HELENA — After touching down in Helena last Thursday to begin duties as Carroll College assistant men's basketball coach, Alex Hobbs said, "Wow, it reminds me of Boise.”
Although it's similar, Hobbs and new Carroll head coach Ryan Lundgren are more than elated to be taking the reins of the program in the Capital City.
"I'm hoping Boise prepared me a little bit. I've heard it's a little bit harsher for sure. I packed a lot of hoodies, probably every hoodie I had in my arsenal. The main plan is just to stay in the gym, where I'm going to work with these guys ... I'm going to try and make this place my home, so hopefully I don't have to go out into the cold too much," stated Hobbs.
Since his hiring, Lundgren has hit the ground running by bringing in plenty of new faces to the team. Now he's bringing some of his Boise State connections with him to the NAIA ranks.
“A great mind for the game, a great demeanor, with him just coming from playing, I think he’s going to be able to relate to the players very well and give a unique perspective,” Lundgren said of Hobbs.
Growing up in La Porte, Texas, Hobbs always knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a high school basketball coach for three decades.
“It really just stems off of what he started, so I’m just looking to carry that Hobbs name the right way — get my coaching career started, and if I can be half the coach he’s been, I think I’ll be pretty successful,” says Hobbs.
As a high school player, Hobbs averaged 30.9 points per game with nine rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in La Porte, where his father coached high school hoops.
Hobbs would eventually leave Texas behind, choosing Boise State to continue his college career where he crossed paths with Broncos coach Leon Rice, the winningest head coach currently in the Mountain West. Lundgren had previously served as director of player development under Rice at Boise.
Hobbs “came in the year after I left Boise, so obviously he played for coaches that I worked with, so there’s a lot of common connections, and we’ve known each other over the years, so it was a natural fit and we’re really lucky to have him,” mentioned Lundgren.
Hobbs finished his career at Boise State as a member of the 1,000-point club with 319 rebounds, 229 assists and 60 steals.
As a coach, Hobbs had options heading into this fall season: “I think our mutual backgrounds is a big reason why he decided to bring me here, just the fact that I could relate to the guys. I’ve been in their shoes, I’ve been in the locker room before, whether good or bad,” Hobbs said when addressing his new role at Carroll.
“The opportunity to come here, to a really good NAIA program, work with (Lundgren) who I know has worked with other really good coaches and we have those mutual ties, and so just really thankful for the opportunity he’s given me,” added Hobbs.
While working with AAU high schoolers in the Houston area, Hobbs thought he would still be working in Texas through next season, but when Lundgren reached out Hobbs knew Carroll was the right fit.
“I think we’re going to be an exciting team. (Lundgren) has brought in some really good transfers and we’re excited like I said to get the guys together. We got a little bit more size than Carroll has seen in the past, we’re excited to see what these guys can do on the court, hopefully the community can come out and support us.
“We’re going to try and get this thing going, we have some high expectations for this season, and we expect to get there for sure," confirmed Hobbs.