Video update: Stokes leaving for family reasons
There are a lot of things Shaquille Stokes will miss about Hawai’i – the weather, rice for breakfast and spam, among them. But it is no match for the feelings he has for his family in New York, so he will be looking for a school closer to home.
Stokes, a 5-foot-10 freshman point guard, announced this week that he will be leaving the Hawai’i basketball program for family reasons.
He said his grandmother recently became ill, and he decided that it would be best for him to find a school closer to the East Coast.
“It’s family reasons, really,” Stokes said. “I love the island, I love the coaches, I loved being here for this year. It was well spent here. It was more family reasons … being closer to home, my grandmother. It has nothing to do with the coaching and me not liking it here because I love it here … this is my second home, really.”
Stokes said his decision did not revolve around playing time, or his role for next season. He finished fourth on the team in scoring in 2011-12, with 8.4 points per game. He was also second in assists with 2.2. He started 12 of 30 games, and was primarily a back-up for senior Miah Ostrowski.
“I learned a lot from Miah Ostrowski,” Stokes said. “He’s a great guy on and off the court. A role model to me. I’m happy that I got to learn from him. Where ever my talent lands me next year, I will thank him in the long run.”
With starting guard Ostrowski and Zane Johnson graduating, Stokes was expected to challenge for a starting role as a sophomore next season.
He also said the earlier departures of teammates Joston Thomas, Bobby Miles and Trevor Wiseman did not factor into his decision. “It didn’t really affect me at all,” he said.
Stokes said he has not contacted any schools yet, so he has no idea where he might end up next season. A year ago, he chose Hawaii over Colorado State, but said he would prefer to stay on the East Coast.
He said he will remain at UH for this semester so that he can complete his classes and maintain his academic eligibility.