A Hawaiian has Hawai’i atop his list
Kaiako “Ako” Kaluna may have been raised in Southern California, but he knows where his Hawaiian roots are. It is a big reason why the big forward dreams of playing for the Hawai’i basketball team.
Kaluna, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound power forward/center from Santa Clarita, said: “As far as college, Hawai’i is at the top of the list. I want to represent my culture and I just love being out there and the family connection it has.”
Kaluna is about to enter his senior year at West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, Calif. He was a first-team all-league selection as a junior last season, when he averaged around 17 points and 11 rebounds per game.
He is scheduled to graduate from West Ranch in 2013, so he is considered a recruit for the 2013-14 season.
Among the other programs also looking at Kaluna are BYU, Illinois and Utah State. He is not fully committed to the Warriors yet, but said there are numerous reasons that Hawai’i is his first choice as of now.
For starters, he has relatives from his father’s side of the family on the Big Island and Oahu. Kaluna said he has made several trips through the years to visit those relatives, so he is familiar with the Islands.
Second, he said he thinks his style would fit with the Warriors’ basketball schemes. “I love how their off-court sets and fast breaks are, and the defense,” he said.
Kaluna was the center of attention for the SoCal MP Elite Gold team at the Las Vegas Fab 48 tournament last month. He led the team in scoring and rebounding, and displayed an ability to score from both inside and out.
Perhaps due to his size, he was often left alone on the perimeter – and he responded by draining several 3-pointers. He is also agile for his size, and led the fast break for his team several times.
Kaluna said he is still weighing his options, and hopes to make a decision on his college choice before the early signing period in mid-November.
— — —
Special thanks to Pacific Risk Solutions, Tony Schmidt and family for travel sponsorship for WarriorInsider.com.