Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Hepa breaks through with rare double-double

Is it possible to produce one of the top individual performances in recent memory and get overlooked? That may be the case for University of Hawai’i senior Kamaka Hepa.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

The 6-foot-10 forward recorded 30 points and 14 rebounds in the Rainbow Warriors’ 90-66 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sunday. That is just the fourth time since the year 2000 that a Hawai’i player had a double-double with 30 or more points and 10 or more rebounds. The only others to do it since 2000 are:

• Troy Ostler (34 points and 10 rebounds in 2000)

• Christian Standhardinger (31 points and 16 rebounds in 2013)

• Noah Allen (30 points and 12 rebounds in 2017)

Hepa was one rebound short of becoming just the fifth player in UH basketball history to record a double-double with 30 or more points and 15 or more rebounds.

Yet, Hepa was not selected as the Big West Conference Player of the Week on Monday. UC Riverside guard Zyon Pullin received the honor.

Here’s what Pullin did in his only game last week: 26 points, 12-for-23 field goals, 2 for 4 on 3-pointers, five rebounds, two assists and zero turnovers. He also hit the game-winning shot in a 76-74 UCR road win at Idaho.

Here’s what Hepa did in two games (road loss at UNLV, home win over Saint Francis): 22.5 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game, 17 for 29 field goals (.586), 8 for 15 on 3-pointers (.533), four assists, two blocked shots, one turnover.

Although Hepa has been a starter at Hawai’i since the start of last season, his performance against Saint Francis was a breakthrough game and a significant statistical increase. Prior to Sunday, he had never scored more than 19 points in a game in his four previous NCAA seasons (three at Texas and last year at Hawai’i). Entering Sunday’s game, he was averaging 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this season, and had one career double-double.

“I shot a little bit more than I usually did, for sure,” Hepa said after Sunday’s game. “But in terms of 3-point attempts, it was just a regular game. I just happened to hit more than I missed. I think that goes a lot to the process orientation of the type of program that we are. Coach (Eran) Ganot is never really the type of coach to get on us for taking bad shots. Obviously, he stresses good shot selection, but he’s never mad at us for taking shots that we practice every day.”

The Warriors do not have any games scheduled this week due to academic final exams. The next home games will be in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, December 22, 23 and 25. Hawai’i will face Pepperdine on the opening night at 6:00 p.m.

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)