‘Iolani center Hugh Hogland signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Portland, Raiders coach Dean Shimamoto confirmed Saturday.
Hogland was a rarity in Hawaii high school basketball — a 6-foot-9 shot-blocker who also displayed offensive nimbleness and deft passing ability.
Hogland’s mere presence on defense and his leadership were among his hallmarks. When he was in the game, even if he didn’t block a shot, opponents had to shoot around his large wingspan.
“I’m really excited for him,” Shimamoto said about Hogland, who is a two-time Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State first teamer and the player of the year as a junior. “I think it’s going to be a good fit for him and hopefully for them. An added bonus, he’ll be playing for Terry Porter.”
Porter played in the NBA from 1985 to 2002 and was a two-time All-Star. He was also the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.
“Incidentally, Terry Porter played for Dick Bennett (at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point), who was (former ‘Iolani star) Derrick Low‘s coach at Washington State,” Shimamoto said.
Shimamoto said Hogland was fortunate to get an offer quickly, since UCSB, another school that offered him a scholarship and a place he was counting on going, decided to go in a different direction with several of its recruits due to the hiring of a brand-new head coach to replace Bob Williams.
“The UCSB guys who were recruiting Hugh and others made some calls to schools to see if they had openings,” Shimamoto said. “That’s how (the Portland contact) originated. Before you knew it, they were calling Hugh for a workout. It happened pretty quickly.
“It must have been pretty tough for Hugh. Even though he didn’t sign with UCSB, Hugh was all set with a solid offer from them. He was going to be playing here against Hawaii in the Big West Conference. Then it fell through two weeks before signing day in April and he was able to pick up an offer right back. Pretty cool. To go from having a scholarship and not having one must have been a roller-coaster of emotions.”
Hogland’s type of game is not common in this day and age, according to Shimamoto.
“Beyond his height, which makes a difference in Hawaii, he was also a really good passer and really skilled with hands on post moves,” the coach said. “With his back to the basket, he can turn and score on both sides or pop out 15 feet to make great passes. On defense, he has great timing and blocked shots and had a big impact on that end. It’s almost like he has that old-school big-man skill-set, but he can move and do all those other things, too. I’m not sure what Terry Porter is going to run, but Hugh will come to him with an ability to be used in a lot of different ways.”
Shimamoto added that Hogland held his own for four years in the ‘Iolani Classic against some of the top mainland players who went on to play in the college D-I level.
“Every year, Hugh got physically better and matured a little bit more,” the coach said. “If he has that kind of growth over the next four years, the sky’s the limit.”
Hogland is the second Hawaii player to get a D-I scholarship this year. Previously, Kahuku’s Samuta Avea signed to play for Hawaii.
Shimamoto added that another player with Hawaii ties, Justice Sueing Jr., signed to play for Cal. Sueing played for Maryknoll two years ago before transferring to Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Another player with Hawaii ties, Marcus Shaver, is likely to get the chance at a D-I scholarship. Like Hogland, Shaver had an offer from UCSB rescinded. He is still waiting to hear from other schools, including Portland.
Shaver played for Maryknoll at the intermediate level before transferring to Shadow Mountain High (Phoenix).
Shimamoto also believes that Kahulu’s Jessiya Villa, the 2017 Star-Advertiser player of the year, has D-I ability and could potentially end up in the college ranks after completing a two-year church mission.