Warriors will open Hoopfest with haka
Lifting weights, running sprints and shooting baskets were all standard drills for the Hawaii basketball team during the preseason.
One not-so-standard drill was the practicing of a Tahitian haka.
The Warriors plan to open the ‘Ohana Hoopfest with the haka, and it will culminate over a month’s worth of practice.
“When we first started learning it, we had to do it over and over,” freshman Trevor Wiseman said. “I would come out of there sweating as much as regular (basketball) practice.”
Manarii Gauthier from the dance group Ia Ora O Tahiti Nui directed the Warriors during the practice sessions, and it wasn’t easy. The current roster of Warriors includes just one Hawaii-raised player – walk-on Pi’i Minns.
“It’s totally out of our element,” said junior Anthony Salter, who is from Tallahassee, Fla. “But it’s fun to get together with the team, and we’re bonding as we’re doing it. There’s a lot of laughs.”
Rumor has it head coach Gib Arnold and his staff have been secretly practicing a haka of their own to be unveiled at ‘Ohana Hoopfest.