Great Expectations

Cyclone forward Dustin Hogue enters his senior year with more to prove

dustin_hogue

Originally published in the winter 2015 issue of VISIONS
Written by Kate Bruns. Photo by Jim Heemstra.

When New Yorker Dustin Hogue first considered the idea of coming to Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College to play college basketball, he thought the school was in Idaho.

“I really had no idea what I was getting into,” he said. “The coach who recruited me told me [Ottumwa, Iowa] was just like New York City. I found out he lied to me. But Iowa grows on you quickly – the fan love and support in this state is unbelievable.”

But that wasn’t the only surprise that awaited the 6-foot, 6-inch power forward from Yonkers, N.Y. (Besides deer running across the roads, which he says has been the biggest cultural adjustment he’s had to make moving to Iowa.) Hogue says he was elated to receive a scholarship to transfer to Iowa State in 2013. Grateful for the opportunity to be on a Big 12 roster, he figured he’d work hard and maybe earn the chance to come off the bench and contribute for the Cyclones.

In reality, what Hogue did last season was start all 36 games, finish second in the Big 12 Conference in rebounding, and earn recognition as the Big 12 Player of the Week and USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week. And on March 28, 2014 in New York City, the lifelong Knicks fan and Rucker Park alum fulfilled a lifelong dream.

As a child, Hogue had passed Madison Square Garden many times. And although he’d wanted to more than almost anything, he’d never gone inside. Looking back now, Hogue says he’s glad his first time inside the storied arena was what it was: ISU’s Sweet 16 showdown with eventual national champion Connecticut. Hogue was home, faced with the opportunity to play in front of more than 100 friends and family members. He knew he needed to step up after the team’s loss of Georges Niang to a broken foot. He shaved his name into his hair. He made 15 of his 19 shot attempts. He scored a career-high 36 points. He was named to the NCAA Tournament All-East Region team. It was a devastating loss, but it was also a moment he’ll never forget – a moment that carries him confidently into his senior year.

That game capped an incredible season that officially put Hogue on the national college basketball radar. The bar has been set high for the Cyclones in 2014-2015, and Hogue includes himself on the list of folks with great expectations.

“I will lead the Big 12 in rebounding this year,” he said. “I’m the type of player who will beast anybody I play against. I’m always going to give that extra effort.”

As for scoring, Hogue says he has flourished under head coach Fred Hoiberg (L)(’95 finance) and found his comfort zone.

“There was a point in my career where I hated shooting,” Hogue admitted. “Working with Fred, it was a process. I’ve always been a defender and a rebounder, but playing on this team I knew I was going to have to score more.”

And score he did. Hogue averaged 11.6 points per game last season and shot 57.3 percent from the field – including 34.4 percent from beyond the arc. His ability to play inside at the “4” position or outside at the “3” spot made him tough to defend – and he’s only sought to get tougher, on both ends of the court.

“I would put Dustin’s offseason maybe at the top of anybody we’ve had,” Hoiberg told reporters this fall. “His body is in great shape. He’s in a really good spot. He’s shooting the ball well; he’s defending really well. And he can play multiple positions. We’ll run a lot of plays for Dustin this year.”

“I think I have to take on the same role this year as I did last year,” Hogue said. “We could be an even deadlier team, and we’ve got our eyes on the Final Four.

“Nothing short of that is going to be acceptable.”

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