OTTUMWA — The Indian Hills basketball program has become a veritable pipeline to Division I College Basketball.
Sheer numbers speak to the truth of this assertion. For example, five former Warriors competed in this year's NCAA basketball tournament, with two former players teams making it to at least the Sweet 16. These former IHCC stars can be found scattered throughout the country: Trinson White, Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Richard Amardi, Oregon; D.J. Bennett, Oklahoma, Rawane Ndiaye, Tennessee; and of course, Dustin Hogue; Iowa State.
"It helps with our recruiting," Indian Hills basketball coach Barret Peery said. "We tell people if they come here they can play at the highest level for sure."
Last Friday, if the spirit moved him, Peery could have found a comfortable couch or Lazy Boy recliner and watched two of his former players — Hogue and Ndiaye — compete in the Sweet 16.
To say Hogue has made a smooth transition to Division I College Basketball would be a huge understatement.
"Dustin has just continued to mature every year," Peery said. "He's done a good job of knowing what he can and can't do. He's got a good niche on the team as a rebounder and he's been a great defender for them.
In the NCAA tournament, the grandest stage of them all, Hogue hasn't just performed well, he's thrived. In his first two tournament games, the former IHCC star surpassed his average point total, which sits at a laudable 10.9 points (he also averages almost nine rebounds per game. In the Cyclones' 93-75 first-round victory over North Caroline Central, he scored 15 points and he followed up that performance by tossing in 14 in Iowa State's thrilling 85-83 win over North Carolina.
Yet, Hogue saved his greatest act for the Sweet 16, pouring in a career-high 34 points on 15-for-19 shooting in a 81-76 loss to Connecticut. It was quite a closing act for the former Warrior standout.