Logan Hokanson, son of a basketball coach, is now the senior point guard for the Thunder, and he will play a crucial role for a Desert Hills team seeking its first ever state championship. But if Turley squints his eyes, he sees a small boy running around with his friends.
“Because I have been coaching with Will Hokanson and Chris Allred for almost 15 years, we have had the opportunity to take our boys with us to many summer camps, state tournaments and region games,” Turley recalls. “Over this time, we have seen Logan, Tanner (Turley) and Trey (Allred) go from snot-nosed kids eating nachos at the state tournaments, dreaming that one day they could be on that same floor as high school players, to now living this dream. As I reflect on all these experiences, I picture these boys smiling from ear to ear all day long.”
Logan Hokanson embarks on his second varsity basketball season already smiling ear to ear. His Desert Hills football team captured the 3AA state football title in thrilling fashion, squeaking out a 28-27 with a touchdown on the final play of the game against archrival Pine View. During the season he played an integral role as the team’s top receiver, compiling 33 catches for 717 yards. Yet during the Thunder’s playoff run, he admitted, “I’ve been thinking of basketball all the time.”
Basketball has been the center of Logan’s life for many years. His mother Tracy Hokanson has a photo of Logan from the second grade that conveys the importance of the game to her son.
“In this picture, everybody seems happy and Logan is in tears. The game came down to a last-second shot and Logan’s team lost. Everyone else on Logan’s team was OK and moving on, but Logan pouted for a good week after that.”
Hokanson and the Thunder went 18-7 a year ago, falling in the 3A quarterfinals to Juan Diego. Despite a favorable win-loss record, Desert Hills finished the season with more of a whimper than a bang – it went 6-6 over its last 12 games after starting 12-1. Hokanson averaged 14 points, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game – the team leader in each category – and shot 40 percent on 3-point attempts.
Turley is counting on Hokanson’s overall maturation as a player and a leader to help the Thunder penetrate further into the tournament. He’s fortunate that a freak injury to Hokanson during the state football championship game wasn’t serious. As a Pine View defender rolled up on him from behind, Hokanson’s first thought was, “my ankle is broken.”
It was only a sprain. He was expected to miss two or three weeks, and would be plenty ready for the Region 9 portion of the schedule. Count Turley as one of many folks around the program who felt relieved.
“Logan brings many positive things to our team,” Turley says. “He has a very positive personality and has so much fun playing ball with his teammates. Logan is a very skilled and athletic point guard that can score in multiple ways. He has improved his ability to create offense for his teammates and he enjoys their success. I appreciate his desire to be great on the defensive end as well. He helps to bring a confidence to this team that we can compete with anyone.”
Hokanson doesn’t let his lack of size (5-10, 160 pounds) deter him from getting to the bucket. He’s equally comfortable taking it inside– at 5-10, he can dunk – as he is pulling up from 3-point range.
“I like to cause havoc in the paint, because when you get in there somebody has to help, so someone gets open,” Hokanson explains. “I usually can tell what’s going to happen before it’s going to happen. It’s instinct.”
Hokanson was disappointed at the team’s finish in the state tournament a year ago – “I think we should have gone a lot farther – which fuels his desirable to make better memories this season. “It’s crazy. I’ve been playing my whole life and going to practices with my dad since I was a little kid, and now I’m a senior trying to make my own mark.”
Hokanson says he would like to continue his basketball career after high school. Both his parents played collegiate athletics – his father basketball, his mother volleyball – but he has no idea where he might play. For people who remember the little boy not much bigger than the basketball he was trying to dribble, the transition seems swift – yet not surprising.
“I love his desire to compete and win,” Turley says. “Logan has a high degree of confidence that has been established over the years because of hard work and dedication to his craft. He has set goals and made many sacrifices in his young life, spending unbelievable hours developing as a complete basketball player. Another strength that Logan possesses is the joy and happiness he expresses for the success of his teammates. He has a good heart and wants others to experience success as well. We have a saying on our team: ‘Lift and Build Each Other.’ Logan expresses this often.” • HSSI