ISU's Hoiberg: Social media attacks on players "a disgrace"

Published: February 24 2014 | 2:18 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 4:05 am in

 AMES — Social media snipers beware.

Iowa State men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg takes an extremely dim view of you — as do a lot of people.

“Social media has taken over so many young peoples’ lives and I think it’s a disgrace,” Hoiberg said Monday when asked about recent Twitter attacks leveled at Iowa senior Zach McCabe, as well as Hawkeye Coach Fran McCaffrey instituting a team-wide ban on the popular app and site. “I think social media’s going to be the end of us. I really do. It’s a joke people can sit behind their computer and take a stab at a young kid that’s out there doing the best that he can.”

Case in point: Cyclone freshman Matt Thomas.

Earlier in the season when he struggled with his shot, a smattering of e-critics clicked slings and arrows his direction.

Hoiberg defended Thomas then while advising him to “shut down” his Twitter activities.

Thomas acknowledged the hurtful detractors and played on.

“You just kind of have to block out some of that negativity and just worry about what you have to do on the court,” Thomas said at the time.

That’s doesn’t mean Hoiberg or anyone else has to like it.

Or tolerate it.

Or refrain from speaking out against it.

“These people behind these computers want to make slick comments and they have no idea,” said ISU forward Georges Niang, who’s adept at firing back at those who take aim at him from long range when the situation suits him. “We’re not getting paid to do this, you know what I mean? If someone makes a mistake, we didn’t want to make the mistake. Fans are going to be fans. They’re never going to affect my game or what I do on the court so I try to pay little or no attention to it.”

Niang did take note of what’s happened at Iowa recently, though.

“That’s actually crazy,” Niang said. “Zach McCabe didn’t mean for the ball to slip out of his hand, you know? Then I heard he had to delete his Twitter after some crazy Tweet he sent out. I feel bad for the kid, because he didn’t mean for that happen, but, I mean, Iowa fans are some hard fans. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

Hoiberg stressed that social media has become an outlet for some of the more uncouth among us everywhere.

He also said that if such rapid-fire, no-consequences avenues to criticism had existed when he played, he would have had a hard time dealing with its effects.

“I would not have been able to function with that when I was playing,” Hoiberg said. I was so mental that I would have taken to heart everything that was said to me. And it’s too bad that that’s the world that we live in, but it is. You have to block it out the best you can and try to play.”

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP: Revenge and/or redemption will be on the Cyclones’ minds when West Virginia comes to town for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Big 12 game at Hilton Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (15-12, 7-7) breezed past ISU, 102-77, on Feb. 10 at Morgantown, W.V.

It’s the only loss suffered by the No. 17 Cyclones (21-5, 9-5) since they fell 92-81 on Jan. 29 at Kansas.

“It was definitely a wake-up call,” Cyclone forward Melvin Ejim said.

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