Holbrook: Forget Fred, enjoy the NBA and its Iowa State ties

Former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg takes time to take photos with students at the Cyclones’ game against Baylor on Feb. 19.

Trevor Holbrook

It’s a weird time of the year for Iowa State fans. The NCAA Tournament wrapped up, meaning there won’t be any Cyclone football or basketball for what feels like a long, long time.

Meanwhile, Fred Hoiberg’s emergence back into the college game has Cyclone fans nostalgic — for better or worse.

While Cyclone fans are either happy, neutral or consider Hoiberg public enemy No. 1 based on his Cornhusker commitment, some minds may drift back to Hoiberg’s 2014 tournament run, his teams’ performances at the Big 12 Tournaments or the one-point thriller with UAB (OK, maybe not).

Regardless of the emotions toward “The Mayor,” Iowa State fans can still get their basketball fix from that era.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Utah Jazz — rostering Naz Mitrou-Long and Georges Niang — square off with point guard Monte Morris and the Denver Nuggets.

It might be a challenge to stream the game, as no national network is playing it (I’m not suggesting you illegally stream it, but I’m not not suggesting it).

Morris figures to see quite a bit of playing time against his old teammates. The Flint, Michigan, natives average 24 minutes per game in a bench role for the Nuggets.

For the Jazz, Niang is likely to see some solid playing time, coming off a career-high performance.

Mitrou-Long hasn’t seen too much playing time at the NBA level, participating in a dozen games.

Half an hour after the Utah-Denver tip, the Houston Rockets battle the Oklahoma City Thunder on TNT in what could be a preview of the first round of the playoffs.

The Thunder feature a pair of former Cyclones in Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton. Nader sees action in most Oklahoma City games, checking into 60 games this season.

The former G-League Rookie of the Year’s playing time has dipped some recently, playing an average of 9.7 minutes per game in his last 10 games and sitting out the Thunder’s last game.

Meanwhile, Burton’s time on the court has been pretty slim, averaging a little over three minutes per game in the last 10. While the Cyclone combo isn’t a huge piece of Oklahoma City’s success, the two could see more time if the Thunder cruise past the Rockets at home.

Not only do you get Tuesday’s slate of games, but the trio of teams with former Cyclones all play again on Wednesday with Morris and the Nuggets scheduled on ESPN at 9:30 p.m.

If Utah, Oklahoma City or Denver are locked into a playoff seed, the teams could elect to rest some starters or limit the starters in preparation for the playoff push.

So if you’re an Iowa State fan still hung up on Hoiberg or disappointed by the Cubs’ putrid start to the season or just interested in some former Cyclones, do yourself a favor and tune in the next couple days.