Dec 2, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Dustin Hogue (22) drives the lane against the Auburn Tigers at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Tigers 99-70. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State men's basketball: Dustin Hogue has been the biggest surprise of the season

Plenty of transfers for the Iowa State men’s basketball team receive plenty of fanfare and give high expectations each year under Fred Hoiberg, but Dustin Hogue has earned his recognition taking advantage of Melvin Ejim’s recovery period and becoming an additional force in the frontcourt for the Cyclones.

The junior college transfer from Indian Hills came off of a big night against Auburn on Monday, picking up 16 points and 12 rebounds at the half – those were career highs at the time before finishing with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

Despite being four rebounds shy of becoming the first Cyclone player with 20 points and 20 rebounds since Jeff Grayer in 1988, he was they key to ignite a blowout victory over an overmatched opponent.

Hogue hasn’t come through against just the weaker opponents. The forward recorded 10 rebounds against Michigan and BYU, with 12 points against the Wolverines and an efficient 4 of 6 from the field against the Cougars. On average, Hogue is almost putting up a double-double every night: 12 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Not only has he been a force inside, but he’ll take his chances beyond the 3-point line. With two more made last night, he’s buried 5 of 11 attempts.

Beyond the stats, Hogue has been a momentum starter. Down by eight against Michigan with just under 13 minutes to go, Hogue slammed the ball home and jumpstarted a 7-2 run against the Wolverines. Against the Tigers last night, Hogue kept Iowa State in it early despite the first eight 3-pointers not dropping and Ejim wasn’t as aggressive as he’s been at the glass.

Hogue has earned his spot on the starting lineup, and recognition is starting to spread nationally. Rant Sports even compared him to a smaller version of Kenneth Faried.

Faried is slightly taller (6-foot-8). What Hogue lacks in size, he makes up for with his perimeter scoring. Both possess the uncanny ability to jump out of the gym at any moment, and have motor that just keeps running.

It’s a similar success story to Georges Niang. He’s more experienced than a freshman like Niang was last year but that doesn’t discount what he brings to the table in each game.

Hogue’s an absolute beast and fits right into Hoiberg’s wealth of talent on the team that has a shooting mentality. He’ll likely not be in the spotlight as the other big transfer, DeAndre Kane, will be. But he’s been the unsung hero in the Cyclones’ early success in the season.

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