1. KS (16-7)
2. PUN (20-2)
3. KON (17-2)
4. FAR (18-4)
5. MS (19-3)
6. IOL (15-6)
7. KLH (21-6)
8. BAL (13-4)
9. STL (10-10)
10. HPA (11-3)
The official Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10 was released this morning with Maryknoll at No. 1. Punahou got a few votes. Only one other team got a first-place vote: Kamehameha.
You may think, yes, Pupule has truly gone mad. But it’s not true at all. I challenge the voters — coaches and media — to justify voting for teams that have been far less than stellar in the past week. Sure, wins and losses in December are worth considering. But my primary criteria is head to head, and the sooner, the better.
Kamehameha beat then-No. 3 ‘Iolani a week ago. No ifs, ands or buts. Then a few nights ago, the Warriors beat Punahou. No excuses, just facts. Punahou had its normal starting line and lost at Kekuhaupio Gym.
Maryknoll? They got beat by 11 by Punahou last week.
It’s this simple: As good as Maryknoll is offensively, and as much as they deserve a No. 1 spot, it is almost impossible for me to vote a team to the top spot by default. MARYKNOLL LOST TO PUNAHOU. ‘IOLANI LOST TO KAMEHAMEHA. PUNAHOU LOST TO KAMEHAMEHA. There is an argument to be made, of course, since Maryknoll beat Kamehameha two weeks ago. I can’t argue against that. But in terms of quality wins and frequency of quality wins, Kamehameha rules. Right now.
The insanity is not here with this Pupule. It’s with the voters who put Kamehameha behind Punahou, Maryknoll and ‘Iolani, and put the Warriors at No. 4.
I’m all for the weight of a full season’s work, but right now, if you beat (then) No. 1 and No. 2, there’d better be a hell of a great reason why you vote that team anything but No. 1. It’s ridiculous. RIDONKULOUS.
Things are turning out to be quite even this season. Farrington is back to full strength now that the last of the football all-star exhibition make-a high-school-all-star-game-in-the-dead-of-winter craziness is finally pau. With super sub Manly Williams (6-3), velvet-touch center Mason Semisi (6-5?) and dynamic Jacob McEnroe (6-2) done with the helmets and pads, the Govs are extremely tough to beat. They beat Maryknoll 90-83 in overtime not so long ago with that full lineup and they can do it again, which is why I have them at No. 4 on my list.
Kalaheo is proving to be steady and sturdy since the heavy traffic of preseason. The return of some key players hasn’t hurt, either. And yes, I know the Mustangs beat the Govs recently, but that was a Farrington team missing three starters. And Farrington almost pulled out the win on the road.
Almost forgot this: Konawaena at No. 3. Yes. They’ve done nothing to prove they don’t belong in the top 5, at the very least, and their comeback win at Kalaheo in preseason is valid. The Wildcats also have a loss to Waiakea, but that’s a plus for Waiakea, not a minus for the road-weary Wildcats. (Waiakea just beat Hilo on Monday night by almost 20 points, which proves that the Warriors are for real.) Konawaena is a tough matchup for two reasons: 1. Steady point guard Brandon Awa, who is much stronger this year and can attack the basket consistently, and 2. Jonah Bredeson, a 6-2 load who can explode on either side off the bucket and can stretch defenders thanks to his shooting range out to the arc.
Baldwin has been disappointing since knocking off a depleted Farrington squad and nearly upsetting Punahou at Hemmeter Fieldhouse. Baldwin and Lahainaluna are struggling to separate from the rest of the MIL’s D-I competition. King Kekaulike has been formidable in years past, but graduated a lot of key players. The Bears and Lunas can’t seem to pull away, not yet.
Saint Louis hasn’t had a significant win in weeks. It’s almost disturbing, given the talent level. Then again, their three-strong backcourt is all juniors, so time and patience are factors.
Then I’ve got Hawaii Prep at No. 10 because they are playing very good basketball right now. Better than the Lunas, for sure. How Lahainaluna keeps losing and still stays in the Top 10 is beyond me. Go ask a coach or media guy in your neighborhood.
Why HPA instead of …
Moanalua? Na Menehune are scrappy and have enough talent. But they got routed by 30 against Farrington over the weekend. Now’s not the time.
Roosevelt? They may be a surprise team in a lot of fans’ eyes, bt they just lost to Kailua in OT.
Campbell? Issac Hurd is a tough player and the Sabers have some nice quickness. But they’ve lost to a lot of ranked and almost-ranked teams, and they beat Kapolei by only 10 last week.
Mililani? The pieces are there and coach Ed Gonzales’ team is playing good ball right now. Maybe next time.
St. Francis? The rough D-II battles in the ILH haven’t been kind to the Saints, though they knocked off Damien last week.
Kahuku? Getting better, but still some inconsistency. Losing at home to Moanalua in OT hurts.
Waiakea? They’re on the fringe for me. I’ll remember the win over Hilo. Lucas St. George. Remember the name.