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Fotu endures delays on way back to Hawai’i

A week of worries came to an end on Thursday, when Isaac Fotu was finally able to return to the University of Hawai’i.

Fotu was in his home country of New Zealand since mid-May, and he was originally scheduled to return to Honolulu to attend summer classes and begin training with the Hawai’i basketball team on July 2. However, he encountered a visa issue and was not allowed to leave New Zealand until it was resolved.

“It’s been a long week,” the 6-foot-8 forward said. “It took me a couple of days to get an appointment first at the consulate … and then it took another two days to get it mailed to me, and then after that I had to book a flight again.”

Summer school classes started on July 8, but Fotu said his class is being conducted online, so he was able to keep up with the early course work.

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Visa issue aside, Fotu said his trip home was well worth it. He trained four to five hours per day, often with members of New Zealand’s Under-23 National Team, and at the facilities of the New Zealand Breakers professional team.

Fotu said he was recently offered a contract to play pro basketball in New Zealand, but he turned it down to return for his sophomore season at Hawai’i.

“It’s too much of a good thing here to pass down, and I love this place too much to stay away,” he said. “I got bigger goals than that team back home, so I’m just going to keep working and see where it takes me.”

Fotu averaged 10.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, and was named the Big West Conference co-Freshman of the Year, as well as a CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Freshman All-American.

He is expected to join the Hawai’i College Basketball Summer League this Saturday for the National Fire Protection team. Two games are scheduled this Saturday at Manoa Valley District Park Gym – National Fire vs. Grantco Pacific at 6 p.m., followed by Central Medical Clinic vs. Solar Universe at 7:30 p.m. All four teams will have UH players available for action.

Fotu’s UH teammate, Michael Harper, is also experiencing visa issues in Australia, and is still attempting to make his return to Hawai’i.

“Tell them it’s urgent,” Fotu said would be his advice to the Harpers. Fotu noted that his father made several calls to consulate officials in the past week. “They were taking a long time, so my dad called them and told them to hurry up,” he said.

12 Comments

  1. Whew! Battlin’ Back to Hawai’i….
    Nothing really worth fighting for —
    College degree, Great Seasons or Pro basketball career(s) comes easy….
    (and Thanks for being smart enough to defer the Pro Ca$h for something Bigger & Better
    our Baseball recruits should take note…)

    Isaac – Welcome Back to the Land of Iconic Foods, Poi & Poke

    Aussie Mum ? Is there a number WI fans should ‘call’?
    How can we help?!

    Mahalo to the Harpers and Fotu Ohana for the All-Year Fights and Great Efforts

    [Mahalo Nui, Dayton!]

  2. Hey Aussie Mum and Tongnator, so thankful, your sons decided to come back to the UH MBB team! They are such great students and athletes, somehow, I have a feeling that with Isaac, Christian, Davis, Jawato, Spearman, those returnees in addition to the new guys, are on a mission to go to the NCAA’s in March.

    Aussie Mum: Oi and thankyou for Michael, hope he gets the VISA thing straigntened ASAP!
    Tonganator: Mahalo for helping speed up Isaac’s VISA situation

    Both young men, and Christian and Davis are great internations UH MBB players!

    We are blessed to have them!!

    Aloha and Mahalo.
    And Eagle, if the guys play with passion of last two years, with the expereince of top 4 returning scorers plus the addition of athleticism, UH MBB could have an awesome year! Hope so!

    Uhfanzonly1.

  3. UHFan — we’ll know they’re ‘there’ when they start to “Refuse to Lose”

    and we’ll be going home and smiling /grinning at the HDTV because once again two out of three or better for televised games, this team ‘Refused to Lose’, found a way to shut down the opposition with the game on the line and Finished Strong; they should more often put them away earlier, building a strong margin which might allow for building depth….

    Still early, ‘Second Session’ Summer League just starting up — our proven players aren’t even all in town yet — but i’m already seeing talent and attitude that should carry them well with this year’s seniors — Christian, Brandon, Davis as Very Focused, Solid Leading Seniors and strong Juniors Shamburger and Nevels provide a strong base (with Soph Isaac)….

    CAUTION: This is Still a Young Team as all others are sophomores and younger and None (yet) have shown they decide when they’re taking over a game….but they have speed, athleticism and skills… (have not seen an underskilled recruit or returnee yet)

  4. Hey, “42”,

    Welcome back (finally)!
    Looked like Mom’s cooking did you good (body stronger, “4” grew wider & taller, 7’ter?)!

    Expect both you and “34” to be BWC 1st-teamers – 10f2 be POY!? Tournament MVP?
    Fans got a lot to look-forward for this year from your TEAM (how many ‘Full-houses”?)!

    We were antsy about your visa delayed (now, Harper), what happened?
    For the benefit of those who might need to know or for general info, how about a detail description?

    We love to see you dominate, score at will; rebound with power..

    See you-all at 6PM.

  5. Glad to have you back!!!

  6. Saw some of the second half of summer league game. Fotu seemed to have hurt his right knee a little. He came in to play during the overtime because his team did not have enough players. I thought that it was a extremely stupid idea but his team won with mainly 4 players. Don’t think he would have seen any more plying time if a UH coach were there!

  7. Jovanovic looked good for an incoming freshman seems to be 7ft not the 6 10″ listed. A redshirt season to grow will do him good but I was impressed for what I had expected. Quincy Smith looked great in the second game he has some great foot speed

  8. ROB T: Hey, mahalo from a lot of fans, who cannot make it to Manoa Gym! And fans and families from around the globe!

    I hope Isaac is okay! Any kind of injury, can turn chronic, even if minor. Isaac, might have to sit out a week or so, be sure, check with UH trainer. Man, it would be a real letdown, for Isaac, his ohana, and UH MBB if he has a lingering injury. And, Rob T, you are, right, just to win a game, although, UH coaches, don’t get involved in coaching decisions( I don’t think so) , I would rather lose the game, than get Isaac hutr, sheesh! I am sure, UH trainer, will check with Isaac at UH, on Monday!

    Quincy Smith , on video, looks like he has some hops and real quickness, ! Trust what you say, if he playmaking ability on offense, running the show, half and full court, as well as intense defense, UH looks pretty good athletically with Nevels, Smith, Shamburger, Jawato, Spearman, whom, you just know this fall, Gib will be instructing conditioning, strength and defense first, before offense. If the guards can D up, along with their offensive game, UH MBB could have good season.

    Mahalo Plenty for report ROB T!

    Uhfanzonly1.

  9. ROB T: I thought so, those young Bigs that Gib brought in , Dressler and Jovanovich, are STILL Growing,plus they are Smart BBIQ and Academic kids. Great fit. Man, if Jovanovich is really inching towards 7 feet legit, and Caleb can put on solid muscle and his natural BBIQ and toughness, along with both of their aiblity to shoot and PASS the ball. UH has 2 good Bigs for years to come!

    Mahalo on report on Stefan. Welcome Stefan to the UH MBB Ohana!

    Uhfanzonly1.

  10. Dayton says Fotu “bumped” knees with another player. Probably should not have gone back in, and he wasn’t asked to by his coach, but the team was short-handed (Nevels was a no-show). As it turned out, the team still wound up with four on the floor during overtime. Hopefully, nothing wrong with Fotu’s knee.

    Speaking of knees, incoming freshman Filipovich was on crutches with a wrap around his left knee. Dayton says he got hurt during workouts. Hopefully, nothing serious there either.

    Dressler had 30 points and 17 rebounds; looking a lot better than last summer (even last week). Webster-Chan continues to impress (think he had 34 points); Spearman had a slow start but got hot in the second half.

    I agree with Rob T: Jovanovich has potential and Quincy Smith was impressive. Quick to the basket (had several and-1s and hit his first 11 FT attempts, I believe) and can get up there for a 6-footer. Plus, I like his demeanor; calm and level-headed. I think he finished with 41 points. Think he’ll push Shamburger at PG; competition always good.

    Dayton will have more, including video of both games and an interview with Fotu. Stay tuned.

  11. clyde:

    Excellent report for WI as always! Mahalo fellow MBB fan!

    Darn it, these summer injuries going into fall camp, can deplete or set back team, has happened to Gib in prior 3 years. Hope Fotu, Nevels(hope he is okay, nothing going on), Q Smith, looks like what the PG doctor ordered for UH team, Spearman, Valdes, Dressler, seems like they have offense, with the increased perimeter athleticism, and the bigs banging, and if they buy into AWESOME Defensive team like year 1 of Gib, maybe UH will be fun to watch, and close out games and win a bunch, hopefully!

    Thankyou Clyde, as always, your observations, like, many, are spot on. We fans, appreciate you guys who can make it to games. Mahalo Plenty guys and gals!

    Uhfanzonly1.

  12. Niko was at the game to support other players but he had crutches and looked like he needed them.

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