The Iowa State Cyclones are not only having a very solid season but are quietly building a nice Big 12 program. Head coach Fred Hoiberg has done a great job implementing his offensive system and helping his team score the seventh most points per game in the country. Hoiberg has also done a great job building his players’ confidence. There is no greater example of that then redshirt senior Chris Babb.
Babb doesn’t even score 10 points per game (9.5), but thanks in large part to Hoirberg, he has been on a small four-game tear. Babb is mostly known for his defensive prowess, but in his last four games the senior is making well over .50 percent of the shots he takes, regardless of wether they are from beyond the arc or closer.
Hoiberg is just as excited as Babb is, stating:
“Babb is just playing with so much confidence right now. You always know what you get out of Babb on the defensive end, but the way he’s been knocking down shots and shooting the ball, it’s making us pretty tough to guard.”
Tough to guard seems to be Hoiberg’s main objective, and with Babb playing above his abilities at the moment, many opponents are going to find it hard to keep the Cyclones from scoring 80 points. Hoiberg isn’t sure if this is what Babb will play like the rest of the way, although he believes he can if his level of confidence stays high:
“Confidence is a funny thing in the game of basketball. When you have it, the game’s pretty simple; when you don’t have it, it’s hard to dribble that ball across half court.”
“Chris is playing with a ton of confidence right now.”
Playing with confidence is not lost on Babb either. While the attention was on him, Babb humbly deflected some of the confidence questions and gave his entire team credit:
“Confidence is a good thing in basketball, and once you get on a roll, you just kind of keep shooting them. I think everybody on the team is kind of feeling like everybody’s shots are going in.”
“It’s a good feeling for us.”
I am really high on this team and the program going forward. Hoiberg is doing a tremendous job making the Cyclones a player in the Big 12. While Babb is only available to help this one year, I think he and Hoiberg are going to learn a lot from each other down the stretch. Hoiberg will see that a player can play above his abilities with some confidence. Babb, well he will learn to walk with confidence for the rest of his life, regardless of what his future holds.
Not that bad for a couple of guys nobody has ever heard of. Well, you might have heard of Hoiberg, he was an average NBA player who is now helping an irrelevant program become relevant. Again, not too shabby.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone