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Jim Boylen 'really ecstatic' for Fred Hoiberg's hiring at Nebraska

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USA TODAY

Jim Boylen 'really ecstatic' for Fred Hoiberg's hiring at Nebraska

Fred Hoiberg’s loss was Jim Boylen’s game in December when the former was hired by the Bulls and the latter took over. But Hoiberg’s unemployment lasted only a little less than 4 months when Nebraska University officially named him the men’s basketball coach on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers fired Tim Miles on Tuesday after seven seasons, and moved quickly to hire Hoiberg, who was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and whose grandfather was head coach from 1955 to 1963. It’ll be Hoiberg’s second stint in the college ranks after he led his alma mater Iowa State to four NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons before taking over as Bulls head coach in 2015.

Hoiberg reportedly was looking for an NBA gig but that never surfaced, and instead of waiting out the potential carousel this offseason opted instead to return to the college ranks. That didn’t surprise Boylen, who said he was “really ecstatic” that Hoiberg landed the gig.

“I know he loves coaching college basketball. We’ve had many of those conversations,” Boylen said. “He did a terrific job at Iowa State. It looks like Nebraska is right in his wheelhouse and I’m sure he’ll take that program to the next level. Happy for him and his family.

“Fred’s got a great heart and he’s a good recruiter, he’s proven that. They need a good recruiter there. From what I hear they have all the facilities, all the trimmings for that program to take off. So he can do it, he will do it and I’m happy for him and his family.”

Hoiberg was able to turn around Iowa State’s program and it appears he’ll face a similar rebuild in Lincoln. The Cyclones had suffered four straight losing seasons and had one winning record in the Big 12 since 2002 when Hoiberg took over in 2011. A quick look at the Huskers' roster shows that its top three scorers - James Palmer Jr., Isaac Copeland Jr. and Glynn Watson - are all seniors.

“I can’t express how excited I am to be back on the sidelines and to be coaching at a university that means a lot to my family and me,” Hoiberg said in a press release.

“Lincoln is a special place for our family. I was born in Lincoln, my grandfather Jerry Bush was the head coach at Nebraska, my other grandfather was a long-time professor there, and my parents are proud graduates of the University of Nebraska. Nebraska has always felt like a second home.”

Hoiberg actually has experience coaching in Pinnacle Arena, home of the Cornhuskers. The Bulls and Mavericks played a preseason game there in 2015, something Hoiberg also mentioned in the press release announcing his hiring.

“I had the opportunity to coach at Pinnacle Bank Arena with the Bulls, and I have seen first-hand that the facilities are as nice as any in the country,” he said. “When you couple that with a loyal and passionate fan base, you can see there is great potential for the future of Nebraska basketball.”

Hoiberg’s hiring in Lincoln could be the start of a Big Ten family rivalry, as his son, Jack, is currently a junior walk-on at Michigan State.

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Miami Marlins center fielder Monte Harrison made a bit of history on Aug. 4, when he laced up for his first ever MLB game.

With his debut, he and older brother Shaq officially became just the sixth MLB-NBA brother duo in league history. The most recent? Klay and Trayce Thompson, the latter of which appeared in his last MLB game on June 20, 2018 for the White Sox. Chicago ties all around.


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Shaq used his trademark brand of heart and hustle to work his way up from two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns to a multi-year pact with the Bulls. Monte's path to the majors began in 2014 after the Milwaukee Brewers plucked him in the second round of the Amateur Draft from Lee's Summit West High School in Lee's Summit, Mo. He was jettisoned to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich trade in 2018. 

In 2019, Monte played 58 games between Miami's High-A and Triple-A affiliates, slashing .270/.351/.441 with 9 home runs, 24 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He's been known to flash some leather, too, and entered this season the club's tenth-ranked prospect.

Since his call-up, he's appeared in four contests (three starts) with the Marlins, and is just 1-for-10 at the plate with five strikeouts. But we'll forgive some early-career stumbles. His first big-league base-knock, which came on Thursday, was perfectly emblematic of what Bulls fans have come to expect from the Harrison household.

Yup. A cue-shot infield single. Exit velocity: 44.3 mph. Expected batting average: .190. But he beat it out. And followed it up with a stolen base. You can't script this stuff.

"I don’t know what my mother did, a lot of prayers, a lot of believing, and trust in us," Monte said after his debut on Tuesday, via Bob Nightengale. "We just worked our ass off.''

That much is evident.

RELATED: How Bulls’ Shaq Harrison impacts games, even with limited playing time

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Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

With the NBA restarting with 22 of its 30 teams, there was buzz in early July of a second bubble coming to Chicago for the eight teams excluded to get in organized team activities and possibly scrimmages.

Now, it appears those talks have significantly slowed, if not stalled entirely.

The Athletic reported Tuesday that there is "significant doubt" the second bubble concept will come to fruition, but Friday, that bringing the "Delete Eight" teams into the Disney campus has been discussed. Any agreement — whether it be a full-on bubble or respective, in-market OTAs — would require stringent safety protocols and need to be agreed upon by the league and NBPA.

On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut:

Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association.

How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn't mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it's a non-starter for her.

The league's attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you'd also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL.

And I don't think that's dead, but there's certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it's fluid, and there's nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams. 

In the episode, the crew also breaks down the week in NBA bubble action, talks Jim Boylen and more. Listen here or via the embedded player below: