Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Catching up with Mate Colina

It would have been logical for Mate Colina to follow the unofficial but longstanding basketball pipeline that runs from Australia to Saint Mary’s College. Instead, he opted to be part of a new and building pipeline at the University of Hawai’i.

Colina, a 6-foot-11, 232-pound center from Melbourne, Australia, is committed to joining the UH basketball team in late December. He will be a freshman during the 2018-19 season, and will have four seasons of eligibility. The official paperwork is yet to be completed, but Colina confirmed that he chose Hawai’i after completing a recruiting visit to Oahu earlier this month.

“I’m excited because I think it’s a great opportunity waiting for me there at Hawai’i,” Colina said. “It’s somewhere I think I can make an impact.”

(Photo at right courtesy Colina family; from left, John Montgomery, Jack Purchase, Mate Colina, Eran Ganot and Adam Jacobsen)

One of the program’s recruiting goals for 2017 was to sign a “big man,” and Colina appears to fit the bill. He is currently playing for the Basketball Australia Centre for Excellence program, which annually selects the best teen prospects in Australia to train and play at the Centre’s first-class facilities in Canberra.

Colina has been training at the Centre for Excellence since 2015, and is averaging 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in just 20.4 minutes per game during the team’s current season. His enrollment at UH is being delayed until January 2018 because he must still complete his Australian high school work in December of this year (Australian schools follow a different calendar than American high schools).

“I would describe it as inside-out,” he said of his preferred style of play. “I’m very hard working and I leave it all on the court regardless of where I am. I can play inside but I can also come out to the 3-point line and hit shots. I have to be a presence defensively and get rebounds but I’ll do anything the coaches want me to do.”

Colina and his parents visited the UH campus in early July, and he said it helped that fellow Australian Jack Purchase was on the island at the time. Purchase, a 6-8 junior forward from Melbourne, has been a member of the UH program since 2015.

“Talking to Jack helped a lot,” Colina said. “He told me all about the place and the team and how much he loves it. I also found the coaching staff really approachable, and all the boys were really accepting. It just felt like a group I wanted to be around.”

Colina also made a visit to Saint Mary’s, which has become a West Coast power thanks in part to its ability to recruit and retain players from Australia. Saint Mary’s had six Australians on its roster last season.

“That was tough,” Colina said of his decision. “There’s such an Australian culture at Saint Mary’s, but that’s why having Jack (Purchase) there in Hawai’i really helped. We talked about what an exciting opportunity this is for the both of us to be part of something special.”

As for his first name, it is pronounced in two syllables: ma-te. And yes, he has heard it mispronounced his entire life, particularly in Australia, where the greeting “g’day mate” is common.

“I was named after my grandfather, and my grandparents are Croatian,” Colina explained. “But, yeah, everybody says g’day mate when I first meet them and they see my name.”


  1. Absolutely a big Mahalo to Jack Purchase ! Go Bows !!
    Purchase will be a Junior this year, so only one year to play with Mate Colina.
    Clearly Ganot and Co. will continue to recruit from down under. It’s something new and could be great if we keep it going.

  2. Hawaii is still a sleeper as far as collegiate sports is concerned. But I think what makes this current go around interesting is the vision and keen eye of our AD David Martlin. He is battling a pretty high average in terms of great coach picks. Ganot, Rolovich, Beman, and now Ah Mow are all solid picks. Uh’s future looks bright and poised to make an impact nationally. Mate Colina will be part of that story.

  3. Janks to Euro League , per BrianM.

  4. PF 6-8 Jacob Eyman receives offer for 2018.

  5. From the video, is that pronounced Eeman ?
    With the E standing for Eraser ?
    That’s a heck of a lot of blocked shots !

  6. Islandman: Mahalo for your terrific links on the MBB recruits! Really like the trend of getting more athletic players: Avea, Helmsley, Stallworth for this year and possible recruits like Hepa, Eyman, and Richards for 2018. Really like Eyman’s shot-blocking abilities and his quick jumping! Looking forward to seeing the new 2017 recruits in action.

  7. Bryan Alberts to LBSU, for two years.

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