Lincoln – The memories that flash first are happy.
Nebraska coach Fred Hojberg remembers Chicago on the day his twins were born, and of the two seasons he spent establishing himself as an NBA player for the Bulls, and nearly winning the playoffs as coach for Chicago in 2017.
But as the Huskers travel to Northwestern, located 14 miles north of Hoyberg’s old life, on Tuesday, the most painful memories return.
Mounting losses, the speculation surrounding his job, and the stress he endured in Chicago resurfaced at Lincoln four years later.
Now, Hoiberg knows how to deal with such topics.
“All you can do as a coach and as a player is focus on the task at hand,” Hoiberg said on Monday. “… For now, (that means) try to finish the season playing the right way, and hopefully we give ourselves a chance to win. … You just have to try to block (the hype) as best you can and focus on what you want to do with your team.”
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Those sentiments may sound familiar to Bulls fans, who read about Hoiberg’s determination to “live in the moment” at the Chicago Sun-Times five months before he was fired in December 2018. The similarities don’t stop there.
At both stations, Hoiberg encountered situational falls.
In Lincoln, Husker’s coach was hampered by a massive rebuilding project, a pandemic halted season, and major injuries to freshman Wilhelm Bredenbach and his youngest Trey McGuinz.
In Chicago, Hoiberg said Monday that the Bulls “led the league in injuries” during his first season. One year later, Rajon Rondo broke his hand with the Bulls leading the Boston Celtics 2-1 in the first-round series. One year later, the Bulls focused on rebuilding.
Hoiberg’s tenure for the Bulls turned ugly the following season, when he began to question the motives of his players. He described Chicago’s efforts as “embarrassing” after a 105-89 loss to a reduced Celtics in March 2018. He told the Chicago Tribune that his provisional squad was “no excuse not to break your ass” after a 135-106 loss to the Charlotte Hornets seven months later.
These sound very much like his comments after Nebraska’s losses in the Michigan, Rutgers and Northwestern blasts this season.
“We tried three or four covers in a Pick and Roll,” Hoiberg said Monday of the Huskers’ first meeting with the Wildcats. None of them worked because we didn’t make enough effort. If you don’t make an effort, it doesn’t matter what your coverage is, what your plans are, you won’t stand a chance of being successful.”
On Tuesday, Hoiberg returned to a familiar spot with the hope of a different ending. Sunday he spent the planning game from his bed while battling a viral infection. He plans to train Tuesday despite losing his voice.
why? Because Hoiberg considers himself a fighter, he expects the same from his team. “If you’re a competitor, you’ll regain your balance and do everything you can to reverse what happened last time,” Hoiberg said.
This means plugging your ears when the speculation is spinning. Hoiberg learned how in Chicago. He’s training again at Lincoln.
He hopes his players can do the same.
“You just have to do the best job you can,” Hoiberg said. “Because if you let (external noise) consume your life, it will be. It’s frustrating. It’s hard.”
“I can’t imagine playing in today’s game what these players have to deal with, especially when things are not going well. When things are going well … people cheer for me, people are positive. But the other side is definitely difficult. Extremely “.
Honoring McGuins once again
Bryce McGowens took home the Big Ten for the fourth time in a row in the new week after scoring 25 points on Friday against Maryland.
McGuins hit 14 of 15 free throws in his fourth game with at least 25 points this season. He’s picked up seven New Week Honors this season, and is his second all-time runner-up since the award was presented in the 2010-11 season.