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Fred Hoiberg’s final press conference at Iowa State (VIDEO)

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On Friday, Fred Hoiberg held his final press conference at Iowa State.

After much speculation, Hoiberg became the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls earlier this week, agreeing to a five-year, $25 million deal. While he inherits a championship-caliber team, Hoiberg leaves behind a preseason top-5 team back in his hometown of Ames, Iowa.

“Obviously, I would have been very happy being here my entire career and I wasn’t lying about that,” Hoiberg said. “I really would have. I’ve counted. Eleven teams have called me over the last three years and I’ve never really let them get anywhere, except for this last one.”

With Georges Niang, Monte Morris, Naz Long and Jameel McKay back, Iowa State is considered the No. 4 overall team in College Basketball Talk‘s Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings. The focus now shifts to who will coach a team with such lofty expectations for the 2015-16 season. Many have speculated that Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzelberger, who rejoined the coaching staff in April, would be Hoiberg’s successor, although, Hoiberg is leaving the decision-making process up to athletic director Jamie Pollard.

“There’s been rumors that T.J. was brought back to be my successor, that’s not true. That’s absolutely not the case,” Hoiberg said. “I brought T.J. back because of a great amount of success I have for him and the great job that he did for me in my early years here. I think T.J. will be a terrific coach, there’s no doubt in my mind. But again, Jamie is the guy I am confident will make the right hire.

Fred Hoiberg had a  115–56 (49–39 Big 12) record in five seasons with the Cyclones.

Reports: #FredHoibergWatch takes another step forward

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According to multiple reports, the Chicago Bulls’ search for a new head coach may come to an end by the middle of next week, with current Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg being the focus.

Saturday afternoon the Des Moines Register reported that the Bulls could introduce Hoiberg as its new head coach as soon as Tuesday, with Wednesday being a possibility as well. Also, ESPN.com reported that the two sides are working on a five-year contract that would bring Hoiberg back to the franchise that he played for from 1999 to 2003.

The following was written in the Des Moines Register about a possible timeline:

If Tuesday is the day for either a press conference or just an announcement, and the sources say it also could be Wednesday at the latest, then that means the first time Hoiberg could address his entire team is late this week. The players, most of whom left campus after the spring semester ended, are expected back by Friday.

Hoiberg also has a close relationship with Bulls general manager Gar Forman, with the relationship between the head coach and front office being the biggest reason why the franchise fired Tom Thibodeau.

Hoiberg’s name has come up in regards to the Chicago Bulls’ job for quiet some time, and its long been his desire to one day coach at the NBA level. Moving now to a team that has talented pieces, led by Derrick Rose, would obviously aid in his transition to the NBA from a coaching standpoint. According to multiple reports Friday, Hoiberg also interviewed with the Orlando Magic earlier this month with the franchise ultimately settling on Scott Skiles as its new head coach.

Also of note is the fact that he’ll be leaving a very good team in Ames, one led by Georges Niang and Monte Morris that’s expected to contend both in the Big 12 and nationally in 2015-16. That should help Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard in his search should he have to find a new head coach.

And while reports aren’t the same as a “sure thing,” it’s looking as if Pollard will have to find a new leader for his basketball program. Among the names that have surfaced are current Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzlberger and Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, with Hornacek restating his commitment to the Suns earlier this week.

#FredHoibergWatch officially commences today, as Bulls fire Thibodeau

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source: AP
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On Thursday morning, the Chicago Bulls announced that had fired head coach Tom Thibodeau in a statement that was a scathing indictment on just how fractured the relationship between the two sides had become.

“When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture.”

That lack of a relationship between Thibs and the Chicago front office is the only way to justify why the Bulls would be willing to part with a coach that had gone 255-139 in five seasons as a head coach, reaching the postseason in each of those five seasons despite playing without MVP point guard Derrick Rose for roughly half of his tenure. In other words, the Bulls are a good basketball team, one that is capable of winning in the NBA immediately. A healthy Rose plus all-star caliber players in Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah is enough to make them a contender to win the East, which is why the job is so appealing.

And it’s the biggest reason why so many in the basketball community believe that Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg will be the man to replace Thibs.

Hoiberg has always envisioned himself as an “NBA guy”, which makes sense seeing as he played in the league for a decade and went straight into a job in the front office when his heart issues ended his career. He understands how to manage talent — there’s a reason that so many transfers thrived under Hoiberg — and is as brilliant of an offensive mind as there is in the collegiate ranks.

The Bulls know this, which is why they want him. And if Hoiberg is ever going to make the jump to the next level, he’ll likely never find himself in a better position that this. It’s the same reason Billy Donovan left the friendly confines of Florida for a gig with Oklahoma City.

When a chance to win immediately in the NBA presents itself, you take that chance.

The people of Ames know this. It’s why they’ve been dreading this moment since the first reports of turmoil in Chicago’s front office.

They’re all waiting to see whether or not Hoiberg says yes.

And if he does say yes, which is what everyone that I’ve spoken to thinks he will do, it will create the most enticing job opening of college basketball’s coaching carousel.

Because the Cyclones are built to win immediately.They’re going to be a consensus top ten team when the preseason polls are officially released. They’re currently the No. 4 team in the NBCSports.com preseason top 25, and in a year where there is no consensus favorite, they’re very much a contender to end Kansas’ reign atop the Big 12, to make a Final Four and to win a national title.

And they’ll be looking to hire a coach.

That rarely happens.

Ever.

Bill Self took over a top ten team when he replaced Roy Williams at Kansas. Bill Guthridge took over a top ten team when he replaced Dean Smith at North Carolina. Tubby Smith took over a top ten team when he replaced Rick Pitino at Kentucky.

In other words, it happens when you replace a Hall of Famer at a blueblood program.

Hoiberg is not a Hall of Famer (yet, he’s still young). Iowa State is not a blueblood program. But assuming The Mayor does bolt for Chicago, that’s how good the situation is that his replacement will be walking into.

That replacement — the early favorite is current Iowa State assistant coach T.J. Otzelbeger, who returned to the program from Washington earlier this spring — will have more than just a good roster to work with. Iowa State’s got a huge, passionate fan base and a home court in Hilton Coliseum that needs to be on the bucket list with venues like Cameron Indoor, Hinkle and The Phog for every college basketball aficionado.

Those fans, and that home court, are just as rowdy as ever now that they’ve had a taste success.

Hoiberg would be leaving just as the program hits its peak, but he’s leaving it in a place where success, both in the short term and the long term, should follow.

Iowa State AD urges fans to remain calm over Fred Hoiberg possibilities

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A coaching question that has dominated the NBA throughout this season is the status of Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, with various reports surfacing that issues between he and the front office would lead to a separation once the season came to an end. And the name that has come up on multiple occasions regarding a possible replacement is that of Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, who’s won back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles at his alma mater.

With the Bulls’ season now complete, as they fell to Cleveland in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the rumor mill got going again last week. For some, that alone would be reason to worry but that isn’t the case for Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard.

During a stop on the Cyclone Tailgate Tour, Pollard both reiterated that Hoiberg has not told him of any plans to move on and also noted that this is not a time to panic according to the Des Moines Register.

Later on Wednesday in Clear Lake, Pollard urged fans to “take a step away from the ledge.”

“I recognize it’s tough on you guys, it’s tough on the players (and) it’s tough on the fans,” Pollard said.

It’s been tough on Pollard too.

“Would I say I’m not stressed by it?” Pollard asked. “That’d be not telling the truth but at the same time, it is what it is and we’ve just all got to deal with it — you, me, the players and the fans.”

No program wants to lose a coach as successful as Hoiberg’s been in Ames. But there’s only so much that can be done, especially when the “opening” he’s rumored to be in line for doesn’t even exist. Chicago’s made no move regarding the status of Thibodeau, and while the aforementioned reports of discord are to be noted there’s a difference between discussing possible moves and actually making them.

Pollard also made note of the fact that the program is better positioned to handle a possible change than it was five years ago, thanks to the work that Hoiberg and his staff have managed to do. Should there be a need to find a new head coach, that definitely helps.

But whether or not there’s a need to do so remains unknown. And given the fact that Chicago still has a head coach, that will remain the case until a move is made there. There really isn’t a whole lot to panic over right now, but a wise athletic director stays prepared for the possibility of needing to make a head coaching hire.

Report: Fred Hoiberg ‘top choice’ if Bulls part ways with Tom Thibodeau

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The Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs on Thursday night, falling to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 94-73.

After months of reports, it’s likely that Tom Thibodeau will be out as head coach after five successful seasons. It won’t be an easy divorce, as the Bulls reportedly owe him $9 million over two years. But if and when the two sides split, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg will be among the top candidates to fill the vacancy, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

Hoiberg has been at Iowa State the past five seasons, going 115-56 with a Big 12 Tournament title in his stint at his alma mater. But he’s often been rumored for NBA head coaching positions given his experience as both a player and a front office executive.

With Georges Niang, Monte’ Morris, Naz Long Jameel McKay — and adding Deonte Burton midway through the year — the Cyclones are considered a top-5 team entering next season.

Hoiberg is less than a month removed from open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve.

Kentucky’s ‘Camp Cal’ could turn the season around

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John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats lost two straight, one at home snapping a 55-game home winning streak and marking the first time Calipari has lost inside Rupp Arena while on the UK sideline and if that wasn’t enough, Kentucky went from being No. 8 in the nation to be unranked…in a week.

Safe to say Coach Cal is not happy and so the emergence of ‘Camp Cal’ has occurred.

For the past two days, the Kentucky roster has gotten up at 7 a.m. for workouts, followed by an afternoon practice. This will continue until Calipari is satisfied with his team, that started entered the season ranked No. 3.

Camp Cal started after Calipari was unhappy with his team’s efforts in an 88-56 win over Samford, a game in which the Wildcats only outscored the Bulldogs by one in the second half. Calipari certainly wasn’t happy with Saturday’s loss to Baylor.

This lack of effort, especially in Tuesday’s second half against Samford, sparked Coach Cal to use a “forced breakfast club” to get players to begin their days together with training. Classes have already ended at UK, meaning more time has opened up for extra workouts. However this could all be over soon – or extended through Christmas break – depending on the Wildcats performance against 3-5 Portland on Saturday

“We’ve got a good group of guys, we really do,” said Calipari. “They just don’t know how hard you’ve got to work or what kind of investment you have to make in this sport. I’ve always had a couple of guys on the team that could drag others. We’re still trying to find that mix.”

One of the main issues with the team thus far is the uncertainty at the point guard position. Junior point guard Jarrod Polson was great for the season-opener against Maryland in Brooklyn. But in a John Calipari team, the point guard has always been critical, whether it be Derrick Rose, John Wall, Brandon Knight, or Marquise Teague. That floor general was suppose to be Ryan Harrow, who has been unable to find a role after battling illness and dealing with a family matter the first few weeks of the season.

Since then, Archie Goodwin, making the transition from the two guard has filled into that role.

“I worked out like three times on Thursday,” said Harrow. “I was just trying to get a workout in and I’ll work out tonight. … We want to be in shape. We need something.”

At 5-3, this isn’t where Kentucky was expecting to be, but Camp Cal – whether it ends on Saturday or continues through the holiday season – this could make or break the Wildcat’s season.

“It may be a month and half before you really see,” said Calipari. “It won’t change overnight.”

Kentucky has three games remaining on this current home stand – Portland, Lipscomb, and Marshall – before a Dec. 29 road game against rival, Louisville.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne