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Q-and-A with Minooka’s Jake Hogen

01/29/2013, 6:56pm CST
By Tina Akouris takouris@suntimes.com

Minooka senior Jake Hogen checks in for a Q-and-A.

Jake Hogan, Minooka. Fall sports photo day at Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media

Jake Hogen isn’t your typical high school basketball star. He’s more worried about where to go attend college — for pre-med, not necessarily for basketball. He’s hoping the Indians snap a two-game losing streak to stay competitive with Oswego East, Plainfield East and Plainfield North in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Minooka is in a four-way tie for second place in the league.

Most coaches look at you as one of the leading players in the Southwest Prairie, maybe even the area. How do you react to that?

To an extent, I like to think I’ve garnered a lot of respect around here, but I still have a lot to earn. I feel I can earn a lot more this year and it’s my time to shine.

Do you feel pressure on your now that you’re a senior?

I do, to a certain extent, but not too much where it would hinder my play. It just keeps me driven.

Last year Minooka won 20 games for the first time since the 1970s. Do you guys talk about Minooka basketball prior to this decade?

Our coach [Scott Tanaka] got here about five years ago and he was told by a lot of people that he can’t win at Minooka. He’s trying to foster a winning attitude, so we can go year in and year out and we can get 20 wins instead of it just happening in one year. We want to make it a tradition.

Isn’t Minooka known more as a football school?

It is, and it’s more baseball and wrestling as well. Before [Tanaka] got here that’s all people cared about. But we’re just trying to make it a basketball school.

Is it hard for an athlete who isn’t in those marquee sports to get noticed?

It almost helped me because I felt like I had to improve and get respect from people around the school. You get your respect by what you put in.

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