Jack Hoiberg checked out at the 17:54 mark of the first half of Michigan State’s game at Nebraska on Thursday with the following stat line: one rebound, one assist and one memory worth more than any statistic could ever quantify.
The 5-foot-11 Spartans’ walk-on got his first career start against father, Fred Hoiberg, and the Cornhuskers. The younger Hoiberg played more than just a ceremonial role in the early-going, though. He missed his only shot attempt but grabbed the rebound and fired a pass to Cassius Winston, who hit a 3-pointer to give the Spartans an early 5-2 lead.
Jack Hoiberg told reporters this week that he considered transferring to Nebraska to play for his father, who is in his first season at Nebraska. But Jack wasn’t ready to give up on what he was working towards with Michigan State. Thursday’s game marked his 11th appearance of the season and the 25th of his career.
The redshirt sophomore at one point was on track to attend South Dakota on a partial golf scholarship but but opted instead to play for legendary Spartans coach Tom Izzo. After Fred Hoiberg was fired as head coach of the Chicago Bulls last season, Izzo invited the older Hoiberg to spend time around the Michigan State staff before he accepted the head coaching job at Nebraska.
It’s been a rough opening season for Hoiberg in the brutal Big Ten. The Cornhuskers entered the game against Michigan State with a 7-18 record. But Thursday night brought a memory he’s unlikely to forget anytime soon.