Hoiberg putting NBA pedigree to use

Updated: February 25, 2013, 10:03 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

Any fears when Iowa State hired a basketball coach three years ago with no head-coaching experience, even if he was one of the school greatest players ever, have long since subsided. In fact, "the Mayor," Fred Hoiberg, has returned to his hometown of Ames as a conquering hero.

Hoiberg has revived the Iowa State basketball program, taking the Cyclones to the third round of the NCAA tournament last season before losing to the eventual national champion, Kentucky. And he was voted co-Big 12 Coach of the Year. Tonight, his team will make its first appearance on Big Monday since 2006, when the Kansas Jayhawks come to town.

Few coaches in recent years have made the successful jump from the college level to the NBA level and vice versa. I compare the two games as trying to speak Spanish and Portuguese. They sound alike to many but, in fact, are two different languages.

I've known Hoiberg for nearly a decade, and although I'd have to say I was mildly surprised by his initial success at the college level, it is all pretty logical when you analyze it more closely.