Tom Izzo gave Jack Hoiberg a surprise start earlier this year against his father Fred’s team.
On Tuesday, Michigan State basketball’s coach gave the younger Hoiberg something he had dreamed of when he decided to become a Spartan.
Izzo used his 13th and final available scholarship for the 2020-21 season on Hoiberg, the son of the former NBA and current Nebraska head coach. The walk-on guard takes the spot opened when Xavier Tillman announced Sunday that he plans to remain in the NBA draft.
“I knew with Xavier leaving, there was a spot open, but you never really know if there’s a chance or maybe what the coaches were thinking,” Hoiberg said in a release. “I had spoken to (Izzo) about it in the past, but again, you never really know. It was really cool when he told me. …
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“Coach told me afterward that I earned it and to hear that means the world to me. It’s something I set as a goal when I came here. I’ve worked my tail off and to finally earn it makes it all worth it, the hard work and everything.”
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The 5-foot-11, 175-pound redshirt junior from Burr Ridge, Illinois, bypassed a Division I golf scholarship to South Dakota to pursue his basketball dreams as a walk-on under Izzo. He has played in 28 games in his first two seasons, including a start on Feb. 20 in Lincoln, Nebraska, in front of his family against the Cornhuskers. Hoiberg had four points and two assists in the Spartans' 86-65 win and a lifetime memory for him and his father.
“He has been unbelievable since he came here,” Izzo said in a release. “Jack didn’t just have this given to him. He has worked so hard and he deserves it.”