Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

North Shore hoops? Warriors would go

It’s that time of year, when hardcore surfers and big wave spectators flock to O’ahu’s North Shore to test their abilities and courage, and to enjoy the spectacular scenery.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

But this year, the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team is hoping to make college hoops another main draw as it plays the role of the featured team in the inaugural Patty Mills North Shore Classic, set for Friday and Saturday at Brigham Young Hawai’i’s Cannon Activities Center in La’ie. UH (3-1)  faces Sacramento State (3-2) at 3:30 p.m. Friday, and then either Southern Utah or Texas State on Saturday at either 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. (depending on Friday’s outcomes).

“The venue looks incredible, the area is obviously awesome,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “Our guys are happy to represent UH and learn about different parts of the island. This is the culmination of a lot of effort, and people continue to step up. We’re thankful and appreciative of our sponsors, the event organizers, BYU-Hawai’i, Brandyn Akana … and the other teams for making the trip. It’s a great field. You have a Sacramento State team that is 3-2, a Texas State team that has already won at Rhode Island and at Cal, and a Southern Utah team that won 20 games last year and took Kansas to the wire.

“It’s a great event for so many reasons, and great competition on the floor.”

UH got a sneak preview just last Saturday when it defeated Hawai’i Pacific, 79-55, at the Cannon Center. 

“I think it was huge for us to go out there and play a game,” said junior point guard JoVon McClanahan. “I had never played in that gym before, but it’s a really nice gym, it’s a good venue, the court is nice, the rims are nice and (there is) very good lighting in there. I just think it gives us a little bit of an advantage just to go in there and play and practice over there and feel the North Shore energy. I’m excited to go in there and play again this week.”

The tournament’s title sponsor is Patty Mills, a backup point guard for the Brooklyn Nets who owns a home on the North Shore and lives there in the offseason. 

“How about Patty Mills stepping up as he has?” Ganot said. “This is a guy who has played in the NBA for (almost) 15 years, still going strong. I think last year he was the Community Service Award (nominee) in the entire NBA. Here is a guy who lives here in the offseason, he comes during the All-Star break when he can, he got married here (in Waimea Valley). So he is one of those guys who really immerses himself into who he represents, he certainly gives back to the community that he loves, and that’s what he’s doing here sponsoring this event in Year 1. I mean, $10 tickets and free parking — that’s pretty cool.”

Although separated by some 36 miles and about a one-hour scenic drive, La’ie and UH have several strong connections. Warriors co-captain Samuta Avea grew up about 15 minutes away in neighboring Hau’ula, and graduated from Kahuku High School about 10 minutes away in the other direction. His Kahuku classmate Jessiya Villa played for UH two years ago. Former Warriors assistant coach Brandyn Akana lives in Hau’ula, serves as BYUH’s Head of Sports and Student Activities and is Kahuku’s varsity boys head coach.

Kawika Hallums, a former Warriors point guard and current Spectrum Sports analyst for Hawai’i home games, played his first two seasons at BYUH. And former Warriors guard Zach Buscher’s family owns Lei Lei’s Bar & Grill at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku.

“I think it’s cool to provide experiences (for the players) and exposing them to different parts of the island, different communities, different fans,” Ganot said. “What a great fan base and great community there is on the North Shore, what a special place to be able to share with our team. Obviously you talk about Samuta Avea, who knows it well, but he’s even talked about sharing where he grew up with his teammates and our staff. It’s a rabid fan base, a great sports area, (but) they haven’t had a (basketball) team out there for awhile. So just to see even what it could be like in our first taste last weekend, we know it’s going to be bigger and better this coming week.  

“So we’re really excited about that, bringing back the game, growing the game. This is all about celebration of the islands, celebration of community and giving back, and celebrating this great game. Having kids from that area watch these teams play. It’s a step in the right direction, there’s been a lot of initiatives that we’ve done over the past couple years, and they’re gonna keep coming.”


  1. I hope attendance picks up. Couple hundred fans for the UH game is no bueno.

  2. Great tournament but so far from majority of oahu residents. Hopefully attendance improves but what about TV coverage ?

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