Potential is the first word that comes to mind after watching ‘Iolani’s Hugh Hogland play basketball for the first time.
The boy is 6-foot, 8 inches and is probably still growing. And … drum-roll please … he’s only a sophomore.
Confidence is the second word that comes to mind. Not because he possesses a ton of it, mind you, but, boy, if he ever does block out the naysayers, this giant (by Hawaii standards) has the potential — there’s that word again — to become a real force inside for the Raiders this season. (And beyond). He’s got nearly three seasons ahead of him.
And, let’s be real here. He is not a wispy 6-8. He’s got braun, and in Saturday’s loss to Saint Louis, he ran into the rocks of the Crusaders’ front line. For sure, they let him know they were there. A body here. A body there.
Still, despite the pressure, he performed. He wasn’t lights out on offense at all. But, he didn’t just throw the ball away, either. He was quick to go back outside when he was double-teamed. He missed a few from in close, but he hit one and he added three free throws. He also had a steal and led the charge on a fast break, stopping at midcourt to pass when a fan yelled, “no” or something to that effect. It was a natural reaction to see such a big person thinking he can run the court.
Hogland also blocked a few shots and made people miss with his long arms in the way.
What Hogland looked like, to me, is a late bloomer, and if that proves to be true, ILH rivals beware.
Just by standing on the court, at 6-8, he makes a difference. The hustle and the effort he already possesses adds another dimension.
Now, it appears to me, after just this one look, that it’s a matter of knowing how to focus on the task at hand. That is, how to take a high pass with a defender on your hip, turn and shoot with the right touch, the one where the ball goes in. That is practice. That is want-to. That’s what separates the big boys (literally) from the rest.
Being a reporter does not make one a basketball expert, but there was something Hogland showed on Saturday night that screamed of potential. Excellence?