Hawaii adds recruit from Kahuku
BRUCE ASATO / JAN. 2015
Kahuku’s Samuta Avea drove the lane against Farrington.
Hawaii basketball didn’t let this one get away.
Kahuku senior Samuta Avea announced his signing with the Rainbow Warriors for the 2017-18 season on Twitter on Wednesday, becoming the first Hawaii high school product to accept a hoops scholarship offer from UH since ‘Iolani’s Bobby Nash for the 2003-04 season.
“It feels amazing,” Avea, a 6-foot-6 wing player, messaged the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “I’m so excited to be able to (wear) Hawaii across my chest. Hawaii was the right pick for me because I love the coaching staff and I feel they’ll push me and develop me the best at the next level. I’ll be able to play in front of family and friends and hopefully inspire a young island hooper like me when I watched basketball at a young age.”
It was a close one; the fall signing period ended Wednesday.
UH coach Eran Ganot could not yet comment on Avea after Wednesday’s team practice, as the player’s paperwork had yet to be processed on UH’s end. That could come in the next 48 hours.
Avea, who played his junior season in Utah, is best known for his versatility and high motor.
Clint Parks, a 2006 Kahuku graduate and a mentor of Avea, considers him something of an island basketball unicorn — “probably the best player to come out of Hawaii, physical attributes, athleticism, since Derrick Low.”
“As long as he keeps working hard, there’s no real limit on how good he can be because he’s still raw,” said Parks, co-founder of the club Team Eleate. “The tools are there. The hands, the quickness … the ability to play above the rim. All the stuff you don’t really see from players in Hawaii. He’s rare, to have a kid play above the rim the way he does, from Hawaii. I think it’s a great pickup for them.”
He averaged 12 points per game his sophomore year at Kahuku. At that point, he had offers from UH, Montana, Wyoming and Weber State, according to PrepsUtah.
Avea decided to move to South Jordan, Utah, after that season to live with relatives and have a chance at a more prominent role in basketball at Bingham High School.
He helped Bingham to the Utah 5A state championship, getting named to the all-tournament team in the state playoffs. For the season, he averaged 10.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.6 steals per game, according to MaxPreps.com.
After that year, he moved back home and rejoined Kahuku for the upcoming preps season.
Hawaii had just one scholarship to offer for 2017-18. There is a possibility, however, that the Rainbow Warriors will get back one or both of the two scholarships the NCAA took away for that season.
Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser today
Ganot’s Coaches vs. Cancer dinner fundraiser with North Carolina coach Roy Williams is today at Murphy’s Bar and Grill in Chinatown.
Tickets are $100 per person at the door. The event goes from 5-7 p.m.
Ganot credited UH regent Jeff Portnoy for making the connection with Williams, and Don Murphy for hosting the event.
“It’s a great cause and something we need to continue to fight. It’s a dreadful disease that we’ve all been touched by, indirectly or directly,” Ganot said. “I’ve been very impressed with the American Cancer Society and Coaches vs. Cancer group. Really happy to be a part of it … It’s a celebration of a launch basically. Very appreciative of Coach Williams making the time. I know we both have some busy schedules with the game the next day. But we all share common ground and the same passion for fighting this disease.”