebounding rates the last 3 years despite not having a single player 6'9" or taller playing 30% of the team's minutes. While his defenses haven't been great, they also haven't been bad. He's willing to concede an ok shot because he's confident his offense will produce a better shot on the other end.
5) By the way, that fast pace is almost entirely due to the offense. His offensive possession length was under 16 seconds over his 4 seasons with ISU, and his most recent season was at 15.2 seconds. Since the defense isn't forcing turnovers, we can see that the emphasis is on letting the opponents get their shot then rebound/inbound and go. Having players that can run the floor on every offensive possession is essential in his system. The quick-hit offense also bodes well for his style translating to the NBA game and the 24-second shot clock.
6) His teams have ranked among the best in eFG% the last few years. On the other hand, they don't draw fouls or hit the offensive boards at a very high rate. The focus is on pushing the pace and making smart passes to get one high quality field goal attempt, then getting back on defense. Last year 62.4% of their field goals were assisted, ranking in the top 3% in the country.
7) This fast pace doesn't mean being reckless with the ball, as they turned the ball over on just 14.5% of their offensive possessions, which also ranked in the top 3% in the country.
And that's about all I've got. Hope you enjoyed reading. I managed to talk myself into Hoiberg while writing this, and perhaps I've convinced a few of you as well. Let me know in the poll and the comment section. Also, feel free to ask any questions about things I didn't cover, since I was unable to copy & paste all of his advanced stats from KenPom in any somewhat readable format. Thank you for your time.