Smith tops All-Defense, Ramos voted Most Improved
Kahuku's Tolu Smith was named the Star-Advertiser boys basketball player of the year on Sunday. He is also the top defensive player in the state according to voting. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
The Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball All-State Fab 15 selections were released on Sunday.
Coaches and media tabbed their top picks in the print edition. Below are extended player capsules along with the All-Defensive Team and Most Improved lists.
Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball All-State Fab 15 2017-18
Player capsules 1. Tolu Smith, Kahuku, 6-10, Sr. > Smith averaged 21 points per game, including 34 against Farrington, 32 against Kaimuki and 32 against Moanalua. He was virtually unstoppable at the state tourney, where he scored 19.3 points per game and shot 58 percent despite constant triple teams. He also had 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 2.5 blocks per game at the big dance. He finished with 23 points, 14 boards and five blocks in the state final against Punahou.
The transfer from Mississippi acclimated immediately to the North Shore, where his mother’s family has roots. The Western Kentucky signee was an instant double-double producer — tall, long and nimble with an immensely high hoops IQ. A throwback player in the best sense, Smith’s arsenal on the low post includes spin moves and jump hooks, an ability to finish going left or right that is reminiscent of The Dream, Hakeem Olajuwon. He also has a triple-threat skill set from the wing that wasn’t often on display as Kahuku’s go-to post scorer. With constant double and triple teams, Smith’s court vision and passing skills were a major part of Kahuku’s return to the state championship final. Smith was also the top vote-getter to the All-Defensive Team.
HHSAA > vs. Kailua: 20 pts (5-10 FG, 10-11 FT), 10 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk > vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii: 17 pts (7-10 FG, 3-5 FT), 8 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk > vs. Maryknoll: 17 pts (7-12 FG, 3-4 FT), 7 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 3 blk, 6 to > vs. Punahou: 23 pts (9-16 FG, 5-12 FT), 14 reb, 1 ast, 5 blk, 3 to > Total: 77 pts (19.3 ppg), 28-48 FG (.583), 21-32 FT (.656), 39 reb (9.8 rpg), 4 ast (1.0 apg), 7 stl (1.8 spg), 10 blk (2.5 bpg)
> Coach says “I had a chance to watch Tolu Smith play a couple of games during the regular season, then again in the (state) quarterfinal game. I knew he was a skilled post player, but I didn’t realize how quick he is for being 6-foot-10. His first step was really impressive!” —Kelly Grant, Maryknoll
“I think his passing game is really overlooked. Was an excellent passer in the post and from the perimeter. You had to know who his favorite targets were (Erickson) and try to take away the passing lanes to his targets when you double him.” —Darren Matsuda, Punahou
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Marcus Damuni, Kahuku, 6-3, Jr. > His value to the Red Raiders was immense in a secondary role to Smith. Damuni crashed the boards on both ends, played excellent defense and basically sacrificed his offense to give the team what it needed. What Kahuku will need next season might be Damuni as a primary scorer, and he has the athleticism and work ethic to make that happen. He scored 9 points per game and shot 53 percent at the foul line. He had a hot run of seven games in double-digit scoring during a nine-game span during OIA East play.
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*** All-Defensive Team *** 1. Tolu Smith, Kahuku 2. Cole Arceneaux, Punahou 3. Jordyn Perez, Maryknoll 4. Kordel Ng, St. Francis 5. Cole Mausolf, Punahou
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