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Could Fred Hoiberg Take Nebraska To New Heights?

Hoiberg showed success at Iowa State and can bring professional connections to Nebraska

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Nebraska vs Rutgers David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After what seemed like a possible cinderella run in the 2019 Big Ten Tournament fell just short, the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball program decided to part ways with head coach Tim Miles.

Miles spent seven seasons with the Nebraska basketball program, a program seeking to join the Big Ten elite that are able to so highly excel consistently season after season, particularly on their way to the NCAA tournament.

Miles was able to lead the Cornhuskers to an NCAA tournament berth in 2014 but was never able to return to the big dance and, ultimately, faced the consequences.

Miles had the talent this season to make another run at the NCAA tournament with James Palmer Jr. , Isaac Copeland Jr. , Glynn Watson Jr. and a talented young Isaiah Roby all averaging in double digit points.

After star forward Isaac Copeland was injured against Ohio State, Nebraska’s play took a huge downward spiral. This majorly exposed how Tim Miles was putting more power into one player versus successfully coaching the next line of defense.

After receiving the twelve seed in this year’s Big Ten Tournament, it had seemed as if all hope was lost for Tim Miles.

A late season wave of dominance came over the Cornhuskers and gave Miles some hope as they were able to pull off upsets over both Rutgers and Maryland in the tournament, but eventually fell to Wisconsin forcing Miles to stay in the hole that he had dug himself so early in the season.

Miles was fired Tuesday after a career 116-114 record and now the search begins for his successor.

The lead man that has been in the talks for Nebraska has been Fred Hoiberg.

Hoiberg has coached both with Iowa State and professionally with the Chicago Bulls.

During his five years at Iowa State, Hoiberg coached the Cyclones to four NCAA Tournament appearances—only missing the tourney in his first season.

He later got the call to the professional circuit with the Chicago Bulls. Here, Hoiberg coached for four seasons, only making the playoffs once.

Ultimately, for similar reasons as Miles of postseason inefficiencies, Hoiberg was fired by the Bulls this past year.

So, what attracts Hoiberg to the Nebraska? Three reasons come to mind.

First of all, Hoiberg knows the Big Ten conference. His son, Jack Hoiberg, is a redshirt freshman at Michigan State. This means that Hoiberg has watched many Big Ten games through his son and no doubt analyzed them as a coach would.

Second of all, Hoiberg has success at the Division one level. As a 38-year-old coach and ex-professional player, Hoiberg led his alma mater Iowa State to four NCAA Tournament appearances and two back to back Big 12 Tournament Championships.

Some may say to this that Hoiberg had that extra sentimental motivation of coaching at his alma mater. But, Hoiberg’s grandfather, Jerry Bush, coached at Nebraska for nine seasons from 1954-1963. The emotional ties are still there.

The final contributions that Hoiberg can bring to the Cornhuskers is his ability to recruit through connections. Whether it be recruiting incoming freshman or transfers to Nebraska, Hoiberg already proved his recruitment success when he was at Iowa State.

Also, with his coaching and playing in the NBA, Hoiberg’s network is undeniable and something that will surely attract NBA hopefuls to Nebraska out of high school, or even while still in college.