Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Akana family still making a difference on Moloka’i

The Akana family name is an iconic one when it comes to basketball on the island of Moloka’i, so it made sense for them to get involved while the University of Hawai’i basketball team was on the Friendly Isle over the weekend.

Former Moloka’i High and UH standout Jarinn Akana made a return to his home island to lead a basketball clinic for youth players on Friday at “The Barn” (Moloka’i High’s gymnasium).

“I haven’t been back to Molokai in eight years,” Jarinn said. “When Brandyn (Akana) called me and told me the University of Hawaii was going to come and play, I said I have to come. Once I decided that … I looked at ways I could revisit my roots and give back a little.”


Trenson Akana – one of Jarinn’s younger brothers who also excelled at Moloka’i High and later in college (BYU-Hawaii) – also helped with the clinic, as did their father, Nick Akana. Former Chaminade coach Merv Lopes also assisted at the clinic.

Moloka’i High School boys varsity coach Lester Delos Reyes signed up his entire team for the clinic. “It’s a real big thing for the community of Molokai,” he said.

Trophies and old newspaper clippings proclaiming the success of the Akana family can still be found in the display cases inside “The Barn.” Although the current Moloka’i High players were not yet born when Jarinn Akana was named the State Player of the Year in 1988, they are aware of his accomplishments.

“They always look at that placard and they all have that dream to be like one of the Akanas,” Delos Reyes said.

Akana currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Karla, and their four children. He spent 10 years as an assistant coach in the NBA, but now works as an agent for professional players. Among the “names” he has worked with are Dwight Howard, John Wall and Ricky Rubio.

He said he still keeps up with the UH basketball team, mostly through assistant coach Brandyn Akana, who is another of the younger brothers. Because the clinic was not affiliated with the University of Hawai’i, Brandyn could not assist.

“UH is my alma mater so of course I always want them to win and do well,” he said. “But even more so now with my brother Brandyn helping them out.”


  1. GREAT Timing & Extra Effort by Jarinn & Akana Ohana,
    & Coaches Delos Reyes & Lopes, Hawaiʻi & Molokaʻi BB Icons…


    NOW Would Also be a Good Time for Another UH Grad Basketball Player, Brad Pineau to drop in on Practice (UN-Official Visit?) as his 6-9 Aussie Team son is Tearing Up the Iolani Tournament with ʻVenti Doublesʻ — 20-Plus Points and Rebounds…

  2. Those Akana boys are very handsome!!!

  3. Akanas are basketball royalty in this State.

    Gib is lucky to have Brandyn on his staff.

    Mahalo to Tony and Val Schmidt for underwriting getting Dayton over to the Barn.

  4. Yes. Jarrin Akana, we know of very well for long time MBB fans. Player of the year. Remember rumor that a very, very good ex Hawaii HS hoops star would transfer to UH for 1993-94 season. Might have RS 92-93, long ago, and short on memory, excuse please..

    Jarrin was on the team with Trevor Ruffing 5’11” deep , deep 3 pt shooter with skills, he made it to NBA with the Miami Heat as free agent, and played a few years in the League. Tony Maroney, 7’2″ 290 pound center, soft, 12 foot jumper, and baby hook, good shot blocker, not the quickest of feet, had potential to be journeyman center in NBA..went on to other things in post UH Hoops career, might have played in China Pro League, Phil Handy, LA Laker player development coach, works with Kobe Bryant, and lesson UH warriors, Kobe, at 34 , 35 yrs of age,

    still works all the time on his body, skills and focus and drive..even after winning multiple MVP and League titles..John Molle Jr., I think, once again memory short, love for that team long..6’5″ PF…great long, long distance set 3 ball shooter…Kalia McGee, one of hard core UH long time fans, the guy was an excellent PG, felt not qualified, or getting a lot of grief for any mistake he made, yet his Coach Riley Wallace really liked Kalia, and wanted him to shoot more, excellent , I think leftie..That 93-94 squad, started season on the road at Great

    Alaska shootout, believe they could not score more than 50 pts, and lost by average of 40 pts to 3 teams, including Wake Forrest with a 6’11” freshman center, name: Tim Duncan, ..also traveled to North Carolina and physcial battle between Eric Montross, 7’0″ McDonald’s All American center..they still lost on that tough , tough road trip..however, that was a turning point, UH felt they could compete with anybody..

    Lesson for UH 2012-13 UH MBB team and coaches,, that team, entered WAC tourney as underdogs..I think overall record was 14-13, league play, maybe not .500, yet , with Jarrin, Kalia, Phil Handy, and Trevor Ruffin, getting hot at the right time, they won 3 in a row, that final against the dreaded BYU in Salt Lake City, not Provo, Hawaii was down, I think by 14 pts, with about 7 minutes plus, to go, Jarrin, got hot hit some 3’s, John Molle, hit

    a big one, Trevor bombed one in from long, long distance, ..that team, with the start, of season, thinking, they might be going nowhere in postseason, came back from double digits down, in the state of Utah, against a heavily favored BYU team, that thought they had the game in hand..ESPN, national TV..UH Rainbows won!! One of the best memories..

    And the Akana connection? Forever in the minds of long time UH BB hoops fans, seeing to local Hawaiian boys, rolling on the floor, embracing one another in joy, knowing, that they were part of an NCAA bound team..yes, Hawaii hoops players, could play, against and win against the big boys…

    So, current warriors, keep on battling, keep emotions in check, discipline, passion, play smart, hard and together, anything is possible..a DH classic crown, a BWC crown..just keep on improving as people and athletes and most importantly hope you all graded well in Fall finals ..i.e. GPA!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!!

  5. ʻTHAT TEAM actually Lost First Three Gamea @ Alaska Shootout by An Average of 50 points per game…
    with Center Tony Maroney “earning” the nickname “Tree” for his apparent Standing Still in the Key as opponents flashed past him for lay-ups…he finished as THE ALL-WAC Center…

    Great Example That Where You Start does NOT Have to be Where You Finish…

  6. Eagle,

    thanks, you have a very good memory. Yes, one of my and probably Riley Wallace’s favorite teams…you are correct, …listening to that Alaska shootout on radio, I think Bobby Curran was doing play by play, it seems, even with Trevor Ruffin, who actually struggled early that year, that team might not even break 50 points in a season. That beginning road trip to start season, the Shootout, plus the long journey to North Carolina, where, Maroney got really physical with Eric Montross, and the Rainbows not backing down..set a precedent for rest of season.

    Still fond memory, for you too , and many more long time MBB fans, when Jarrin and Kalia were shown by ESPN rolling on floor together for pure joy, knowing they were going dancing. Two Hawaii local boys, one of the greatest moments in UH MBB history, Of course they ran into Syracuse, and Trevor ended up shooting some deep,deep 3 balls that had the Orangemen paying him homage. Very good memories!

    You are right Eagle, for our current Warriors, ain’t how you start, but how you finish, i.e. BW tourney championship that can lead to a chance to dance,..the fun, and possible journey begins this Saturday against Miami..I am sure the guys will be ready. hopefully the get that first W!!

  7. I am sorry, I think Trevor Ruffin was free agent with Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers? Anyways, he played parts of 2 seasons ..memory not too good..however, that 1993-94 team had some 3 ball shooters. with Ruffin, Jarrin

    Akana, Kalia could shoot too, John Molle Jr., and Phil Handy could hit some too, with Maroney down low..so they eventually started slow offensively then had more firepower in the WAC tourney. Same with this year’s team, they

    might hit a bump, however, now with, Fotu, Vander, Standhardinger, from mid range to rim, and Spearman, Jace, Roop, Ozi, and Hauns, maybe Michael Harper, by BWC league play and hopefully DH Classic play, they can have

    that inside outside game, and Rebound and Run.

    Interesting that Miami lost on the road against 7-4 Florida Gulf
    Coast University: Tue, Nov 13 Miami Alico Arena W 63-51….

    so there is parity, whoever is playing well in MBB NCAA DI can win against anyone , anywhere , at any time!

  8. http://www.staradvertiser.com/s?action=login&f=y&id=183895501
    GREAT Ferd Lewis Article on now-passed Senior Senator Daniel Inouye and his help getting 6-10 Freshman Center Haim Shimonovich (~2000-2004) past his Israeli Military Commitment via Prime Minister Ariel Sharon…as well as Sumotori Jesse Kuhaulua the other direction…
    (IF Gib wanted Orel back….President Obama needs to improve Israeli relations…)

    True Dat…. the Florida Gulf Coast Loss is probably the Road Bump that has kept MIAMI out of Top 25, and
    would need to be supplanted by Another Bigger Win –
    – Like versus #4 ARIZONA and/or #15 SAN DIEGO STATE
    IF Miami were to Elevate into The Top 25 …

    When You Hit and Turn The Corner Fantasy Can Become Reality…
    (Much like the Haim – Ruffin or AC Teams…
    For Next Year, Jovanovic AND Dressler appear to have All the Potential of Shimonovich)

    SO Let’s “KAPU” Those Games Now (preferred Arizona and San Diego State) for Hawai’i …
    IF They Elevate themselves to Step-Up to That Level…

    THEN We Can Find Out IF a “Bad Home Loss to Pepperdine” would keep Hawai’i out …
    ( i suspect they would need a Really Good Road Win — already lost the UNLV Opportunity —
    OR a Long String of Road Wins )

    BUT First, MIAMI and The DHC …

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