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Fotu returns after a memorable summer

Of all the student-athletes at the University of Hawai’i, Isaac Fotu had the longest – and perhaps most eventful – summer. It finally came to a close last week, when the 6-foot-8 forward returned to Honolulu, just a few days after helping lead the New Zealand national team to the round of 16 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup at Spain.

“It was a real good experience for me,” Fotu said. “We’ve been in camp since July … it was just good for me to play against the best teams in the world, the best players. They’re all a lot older, a lot stronger, a lot faster, everything. But I think I held my own and I just went out there played like I know how I can play.”

Fotu4_ucsb

Over the course of the summer, Fotu emerged as one of the most reliable players on the New Zealand roster. In six games at the World Cup, he averaged 9.5 points on 60.5 percent field goal shooting, and 4.5 rebounds per game. New Zealand used him as the first big man off the bench, though he averaged nearly as many minutes per game as the starters.

He said his most memorable game of the tournament was a pool-play contest against Team USA, which had a roster of NBA all-stars. Fotu scored eight points on 3-of-4 shooting in a 98-71 loss to the USA.

“We watch those guys a lot in the NBA and to actually get to play against them is a great experience,” he said. “You just realize how athletic and how skilled they are when you go up against them.”

Prior to the World Cup, New Zealand played in “warm up” games at China, South Korea, Lithuania and Serbia. Fotu said the Asia/Europe trip, including the World Cup, featured a total of 22 games and lasted eight weeks.

“It was 12-hour flights and stuff, so that made the flight back here only five hours feel like nothing,” he said. “I’m so used to flying now.”

Fotu’s international summer delayed the start of his junior year at UH by about three weeks, but he was able to enroll in classes and register for student housing. UH head coach Gib Arnold is giving Fotu some time to rest from the summer and catch up on schoolwork.

“That was like a second season, so if the games started tomorrow I’d be ready,” Fotu said. “I think I’m going to try to take it light with all these (preseason) workouts. I’m trying to rest up a bit because we had two trainings a day, every day, plus games. It was tough on the legs.”

Fotu is the top returning scorer and rebounder for the Warriors, and was a first-team All-Big West Conference selection as a sophomore last season. He realizes that he will be looked at in more of a leadership role for his upcoming junior campaign.

“I’m not too much of a vocal guy, but I think I’m going to try and lead by example and try to be a leader where I can,” he said. “I feel like one of the older guys on the team, so I’m going to try and show the younger guys the way and try to be a leader.”

30 Comments

  1. Welcome back Isaac! Great summer run in FIBA World Cup. Your experience there is well documented. From New Zealand to the 808 the Aloha State of Hawaii, we all are very proud of you!

    We look forward to you helping to lead the UH MBB team to a run towards the NCAA tournament!

    Mahalo to you Isaac, The Bro with The Fro, Frotu, 42, Tonganator’s son!

  2. WELCOME Back, Isaac!
    Kia Ora, Tonganator & ʻOhana!

    With Only One Second-Year SENIOR, Garrett Nevels, and
    Two Returning (Q & Jawato) and First-Year JUNIOR Bobbitt,

    YOU ARE One of the Seniormost Players,
    A Returning ALL-Conference First-Team ALL-STAR
    And THE International Championship Experience Player — (Championsip Game In the Morning!)

    …You Also Have Great Coaches,
    and Probably THE BEST Collection of Sophomores & Freshmen in UHMBB History
    Take Charge, Expect and GET The Best from Your Talented Teammates
    AND You Can Take The Program Higher Than Itʻs Been for Awhile…

    AND Maybe Your Team IS Headed Places This Town Has Never Seen…

    GO FO-Tu
    GoʻBows
    GO, The Mighty Warriors!

  3. Basketball season doesn’t start for a while. But study season already begun.
    We fans are all excited for the upcoming season. But for now, be the leader in the classroom.
    Get back in the rhythm of college work.

    Hey, someone bring this guy some poke !!

  4. Yes….another example of a guy, key guy, coming back for his next season and run to great things. We are thankful. I am. And so are thousands of other UH MBB fans here and around the globe. You, know now, because of WI and Isaac’s great run in FIBA, UH MBB is being followed as well. Isaac made a lot of fans through out Spain and the world.

    akuhead2, that is the thing, and we are sure, Coach, the advisors, and teachers, make sure Isaac on board in class, and on track academically. I knew that Gib would give Isaac a break from the intense preseason workouts, to get his legs back. Now, Isaac, the level of play will be something , an International BB experienced on world stage level.

    Isaac Fotu, G Money Nevels, Q Smith, Roderick Bobbitt, NWC, and the whole great team, can be something special this year, you can just feel it. Keep on grinding UH MBB team, get better and , Isaac, lead by example in class and on the court.. Great things await..

  5. Exciting season ahead for the boys…

    Can’t wait to come over in person and cheer them on in the DHC.

    GO THE MIGHTY WARRIORS

  6. Hey akuhead, with a name like that, you would be a natural to bring him some poke. lol.

  7. glad to see u 42. manoa maniac and uh students cheer on team. wish Jaime Smith back soon.fotu is good.nice to see coach Arnold make sure Isaac okay catch up with classes.

  8. Wonderful to see Bro with the Fro back in town! Once again, the “experts” on other websites are proven wrong. Some were saying he would not be back. I think one of the know it alls even claimed to have info on the investigation and that’s why Fotu would not be back. Wrong, wrong, wrong! This only shows that you should never believe anything you read from all the false prophets on other boards.

    Have a great year Isaac!

  9. Dayton, is Fotu’s hair coming off or not for season?

  10. I just have to point out the shooting percentage Isaac put up (over 60% against very good competition) during the world games. The man does not take bad shoots. I can just image how he will do with college competition and some outside three point support so teams can’t afford to double and triple team him.

    I looked at the UH schedule and it shows HPU as an exhibition game on the 6th. Haven’t been on the island for a while and didn’t know. Is that correct? If so it takes 8days off my calendar before UH hits the court.

    My son mentioned to me and I agree. That picture of the team on the beach with a double rainbow should be the first thing we send to potential recruits. Love the round ball.

  11. Dayton. Please give us latest update on investigation.

  12. coach arnold and team.16 of them have lot of aloha from uh student body and other sports team.great to have fun coach.uh men basketball good.thank u gib.

  13. gib_ogood — I don’t think anyone who can talk has an update on the investigation.

  14. Been on football watch overload.

    Chuck…like beating dead horse..or redundant..Dayton too much journalistic integrity to deal with unknown, unconfirmed or uninformed..think about it..take a few minutes..uh legal counsel..ad has outside counsel specialist best in the country..and hc has good backer legal.uh mbb hc and program let all team and families know what may or may not go down…wait a minute..think objectively..okay..now..think..uh mbb, adept..uh..must know deal..guys and families know hang in there …counsel handle..

    Result: 16 guys including all world bb athlete IFotu..42 come back to hawaii ready to rock..16 guys with full support of families all enrolled..not a one jump ship..
    Whatever is outcome for 16 guys to still be here working and grinding in school and on court..gib must be grinning from ear to ear.
    🙂

    Even beat writer..DR…FL. ..and those anti uh mbb “fans”..must really be upset team together and ready to rock
    If any thing probably smaller things..Dayton…never was a rumor monger…negative..or uh hc whomever hater…best uh bb beat reporter and still is..too much integrity..to go negative..just report the facts..
    Dayton a fan of uh mbb and insider..will not report anything with no substance..for or not..uh mbb heading for first exhibition game very soon..

    And 9999 WI fans and one..?.. out of 10000 love the team..
    Going to be good season cannot wait!

    Remember..think about it objectively..guys are here the sensational sixteen because they believe this year with all talent..chance to big dance march..if titanic…? All hands jump..not one has..they good boys..great young men!!
    Nuff said..enjoy a fantastic uh bb season!!
    Go Rainbow Warriors!! Broken..they …maybe two handful bloggers never give..up..I just wasted my time..
    UH mbb ready tovrock the SSC and the BWC. !!

    Guys just want to go ncaa’s !!

  15. YES, IF They Actually KNOW,
    They’re Supposed to Keep It Zipped…

    ————

    SO…

    DON’T WORRY ‘BOUT IT…
    You CAN’T ACT On It OR Change It

    GOD, Grant US The Courage to Change the Things We Can,
    The Serenity to Accept The Things We Can’t,
    AND The Wisdom to Know the Difference…

    CAN WE GET The Legislature To PROPERLY FUND TOP-LEVEL D-1 Athletics?
    Would We Consider Short-Changing Tourism?
    The Environment?
    Higher Education? Enrollment?
    GOOD-Will In the State, OF Which Athletics IS A HUGE Part

    NCAA Drags Their Feet…
    MAKES UP Arbitrary Rules
    LOSES Most Court Challenges

    WE’ve Got The RIGHT GUYS On It…
    (The Guys Who ‘Could’ Challenge Them in Court)
    BUT Better, Work a Fairer Settlement

    IDEALLY They Actually Get it Right
    And The Facts Prevail….

    AND This Too, Shall Pass

    And The Program Continues to Elevate…
    (MINOR Hiccup or Small Neg Requested / Prayed For…)

    ———————-

    RETURN…

    BACK TO BETTER THINGS…

  16. If UH mbb and AD had letter from big boys would be let known..compliance..don’t comment..probably compliance..coaches..AD..has to go to seminar update current stuff..
    All we know team ..16 here and ready to chase championships..
    Let those in the know handle..man tha gal/ guy still making stink..UCSB..guy?
    🙂

  17. And NBA great PG John Wall visits with gib and throw out support shout for uh mbb..he is a good guy..
    Eagle nuff..pau… Gib has some good friends..all across the world.
    🙂

    Back to Isaac..he say he is in such great shape..if first game were this week ..he is ready..awesome!!
    Go Bows!!

  18. Love to see open gym run with Isaac hitting 5 or six nothing but net trifectas!

  19. long as uh student and sevral tousand , 5000 or more ssc love coach n team. uh student fans love jamie smith too. some student maybe hurt feeling? Just go game cheer with maniac lose the blues ..

  20. Tonganator: Thankyou for shout out to faithful supportive WI UH MBB nation.
    Wonder ..if Isaac growing “fear the beard”
    🙂
    Go The Mighty Warriors!!

    Eagle:

    Returnees lettermen= 8
    Nevels..Q…Fotu..Thomas. ..Jovanovich. .Valdes…Enos…Jawato

    Newbies: = 8 (including sit out transfers..RS’s..)
    NWC..Fleming…Bobbitt…Reyes…Jankovich…Stepteau…Buscher..Filopovic..

    8 + 8= Potential GREAT..

  21. Almost Assuredly Great…

    16 with Hard Work…

    12 with Pedigree

    Rotate… WIN

    WIN More!

    Go ‘Bows!

    ——-

    UCSB
    BW-ENVY…

  22. Whew, Fotu’s back! Issac you got plenty extra hair ,time to donate some to cancer cause ,for people who have lost their hair to cancer treatment , buzz cut bruddha you will feel lighter and run faster the sweat in the hair during the game builds up weighing you down . Nice buzz cut brudda Fotu and donate it all.

  23. Actually ..check out IFotu on youtube vid when he was 17..or so..with his 3 on 3 NZ team which won that chapionship I think…Isaac had the short hair with little tail strand..all tatted up..looked awesome..

    Well..if he plays like all american and leads team to ncaa’s ..with fro and beard that is okay…seems to be his trademark..however with heatwave in honolulu..maybe cut and donate..that is giving back big time!!

  24. Hey Tonganator what is the chances that we see Fotu’s sister in a rainbow uniform next year?
    It would be cool if the two of them could spend 1 yr of school together before Issac is off to Europe or possibly even the NBA if he can improve his game.

  25. That would be nice… Ella and Isaac.. WBB and MBB team…know that Ella and younger brother Daniel 6’5″? are great youth NZ Basketball athletes, probably some of the better talent in all of Polynesia.

    Tonganator, one thing, Isaac’s demeanor, his personality, it translates so well to Hawaii culture, where majority of very mixed ethinc groups, and ancestries are low key , laid back and very much Aloha, kind people. Well, I would say the Majority..
    That is why he is well liked by UH MBB fans, in New Zealand, and all the countries that NZ Tall Blacks played in , as well as in the FIBA World Cup in Spain. He has fans around the world now.

    We are very, very fortunate to have Isaac as a Rainbow Warrior! He will have a good and productive Pro Basketball career after completing college. You have very nice children, credit to you and Mama Fotu!

  26. Rob T and Runbows.

    Thanks for your kind words. Ella and Daniel preparing for the New Zealand High School National Champ and hopefully Rangitoto can take out both boys and girls title. I know Isaac will be interested to find out how his old school doing at national.

    Good to see all the players starting to gel together.
    Looking forward to some more open gym hilite..

    GO THE MIGHTY WARRIORS

  27. hopefully some recruiting news soon and more open gyms

  28. Yay FOTU is BACK in HAWAII!!!! Hey Tonganator……thanks for letting us borrow your son!

  29. All good Valerie, and thanks for making it possible for us to follow Isaac through this website. Hope all is well with your Ohana.

    GO THE MIGHTY WARRIORS

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