Fred Hoiberg

Fred Hoiberg, contract buyouts, and a shot at the NBA?

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When dealing with head coaching contracts these days, the key number to look for isn’t the number of years that he signs for.

It’s the buyout.

Rare is the case when a coach actually lives out the entirety of his contract. Usually, he leaves for a better job or ends up getting fired, which is why that buyout number becomes so important. How expensive will it be to make a change?

Fred Hoiberg is a perfect example. He signed a 10-year, $20 million contract extension with Iowa State in March, but it wasn’t until this week that we found out the numbers surrounding his contract. Hoiberg has a $2 million buyout if he leaves Ames, IA, for another school, which is a number big enough that it should keep Hoiberg a Cyclone for a long, long time. That’s a lot of money for a school — or a coach — to pony up.

But Hoiberg’s buyout if he leaves for an NBA job is just $500,000, which is significant for two reasons: A) Many people believe that Hoiberg’s next destination is going to be the NBA, and B) That kind of money is pocket change for an NBA franchise. From’s Myron Medcalf:

During our conversation in Ames a few months ago, he mentioned that he initially thought he’d begin his career in the NBA.

And I honestly believe that’s his next step. The buyout might deter college teams, but the NBA — he was an executive with the Minnesota Timberwolves after he retired in 2006 due to a heart condition — could be his final destination.

I think Hoiberg is one of the top young head coaches in America. He’s led the Cyclones to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. And he’s enhanced the program’s recruiting pool.

But he’s an NBA coach or executive.

Bottom-line: Hoiberg isn’t leaving Iowa State for another college. That $2 million buyout could be $2, and I don’t think it would matter. He’s was born and raised in Ames. He was a Cyclone fan growing up and played his college ball there. His family is in the area. There’s a reason he’s called ‘The Mayor’.

If Duke or North Carolina came calling, that may be a different story.

But two trips to the NCAA tournament at Iowa State isn’t going to get you a job with one of the bluebloods.

For a guy that’s played in the NBA and has spent time as an executive in the NBA, that may be enough to get him some consideration for a job at that level.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.