Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg spent a few minutes on the phone Monday with reporters as part of the Big 12’s weekly conference call. He talked about his team’s upcoming matchup in the NCAA Tournament against UConn on Thursday.
— Hoiberg and his staff watched some of UConn’s games on tape Sunday night.
“First thing, they’re huge on their front line with (Alex) Oriakhi and (Andre) Drummond,” Hoiberg said. “It’s tough to score on them in the paint.”
Hoiberg also had praise for the likes of Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and Jeremy Lamb.
“Their guards are extremely quick and talented,” Hoiberg said. “Jeremy Lamb is a great talent.”
“It’s a great team and they’re playing their best basketball of the season right now,” Hoiberg said. “It’s going to be a tough matchup but I feel our guys are playing well now so we’ll come out and give it our best effort.”
— Hoiberg and UConn assistant Kevin Ollie were teammates with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls briefly and remain friends.
“Kevin’s one of my all-time favorites. He’s such a good guy, such a good person. He’s all about the right things,” Hoiberg said. “He’s one of those guys that the most out of his ability and his body.”
“We go back a long ways,” Hoiberg said. “I’m proud to call him a friend.”
They’re peers in the coaching profession now.
“I see Kevin on the road quite a bit. We recruit out in that area,” said Hoiberg, who has a player on his roster from the Tilton (N.H.) School.
The two didn’t meet in the NBA, as it turns out.
“Going all the way back Kevin and I took a visit to Arizona at the same time,” Hoiberg said. “Lute Olson told both of us ‘We’ll take the one guy that commits.’ Neither of us, obviously went there.”
That’s it from our Nutmeg/Constitution home base. We’ll post (and tweet @NeillOstrout) some updates from Louisville beginning Tuesday.