With the late recruiting season starting to wind down the schools without head coaches are moving quickly, and less than a day after losing Greg McDermott to Creighton, Iowa State has moved and hired Fred Hoiberg. It seems as if Billy Gillispie was pushing hard for the Iowa State job, but I don't blame them for passing. Gillispie doesn't have a huge track record of success, and it's pretty clear he's just looking to get back on the head coaching ladder and he'll take any job anywhere, because as soon as he has any success he'll jump to a bigger school. Hoiberg is a hometown kid who played high school in Ames, where he was named Iowa's "Mr. Basketball" before becoming one of the greatest players in Iowa State history, and I can't see him voluntarily leaving unless a really can't-miss job opens up (and if he has enough success at Iowa State to have a job like that available to him then this will go down as a great hire regardless). That said, Hoiberg has zero college coaching experience, and has never been a head coach anywhere, so he's a huge question mark. The reason why I thought Todd Lickliter was the best pick was because he's had a lot of history head coaching and winning in the upper midwest. But maybe Hoiberg really impressed Iowa State during the interview process and maybe he'll be a great head coach. I'll keep an open mind.
Iowa State is a rebuilding job with zero chance of a Tournament appearance in 2011, so this year will be a chance for us to get a feel for Hoiberg. I would say that best case scenario would be a pesky 8-8 team that pulls an upset or two in conference, along with a good recruiting class by Iowa State standards (no coach is going to pull a Kansas or Texas style recruiting class to Ames, so you have to judge the class based on what can be reasonably expected of an Iowa State coach). The Iowa State cupboard isn't totally bare, with a few quality young players, so there's no reason that a quality coach (if that's what Hoiberg is) can't bring them back to the NCAA Tournament within a couple of seasons.