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“Fro-tu” looking to get bigger and better next season

How much bigger can the “Fro-tu” get? We’ll see next season, when Isaac Fotu returns for a sophomore year with the Hawai’i basketball team.

After a stellar rookie season that included the Big West Conference co-Freshman of the Year award, Fotu said he is willing to accept a more significant role with the Warriors next season.

FotuFro

“I have a lot of goals for next year, and I’m looking forward to stepping up, and playing a bigger role as well,” he said. “I’m not going to back down from the role that Coach (Gib Arnold) gives me. I’ll step up next year.”

The list of impact freshmen in the history of Hawai’i basketball is a short – and aged – one: Chris Gaines, Andre Morgan, Reggie Carter, Melton Werts, John Penebacker. There were others, but mostly from the 1970s and ‘80s.

Fotu can certainly join that list after averaging 10.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, along with a team-best .623 field goal percentage.

“I learned a lot about D-1 basketball, college basketball, and the style of play in America as opposed to New Zealand,” said Fotu, who is from Torbay, Auckland.

Perhaps a glimpse of the future came in the Warriors’ season finale, when Fotu took over the low post after senior center Vander Joaquim left the building in the second half of an eventual 69-65 loss to Air Force. Fotu finished with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

“The way the (UC Irvine) game ended (at the Big West Conference Tournament), I didn’t want it to end like that,” Fotu said. “When we got a second chance, I told myself that I’ll be more aggressive, and that’s what I did.”

Fotu said his freshman season was a memorable one, and not just because of the basketball.

“I love it here; I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else,” he said. “I love the coaches, I love the people, and definitely, I love the poke bowls.”

Fotu became a fan favorite during his freshman season, in part due to his catchy Tongan surname, and also for his big hair. He said the “Fro-tu” will back next season.

“I’ll just keep growing it to see how big I can get it,” he said.

— — — — —

As for Fotu’s teammate and fellow collaborator of DaBeast Froductions, Davis Rozitis, the future may not be so clear.

Rozitis, a 7-foot forward/center, just completed his junior season with the Warriors., but he is on track to graduate in a few months.

When asked if wanted to address the rumors about him not returning next season, he responded: “No … that’s why they are rumors. Things are uncertain now.”

17 Comments

  1. I am overcome with great gladness. Tonganator’s boy, is dedicating himself to become a Basketball Beast! Frotu, 42, Fotu, Fantastic Frosh, soon to be super Sophomore, is going to work to get bigger, stronger , better.

    Great job Isaac, get better, UH MB team gets better. Good role model for you and whole team, Christian Standhardinger! Effort. Same with Christian and Davis, they put on 10 extra pounds of muscle, and added strength, vertical jump and soft hands, and dunk the ball within 3 feet of the rim, Isaac, Christian, and Davis, and Caleb, dunk, dunk,dunk, UH will become

    The home of the “Pacific Dunk Hunks” Isaac Fotu, Davis Rozitis, Caleb Dressler and Christian Standhardinger.When you guys get ball near the rim, on transition break, lobs, inside position move , go up one hand, two hand, tomahawk, reverse, Shaq Attack, just rock that rim, with strength, no weak stuff.

    And when other Bigs, playing the rim, or defending the box, sky or baby hook with either hand, and soft jumpers from 10 feet to 22 feet. FT’s , all of the four of you, we want you to be hitting 75% to 80% of your freethrows. All four of you, combining for over 40 rebounds a game, about 7 blocks, 20 intimidtions, 16 assists, 6 steals a game, then your hard off season work will payoff, with the new and improved guard play, with greater outside shooting, UH MBB will be rocking at 24-25 wins next season.

    Main thing have fun, stay together, don’t walk away, and just play(ball)

    Dayton great video and writeup. These guys are dedicated, and no know what it takes to win as home and on the road. It starts in the weight room, conditioning, running, working cardio.

    These guys, will be a faster set of bigs, instead of ONE big,who is gone!!

    Mahalo Dayton and WI . great piece!!

  2. Aha! Dayton you Insider, Davis says: rumors, he is smart kid, ready to graduate this May I guess. He could graduate, and if still academically eligible, I wonder if he could be granted special academic post graduate studies scholarship and play for team as a senior very specially preferred walkon?

    Or Davis, never know, might have a Latvian pro connection. He could make decent money in europe playing as a finesse center/power forward for years, settle down and raise little rozitis’,

    No, Davis, I am half joking, when the time comes, YOU make the decision, if you come back for senior year great, just be stronger and dunk the ball every chance you get. If not, and time to move on, have a great, and I know you will have opportunity, at 7’0″ 245, you have the agility and speed and play like a guy who is 6’3″. you

    , if you should choose, have a great chance to make a pro team overseas anywhere in the world, that can use a great active player at 7 feet, who is a fun guy, and an excellent student of the game and life. Any employer would love to have Davis in their organization. Have a great post UH career when the time comes Rozitis. Loved Da Beast Films, now maybe you will hand it over to Fotu Films Froductions!

    Man, Davis you are a fun guy, and you interviewed Lei girl for us, Maria, that was neat

    Wish you the best whatever you decide Davis, you make the team laugh,and you don’t take yourself too seriously , I will personally miss your wit, when you are done with your UH career!!

    Mahalo Davis!!

    Uhfanzonly1 😀

  3. I’d like to see what an offseason of weight-training can do for Isaac. It seems like he’s gotten by on natural strength, perhaps developed as a rather robust rugby-playing teen (can’t believe he weighed nearly 300 pounds). But can you imagine a more fit, stronger and aggressive Isaac? Add that physicality to an already polished post game, and the sky’s the limit. I don’t know why some feel we need a replacement for Vander. Isaac may be barely 6 feet 8 ( the fro makes him look 6-10), but he plays big and his agility in the paint is a huge advantage.
    Really looking forward to watching him develop over the next 2-3 years.
    Note to Isaac: If you haven’t already, try the poke bowl at Ono Seafood (not to be confused with Ono’s Hawaiian Food across the street) on Kapahulu Ave. It’s literally a hole-in-the-wall, but the poke is simply … ono!

    If Davis leaves, I hope it’s on his own accord and not to make way for a scholarship opening. I think he brings a lot to the team — energy on the court and the bench, a good defender at the point and in the post, a big with some offensive skills … though I wish he would just flush the ball when he’s at the rim rather than tip it. Plus, he’s a good mentor for youngsters like Isaac and his personality is infectious. I would guess he’s one of the more — if not the most — well-liked guys on the team. I hope he comes back, unless he gets a job offer and is ready to move on to bigger and better things.

    Thanks for the interviews, Dayton.

  4. Fotu…………try the spicy Ahi w/Kalua pig poke bowl from Tamuras!!! IT IS WINNAZ!!!

  5. Sounds like Fotu is committed to getting better. That’s great news for the program going forward. He got a taste of what his role is going to be next year during the Air Force game.

    I think his performance has got to be a big boost to his confidence.

    Fotu and Standhardinger will be a much more dynamic 1-2 punch at the forwards. With the Big West being so guard centric, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gib goes to a 3 guard lineup to try to close the speed/quickness gap that was apparent during last season.

    Rozitis is scheduled to graduate this semester, so that means he must enroll in grad school to be able to play next season. Once he graduates, he’s also free to transfer to another D1 program without sitting out a year. Hopefully he stays, since he is quick for his 7ft frame. His offensive skills are limited but he can be a factor on defense. Just having the extra depth at center is always nice.

    If Rozitis leaves, then Dressler will be asked to contribute immediately. I think Dressler is more skilled than Rozitis, but we’ll just have to wait and see his new body after him red-shirting this year.

  6. soljah808… good call there

  7. I don’t often post on this site, but Isaac has impressed me, both on and off the court. He’s polite, humble and personable, and has embraced the Hawaii culture. He has become a fan favorite in rapid fashion. Unlike most college students, he has taken every opportunity to experience college life at its fullest. This is evident in his participation in promoting Theme Nights by going door-to-door in the dorms with Jamie Smith and his fellow teammates. I have also seen him at a number of other sporting events on campus showing his support. So many times athletes have a feeling of entitlement, but Isaac is not one of them. This a tribute to both him, and Papa and Mama Tonganator. Hats off to each of you. I look forward to next year and beyond.

  8. Jamie Smith and the freshmen did a great job promoting the home games to the on-campus students. Hopefully they can find someone who can match Jaime’s passion for UHMBB and continue the momentum he helped build.

    Even though the season ended on a sour note, the 9.662 Senior Day attendance is a very encouraging sign of the direction of the program. That’s the highest Senior Day attendance in a very long time.

    Although the W-L record has been fairly consistent under Gib, there is palpable excitement with the program that’s been slowly building with this core of young talent and Fotu looks like he will be the guy to carry it to the next level. Hopefully Valdes & Thomas can dazzle the SSC crowd with some high flying dunks next season to help build attendance.

    Looking at the overall attendance numbers, UH has recovered from the last few declining years under Wallace and the train wreck under Nash. With better athletes becoming eligible next season, I think UH really makes strides in the Big West as now they have a year getting adjusted to their style of play, which is a lot different than the old WAC teams.

  9. I’ll go on record right now. Isaac Fotu is a better player than Vander Joaquim. He has a bigger upside and if he continues to improve his game, post moves, step jump, free throw shooting, and mid range jumper he could make it all the way to the NBA draft. We are talking at least 3 years forward, assuming he stays in college for his senior season, which he said he would earlier this year. Things can change, but I’m certain he will make a big impact on the team next year. Arnold did get some good recruits last year. Besides Issac, I think Keith Shamburger is very solid. I think Aaron Valdes is probably the most athletic player we’ve got and certainly the best jumping ability. He can be Dr. Dunkenstein next year. Manroop Clair, is still a young pup at 18 years old. I think he has a lot of game and with one year on his belt we will see him grow so much in one year, stronger, faster, smarter, and mentally better. Mark my words, he will be the surprise next season. Standhardinger is the energy bunny. Shorten his arc on his jump shots and free throws and he’ll be more deadly. Spearman will improve in his senior season and will be more consistent. Pavlovic, if he returns, can work on his footwork, quickness, ball handling, and defense. Shooting is his forte. Jawato, same as Pavlovic. Shooting is not a problem. Michael Thomas is athletic and can play several positions. He could be the sleeper of the team since nobody have seen him play here.
    Davis will make the best decision for himself. He’s a good student and has been a model student-athlete. Congratulations on his pending degree. I don’t expect him to stay after graduation, but I could be wrong. If he stays, the team will be better for it. Dressler, needs to just be solid. He doesn’t need to be dominating. By all reports he has a good shooter. Rebounding and defense is the key for him. If Arnold can get either Corey Allen or Garrett Nevels from Mt. San Antonio, it’s a big plus. Nevels shoots better from long range, but Allen is a PG who averages 21.1 points per game. They both shot well over .550 in field goals. Nevels shot over 40% on 3 pointers and averages 19.8 PPG. If we get both of them, maybe we hit the jackpot and I’m going to Las Vegas.

  10. It would be for the better team if Davis Rozitis graduated and is pau. HE SUCKS JUST LIKE VANDER man Gib Arnold first recruiting class sucked. better for Gib to bring in another sf or sg. won’t need Rozitis

    Center Depth
    Fotu, Dressler, Jovanovic

  11. Classy John, classy.

  12. Tonganator should be very proud

  13. bro I tell it like it is there is a reason why Fotu a freshman gets more playing time than Rozitis. Good for Rozitis he received a free education and he’s about to graduate probably the only one that will from Gib Arnold 1st recruiting class. but for his production on the court idk not too good the boy. people talk about a pro career I laugh There are more than 380,000 student-athletes and most of them go pro in something other than sports.

  14. Why would Davis Rozitis have a shot at playing overseas? As a professional Basketball player?

    1)He is 7’0″ about 244 lbs, very long
    2) he increased his vertical, had some lobs and dunks this year
    . 3) he can shoot the ball with either hand.
    4) His Defensive effectiveness at the Top of the Zone was pretty good, he helped stop some teams offensive flow, with his size out there.
    5) He is smarter than a lot of us here. Will get his College degree soon. Last year honored for academic excellence, the only one from the Basketball team
    6)He is not a selfish player, team oriented, always cheering teammates on.
    7)He has a sense of humor,
    8)He listens to the coaches, never got suspended, or benched for attitude
    9) He was a one man gang battling the athletic bigs for NMSU at SSC last year, when he fouled out in first half, he played awesome. Gave Vander a chance to come back in second half and help UH finish off a great win against the Aggies.
    10)He can block shots, pretty good timing, and becuase of he being 7 feet, and agile, pretty quick for a big, his presence on defensive end, either on perimeter or down low, caused a lot of altered shots.

    We are not talking NBA, it could be Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Croatia, Latvia, France etc. at different levels. He is a young guy with a good head on his shoulders. The young ones, and older fans really like him. Very personable, he never walked out on the team, he is the positive person for all 3 years here.

    P.S. He also had a brief workout experience with Latvian National team, and the national team members are no slouches,

    So would Davis have a shot at professional basketball career. Why not? He is seven feet, agile, smart, and can help teams with his length and size. It is surprising how nimble and fast he is. Not like past UH 7 footers, who had hard time running the floor or even blocking shots. Davis can also rebound.

    Would he get a free agent tryout with an overseas team, with all of the attributes he has already, including ability to shoot 3 ball, he has a good chance, if that was his desire, either this coming year, or after his senior year, a great shot a playing pro ball. The best footwork, and athleticism for a legitimate 7 footer that I have personally seen for UH MBB in years.

    Vander, was Vander, ball goes in, ball don’t come out. Vander, leave, now Vander out. Davis, stuck it out and will get his degree, really sad if Vander doesn’t honor promise to parents, and get his degree, ..Two different type of players and most importantly attitudes. Davis is a very nice guy, he will be successful whatever he decides to do, even if he returns next year. I am not seven foot tall, however Davis, is, and with getting stronger and working on his offense, he can help a overseas pro team. without question.

    You go for it Davis, the true UH MBB fans, appreciate you and want the best for you! Thanks for choosing to come to Hawaii!!

  15. Love Davis. He comes ready to play every game, supports his teammates, doesn’t complain about playing time, works hard on the court and in the classroom. Plus he is a funny guy.

    Would love to have him back next year. If he could gain some muscle weight and focus on rebounding, he could be even more of a force. I could see him playing the 4 or 5.

  16. Thanks Dayton for the update. Just manage to catch up with website to-day. I have 4 of Isaac’s siblings all compete in a regional Easter basket ball tournament. They all represent our county in different age groups, love watching kids develop their games like we did with Isaac. We are all proud of Isaac’s achievement thus far, and also our Poly community here in Aotearoa. One of our Pacific radio station did an interview live on air with Isaac (they managed to get hold of Isaac) he is a role model not only for his siblings and cousins but Pacific youth here in New Zealand.
    Aussie mum, can’t wait to watch The Thunder from Down Under, Michael Harper next, part of a winning team.

    Uhfanzonly1,Playhoopsa, Derek, Clyde, FUHA and rest of the fans that post on this website. Really enjoy your comments, analysis of the game and helps me know the game a bit more. Exciting time ahead. We are watching the Play off Aussie NBL, Isaac’s old club going for the 3rd championships in a row, one of a rare occasions that a New Zealand team manage against Australian teams.

    Davis, all the best in your decision for the future, I am sure you will be all good with future endeavors.

    I better get recipe on how to make poke, for when Isaac come home…

    Mahalo

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