The game’s the easy part.
Now practice, that’s another story for Iowa State’s Dustin Hogue, who soars, strafes and jostles for rebounds alongside fellow elite board crasher, Melvin Ejim.
All of the 17th-ranked Cyclones, who play host to No. 23 Iowa in Friday’s 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Cy-Hawk rivalry game at a long sold-out Hilton Coliseum.
“Melvin and him, they go back and forth about the rebounds,” ISU guard Naz Long said. “Shoot, we love it. They’re always competing.”
Ejim, a 6-6 senior, led the Big 12 in board work with 9.3 per game last season.
Hogue, a 6-6 junior transfer from Indian Hills Community College, leads the conference at 10.4 through seven games this season — and Monday was named the league’s player of the week after racking up 39 points and 30 rebounds in victories against Auburn and Northern Iowa.
“Rebounding and playing hard has always been my role,” Hogue said recently. “So scoring comes with playing hard, in my opinion.”
Hogue’s glass-based numbers dwarf what he compiled in two seasons at Indian Hills, where he averaged 5.9 rebounds as a freshman and 5.4 as a sophomore.
Why the jump?
Credit Ejim, whose average of 7.8 rebounds, combined with guard DeAndre Kane’s eight boards per game create a frantic battle for loose balls when the tally’s less formal at the Sukup Basketball Complex.
“It’s pretty intense in here,” Kane said recently.
Pretty productive, too.
The Cyclones have outrebounded every opponent — save Michigan (-1 on the boards in that win) — despite fielding a starting front line that stands 6-6, 6-6, and 6-7.
“I think one of the reasons we’ve had success is how competitive our practices have been,” ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Even the guys on the scout team have been awesome getting the guys prepared to go out and play, and in turn, getting them ready to play when they have an opportunity to get out on the floor.”
Hogue’s making the most of his chance to impress at the high-major level by adding good shooting to his skill set.
The Yonkers, N.Y., native leads the Cyclones with a 59.3 field goal shooting percentage.
He’s also drained 42.9 percent of his 3-point shots (6 of 14) — an aspect of the game few knew he could excel at.
“(Hoiberg) told me if I keep working on it, just get good at it, I’ll be able to stretch the floor a little better,” Hogue said. “So I try to put extra work in to get my shot a little bit better.”
So far, so good.
But it’s the grit inside that creates the glittering numbers from farther away.
Dirty work rules, period.
“That’s who Dustin is,” Hoiberg said. “He’s going to take them out of a crowd. If there’s a scrum, he’s the one that’s going to come out with it.”
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