Christopherson playing his best as his final season winds down

Jeremiah Davis

Before the season began, the talk surrounding the ISU men’s basketball team was what the four “big” transfers would do for the team.

But what many might have forgotten, at least coach according to coach Fred Hoiberg, is senior leader Scott Christopherson, who has amassed 1,028 points in a Cyclone uniform.

“He’s been everything,” Hoiberg said in his weekly news conference. “As far as his work ethic, he’s the guy that’s in the gym before anybody else gets there. 

“Any time he’s not in [his] class, he’s in the gym, and the other guys see that — especially the young guys. They get in there and get extra work, and Scotty’s a big reason. Because they see how well he plays, and it’s all because of his work ethic.”

Even still, the work ethic and dedication to his craft can’t be seen by fans, aside from on game day. Notoriety and attention have never followed Christopherson, but to ask him, he is perfectly fine with that.

Getting noticed for playing the game, he said, is not the point; the point is to win.

“I think it’s been a blessing,” Christopherson said of not getting as much attention as the transfers. “I never got into college basketball to get a bunch of attention. I just like playing the game. I like competing and winning.

“At the same time, [the game] has always left me with something to kind of work for. It always keeps you hungry. The guys that end up becoming the best players they can are the ones that always stay hungry.”

Going into the final two games of the season, staying hungry will not be a problem, Hoiberg said. 

The second-year coach said at this point in the season, the individuals on the team have grown into their place to fit the team as a whole, which has been the recipe for the Cyclones’ success, Hoiberg said. 

“The thing I’m most impressed with, with this group, is how everybody’s bought into their role,” Hoiberg said. “We’re playing very unselfish basketball. It’s a testament to the guys as far as figuring out roles and accepting those roles when they’re given.”

While Hoiberg credits his players for accepting their roles, his players are just as quick to credit their coach for the job he has done in just his second season as a coach at any level.

Christopherson said Hoiberg, as a coach, is a big reason why he’s seen success on the court this season.

“He’s just given me a lot of freedom, helped with my confidence,” Christopherson said. “He’s not a control-freak. He just kind of let’s you be who you want to be, and kind of let’s you play how you want to play, obviously within the structure of the team.

“He never gets too high, never gets too low, kind of stays on an even keel.”

With the final stretch coming in the form of two top-ten teams in No. 7 Missouri on the road Wednesday and No. 9 Baylor at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, that even keel and guidance has kept Hoiberg’s team focused.

Christopherson, who is playing in his final two regular season games as a Cyclone, has not begun to assess his career, mostly because of that focus and eagerness to make it last as long as possible.

“The way I am, at least, the competitor in me looks at it as, ‘We’re still going,'” Christopherson said. “I take a lot of pride in the fact that at every level I’ve played at, I’ve won. 

“I think [this year] is just gratifying in that, I didn’t go and spend all that time in the gym so I could shoot a bunch of 3s and average a bunch of points. I wanted to win, that was the goal.”