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Jack Hoiberg’s dream leads him to Michigan State
“It never really felt right,” Jack Hoiberg said of his decision to commit to South Dakota for golf.
He has basketball in his blood. His father Fred Hoiberg starred at Iowa State, played 10 years in the NBA, returned to lead the Cyclones to 4 straight NCAA Tournament berths as head coach and now coaches the Chicago Bulls.
The junior Hoiberg has similar aspirations. He plans to major in sports management and potentially get into coaching one day. The logical next step, it seems, would be to chase his longtime dream of playing college basketball. He’ll do that as a preferred walk-on at Michigan State.
— Jack Hoiberg (@JackHoiberg) April 15, 2017
“My goal is to get into the game of basketball afterward, whether it’s playing, coaching or whatever,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll see where it takes me.”
The opportunity arose, unsurprisingly, through his Bulls connection. Associate head coach Jim Boylen knew that Hoiberg wanted to pursue college basketball and brought up Michigan State. He had worked two separate stints as an assistant with the Spartans — once under MSU coach Tom Izzo and once along side him when Izzo was an assistant coach.
Hoiberg, a 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 15 points per game for Hinsdale (Ill.) Central as a senior, sent highlight tapes to the Spartans and set up a visit. He traveled to East Lansing during mid-February, where he had a chance to see his future teammates practice.
“I love the energy that they had,” he said. “Everyone was talking. It looked really lively. Everyone was into it. That’s kind of what I wanted, so it was cool to see that.”
Apart from brief pleasantries, Hoiberg didn’t spend much time with the players. He toured campus with director of basketball operations David Thomas and sat down with Izzo to discuss his aspirations and what to expect as a walk-on.
Hoiberg had been talking to other schools at different levels, but he said the “family atmosphere” at Michigan State separated it from the rest. His parents didn’t have a particularly large influence in the choice, and he hasn’t consulted Bulls guard and former MSU star Denzel Valentine. The decision was his own.
“I’ve always had the dream of playing college basketball,” Hoiberg said, “and I got the opportunity, so I took it.”
Asked to describe himself as a player, he brought up three attributes: his high basketball IQ, scrappiness and willingness to do whatever the team needs. With the return of Miles Bridges and the arrival of the 2017 recruiting class, Hoiberg is excited about what the team can be and is ready to fill his role.
“I’m just gonna work my hardest every day, do what’s best for the team and do what they need me to do,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
More 2018 offers
A pair of football prospects announced offers from Michigan State on Monday.
First, Michigan State jumped in on Minnesota commit Terell Smith. The South Gwinnett (Ga.) cornerback, rated a 3-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite, shared the news on Twitter.
Blessed to receive another offer from Michigan state pic.twitter.com/G7S27Se57E
— T-Time™ (@TerellSmith7) April 17, 2017
The Spartans became the first school to offer Smith since his commitment to the Gophers in early March. The move marked yet another Georgia offer by the Spartans staff, which soon after headed to North Gwinnett and offered another player.
Three-star OL Warren Ericson now has the Spartans in the mix. They join a list of offers that includes Alabama, Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
Excited to receive an offer from Michigan State!! pic.twitter.com/dMYFzk8Qx9
— Warren Ericson (@warericson54) April 17, 2017
More players get visits from Michigan State
Michigan State co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett found himself at Fairfield, Ohio, once again as he and the Spartans continued to court 4-star DL Malik Vann. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Vann announced Tuesday his commitment to Cincinnati.
The Spartans also made their way to the Chicago area, as D-line coach Ron Burton dropped by Harold L. Richards (Oak Lawn, Ill.) High Tuesday morning.
— Richards Football (@HLR_FOOTBALL) April 18, 2017
Burton presumably went to inquire about sophomore safety Sebastian Castro, a 6-foot-1 standout who already holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota and Syracuse.
And Michigan State was one of many teams checking in at Massillon (Ohio) Washington, presumably to see 2019 LB Jamir Thomas, one of the nation’s top sophomore prospects. He holds an MSU offer.
— Nate Moore (@CoachNMoore) April 18, 2017
And 1 player who visited East Lansing
Michigan State had a big-time prospect on campus Monday in 3-star DL Andrew Chatfield. The No. 17 weakside defensive end in 2018 has more than 20 offers from schools across the country, but he made time to travel to East Lansing for the day. He attends American Heritage High in Florida.
— Andrew Chatfield⛽️ (@Drewdrew_400) April 17, 2017
The junior already has a Michigan State connection — his teammate, Class of 2017 WR Laress Nelson, signed with the Spartans in February.
Of course, Chatfield plays for a powerhouse football program with several Power 5 signees, so that connection won’t likely end up being too crucial. The Spartans will have to win him over on their own merits.