For reasons other than a helpful relationship with newest Cyclones commit Jameel McKay, Iowa State fans are bound to love Indian Hills C.C. transfer Dustin Hogue, a tough, scrappy player who doesn't do anything great but does lots of things well.
Hogue will prove to be a versatile player, too, but that wasn't by design. Hogue spent training camp playing the '3' — small forward — but has had to slide down to the '4' — power forward — with Melvin Ejim's knee injury, which will keep Ejim out until December.
"I had a little trouble into it but Melvin, even though he's hurt right now, he's still giving me tips and helping me learn what I had to do," Hogue said this week. "We sit down beforehand, during and after practice."
In an ultra-small starting lineup against Augustana in the exhibition, Hogue, at 6-foot-6, was one of two players over 6-foot-6. In 22 minutes, the Yonkers, New York, native pulled down six rebounds and scored eight points.
"It's been tough, banging low with the big men but I've always played a physical game so it's not too much to adapt to," Hogue said.
Although he's shorter than most conference forwards, at 6-foot-6, Ejim led the Big 12 in rebounds per game a season ago, with 9.3.
The Cyclones, undersized as they are, expect to boast one of the best-rebounding front courts in the conference once Ejim returns. He snatched up 24.6 percent of all available defensive rebounds last season, 30th in the country, per kenpom.com. Stats aren't available for Hogue.
Hogue is trying to excel at the little things Ejim does so well, like pick his spots and time his jumps.
"He's a really good rebounder and that's something I love to do, too, I like to watch what he does and learn from him a little bit and get tips about how he moves to the rim against bigger guys," Hogue said. "He's so quick and athletic."
Apparently, Hogue has several times gotten the upper hand on his glass sensei.
"Hogue is a flat-out warrior," head coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He's a kid that'll go out and get you rebounds ... haven't seen many guys take the ball away from [Ejim] but he took two in a row away from him in practice last week."
Hogue corroborates the story: "Everytime the ball's in the air it's one of us going for it. And I think I win most of those battles."