BY JEREMY HOECK
As hard as it is to believe, Louie Krogman’s basketball career is down to two games.
A familiar name on the South Dakota hoops scene for the past 8-9 years, Krogman is sure doing his part to leave fans with one final thrill.
Krogman, a senior guard on a struggling USD men’s basketball team this season, has stepped up his already-prolific game to a whole other stratosphere in the waning moments of his career.
Try these numbers on for size — Over his last five games, Krogman is shooting 51 percent and averaging 26 points. He tied a career high with 37 points in Saturday night’s BracketBusters loss to Texas State, though his desperation heave at the buzzer nearly went in.
There’s something intense — and at the same time, admirable — about the way Krogman is finishing his career; almost like he senses the end is near.
With nothing left to play for other than pride, why not do as much as you can? He signed to play for Dave Boots and USD knowing full well he would never have a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament, though the program would later earn a Division I post-season berth.
Still, Krogman did sign and elevated his game.
Owner of more than 5,000 points between high school and college, Krogman’s name has been synonymous with scoring.
The state’s all-time leading prep scorer, Krogman finished with 3,521 points in high school at White River — where he led the Tigers to the 2008 state title.
When he signed with USD in the fall of 2007 as a senior, some questioned whether his talents would translate to the Division I level. Would he be able to score against that level of competition?
The answer, especially right away, was an emphatic yes.
As a freshman for the Coyotes in 2008-09, Krogman started all 29 games and averaged 12.8 points. USD was a D-I independent that season, playing a variety of teams in a variety of locations.
Strangely, his “worst” (if you go by stats) season coincided with the best season for the Coyotes — 2009-10, when Krogman was a sophomore. Primarily a reserve off the bench, Krogman saw his scoring dip to 9.8 points a game. However, the Coyotes won the Great West Conference title and later qualified for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
Krogman returned to a starting role for the 2010-11 season as a junior and finished second on the team in scoring (14.8). The Coyotes, in their final year in the Great West, finished second in the post-season tournament
This season? Whole other territory for Krogman and USD.
It’s been a struggle for everyone involved. Ensured of their first losing season under Boots, the Coyotes sit 9-17 overall heading into Thursday night’s home game with IPFW.
Frustration has been a frequent visitor, though USD coaches and players continue to look to the future — quotes about development and recruiting have come consistently.
For Krogman, however, there is no future.
His basketball career (pending any options behind Vermillion) has two games remaining. Two games from a career that took off when he began starting for White River as an eighth-grader.
Since then, Krogman has scored 5,128 points.
No stranger to putting the ball in the hoop, he has done so in dramatic fashion over his last five games — 130 total.
With home games Thursday and Saturday, DakotaDome fans are assured of seeing one thing: A kid on a mission.