This post, admittedly, is a few days late. Other things sometimes get in the way of sitting down and clicking your fingers against the laptop keyboard for what could possibly turn out to be a good story.
This story is about Hugh Hogland, ‘Iolani’s man in the middle on the basketball court. Man? Yes. He’s 6-foot-9 and his boyish looks are turning sharper and older-looking by the day. He’s no longer a gangly freshman or a bright-eyed sophomore.
Oh, he was a contributor in those days, a big contributor. But now, this is Hogland’s time. Let’s face it, even though four years can seem like an eternity, he’s only got the upcoming postseason and one more full season left.
Covering Oahu high school sports brings you everywhere on the island, not just to ‘Iolani’s games, so I’ve only seen Hogland play a handful of times. After seeing him play last season for the first time, I wrote a story about his vast potential. It was about how dominant he could be if he became more confident and worked on becoming more of an offensive threat.
Well, it just so happens I was at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on Wednesday (three days ago), sitting behind the endline and making it a point to concentrate on exactly what Hogland was doing.
He certainly has turned that corner. His confidence was high. The correct decisions on when to shoot more inside instead of to pass outside was very keen. He also made the passes back out when it was the right time to do so.
In general, Hogland took the team on his back and the Raiders built a big lead. Hogland looked determined to sink pesky Punahou. The trouble was that those Buffanblu kept hanging around, and when it came time to seal the deal, ‘Iolani didn’t get it done.
Defensively, Hogland is like a black hole, sucking up offensive chances with blocked shots and making shooters alter their angles. As you might expect, he’s also big on the defensive boards.
The biggest change, it appears anyway, is attitude. When he takes it to the hole, he does it with conviction and with the thought that it’s either going to be two points or two foul shots.
Against Punahou, Hogland had 11 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. What else could he do? Well, for one, he could have hit two free throws to tie with 5.5 seconds to go in what turned out to be a 38-35 loss. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t.
Raiders coach Dean Shimamoto said “yeah!” when asked if he felt Hogland has improved in confidence and offensive prowess. The discussion turned to Hogland’s leadership and if the loss in the game that he was putting his very own stamp on was going to slow that down.
Shimamoto, unequivocally, said he thought that the loss would strengthen Hogland’s and the team’s resolve.
After the game, Hogland looked a bit like a ghost, extreme disappointment showing in his face. He didn’t have time to talk. What could he say?
The next game would tell, right?
Well, that’s why this post is late. On Saturday (today), Hogland scored 12 points and piled up 19 rebounds in ‘Iolani’s 59-31 rout of Saint Louis, the No. 1 team in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Top 10.
Shimamoto was right.