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Seniors say aloha

If seniors are supposed to lead by example, then this group did just fine.

In a ceremony that was equal parts classy and creative, the Hawaii basketball team honored senior players Bill Amis, Douglas Kurtz and Hiram Thompson on Saturday night.

The “Senior Night” festivities followed the Warriors’ 76-70 victory over New Mexico State at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“They’ve been great,” first-year Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “Since the day I got the job, they’ve been supportive and they’ve helped me. They’ve helped the new guys come in, they gave me great leadership and they’ve been great on the floor. So we’re going to miss these three. They’ve been absolutely super.”

Kurtz, a 7-foot center, took a circuitous route to Hawaii. He was raised in Brazil, played at a junior college in Iowa, then joined with the Warriors in 2009. He played a reserve role during his two seasons, but emerged as a crowd favorite because of his hustle and muscle.

“It was awesome,” Kurtz said. “For me, to get the win was very good. Couldn’t finish better.”

Amis, a 6-9 power forward, was – believe it or not – a reserve player for his junior college team in Kansas when he was recruited by Hawaii in 2007. He is now a go-to player for the Warriors both on offense and defense.

“I’m always going to love this place,” Amis said. “I’m a UH fan in every sport; I’ll always be. I’m always going to follow it. It’s been a great journey.”

Amis has overcome injuries to both his feet in the last two years, and is now considered a contender for All-WAC honors. Ironically, were it not for a foot injury last season, he would not be here this season. He opted to redshirt last season, not knowing at the time that Arnold would take over as head coach of the program this season.

“It’s been great getting this year back and getting to play with these guys and these coaches, they’ve been great,” Amis said.

Each senior got to take one last shot during the ceremony, and Amis and Kurtz went with slam dunks.

Thompson, who has an injured left elbow, went with the right-handed layup, but he was still able to take the ceremony to a new level shortly after that.

Polynesian cultural performers, including haka warriors, came on the court to honor Thompson, his family, and the other seniors. Thompson’s grandparents, who live in Laie, arranged the performances.

“My grandma, she just brings the party where ever she goes,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t surprised but I did not know that was going to happen. But knowing my grandma, I wasn’t surprised that she put that together for me.”

Like Amis, Thompson was able to finish his senior season this year due to special circumstances. He joined the Warriors in 2005, but went on a two-year church mission after his freshman season.

“It just gives me the chills,” Thompson said. “It’s just a blessing to be a Warrior and be a part of this team and representing Hawaii, I love it here.”

Photos by Brandon Flores. To view more photos or purchase copies, please visit www.brandonfloresphotography.com

2 Comments

  1. What can I say……………ONLY IN HAWAII!!!

  2. we’re going to miss you guys , great students, great individuals

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