Big Red Silencio

As of Monday, Kahuku returned to the Punahou Invitational with a full roster. The Red Raiders struggled past Punahou II, 42-41. This was a flip-flop from Saturday’s circumstances, when just five players were in uniform and another 10 were in street clothes watching the game from the bleachers in an act of protest.

Take a look below at the official lineups provided by the Punahou Invitational tournament. The first is from Day 1, when the protest occurred. The second is from Day 2, when the protesting players suited up, but switched numbers. The public address announcer had no way to identify them since even their new (temporary?) coach didn’t know who was who, or which numbers had been switched.



It all makes sense in some way. The dominant football team had a nickname for its lockdown secondary: “Rebel Squad”. One of the most popular T-shirt designs during football season — created off campus, I believe — showed a Red Raider with a black handkerchief on his face. Old West villain style.

On Monday, Coach Alan Akina watched from the bleachers as someone else coached the Red Raiders.

What we know:
1. The Wailing Continueth

The furor that has led to the melodrama of the past few days was ignited long before. When three New Zealanders showed up at Kahuku just before the 2014-15 season, there was some confusion. Two of the players had been on Maryknoll’s team two years prior, and there were questions about the eligibility of one of the players. (That situation was never quite resolved, and the player was permitted to participate in OIA and HHSAA basketball.)

Top playmaker Samuta Avea, a springy, multi-skilled 6-3 ballhawk and scorer, was reduced to a lesser role. The complaints in the bleachers got even louder when sharpshooter Keanu Akina, the coach’s son, became a focal point. If the usually accurate gunner had not been a son of the head coach, would this have been a problem? I doubt it. Right or wrong, critics were not happy.

2. When the season ended, Avea departed the state
He moved to Utah and was bittersweet in transition. He wasted little time once he left, joining a club that traveled often for regional tournaments.

I felt then, and still do, that Avea was close to breaking out with huge fantasy-league type numbers. And if the Kiwis had never arrived — they inquired with two other schools before landing at Kahuku — who knows? Maybe two or three other players would have blossomed with more minutes. We’ll never know. What’s done was done.

3. Nobody is really talking
I heard briefly from Coach Akina on Saturday via text. I responded. I called. Nothing since. He’s pulled back for whatever reason. Has he been silenced?

On the surface, the Protest 10 got their wish. But they don’t really, really want to talk any more, or I’m certain they would’ve contacted me again. They’re polite. They articulate their points. They’re receptive to feedback. They’re not thugs. They think Coach Akina is a “good guy” in general. Akina teaches financial education, for goodness sakes.

There are squares, borderline nerds, within this whole diatribe. These guys are not naturally confrontational by any means. And yet… what if the new coach comes to the same conclusions as his predecessor?

For all we know, Coach Akina is sitting out as a formality as the school conducts an investigation. Or he’s actually been forced out. As I mentioned on Saturday, Kahuku administrators had called Punahou coach Darren Matsuda to pull out of the tournament, and he objected. Whether Akina had the Red Raiders participate in the tourney against the wishes of the administration — which had just met with parents — we don’t know for sure. Yet.


  1. 88 December 29, 2015 9:59 am

    Paul if he wasn’t the Coaches son he would be coming off the bench as a role player. The Savao kid was the better ball handler/defender last year. Avea and the two 6’7 players from NZ should of been the focal point on offense for the team but they were not.

  2. hi808 December 29, 2015 11:17 am

    6’7, 6’6, 6’4 roster and they were shooting 3 pointers. The 5’9″ linebacker from Farrington single handedly beat KHS for the OIA title. Im just a casual fan of basketball but even I thought something was suspicious about the KHS coacing philosophy.

  3. CriticalReader December 29, 2015 11:58 am

    Basketball seems to be the source of far more controversy in recent years than football.

    Smith at Punahou and Kalaheo, the AOP program as a whole, the Kiwis last year, and the ghosts of kiwis this year.

    Makes for interesting sports reading and talk, but kids sitting out games in protest, and switching numbers so that the coach doesn’t know who’s who?

    Something’s wrong.

  4. EwaEwa December 29, 2015 1:57 pm

    Maybe the football boys transitioning to the basketball team are being discriminated against for the simple fact that they are two sport athletes not dedicating their full time and attention to basketball like how the coaches son and a few others are?

    just a thought.

  5. Spartan December 29, 2015 2:05 pm

    In this story the player named Latu seems to be the spokesperson for the kids. No offense but I don’t know how you can complain about anything when you shoot 4/12 from the free throw line. 33% would make DeAndre Jordan look like a Free Throw Shooting God.

    It’s amazing how so many arm-chair coaches can do a better job than Coach Akina. Like I said in my previous post and though reports from both the Star-Advertiser & Scoringlive, almost all of the coaches around Oahu support coach Akina and his method of coaching. Coach Matsuda of Punahou and Coach Tacon of Kamehameha have gone on the record supporting Coach Akina. Various coaches from Iolani, Maryknoll, Mid Pacific, Mililani, Moanalua, Farrington, Kalaheo, and Kaiser share similar feelings off the record.

    It’s shameful what has been done to this family man. Akina’s son has gone off for 20 points many times in his career. I don’t know any coach in the state that has the luxury of bringing in a kid off the bench who is capable of this.

    It’s sad that this man is dedicating his time for peanuts and some of the parents and community is acting the way there are. To me, if you want to complain, then roll up your sleeves and coach for peanuts too.

    Truth be told, the coach’s son can play and the people who are bothered are jealous that their kid, family member, or friend isn’t being featured. All the coaches around our state know Coach Akina was doing it the right way. I am confident if you polled the bball coaches an overwhelming number would support Coach Akina even if it was done anonymously.

  6. basketballgm December 29, 2015 2:19 pm

    I completely agree with “Spartan”. My grandson plays OIA basketball and is on a club team ( not for Coach Akina) but I have seen him coach many, many times over the past four years and he is always a class act. He definitely does not deserve this kind of treatment.

  7. Reel Talk December 29, 2015 3:01 pm

    This is the “reel talk” for everyone. Let’s read in between the lines. It’s easy to say there is nepotism involved with Coach Alan & his son. But the “reel” is his son is BY FAR the best player out there. Anyone with half a brain would run sets for him. The reason why the kids and parents are using the dad is coaching his son argument is that it’s convenient. The “reel” truth is many kids and parents had their feelings hurt last year. Why might you ask? It has to do with the 3 Kiwis (Green, Harris, Brooke). Many homegrown kids and their families are still upset since the 3 Kiwis beat them out for playing time. Anyone with half a brain knew that those 3, Akina’s kid, and the kid who transferred to Utah should have played the majority of minutes.

    But instead of working harder or teaching their kids to perform at a higher level, the easy thing to do was complain to admin. Hell, why work harder to improve their game and get a better outcome? That would be too hard. It’s easier to complain and get our way. Then this year, still upset, and running plays for his son just adds salt to a wound that these families could have fixed instead of complaining, they sit out and want the coach’s head again. Ho Hum. Thats the reel talk….

  8. bawlah December 29, 2015 3:11 pm

    Spartan and basketballgm, you need to do your research. Of course the coaches will support him. Because they all want to tell kids what to do without being questioned…of course. Any coach would want that. But what you don’t know is that he’s forcing his 9th grade son into the lineup when there are many kids on the team capable of doing a better job, or at the very least the same thing. So other kids deserving of playing time, are riding the bench in order for his son to play. I just saw them play in a league without the Akina boys and they almost went undefeated! You don’t need a 20 point scorer if you have good teamwork.

    I’ve seen him coach in leagues before. He’s very respectful and does a great job volunteering his time to help the kids. It’s very honorable. But he’s also very blatant about having everything revolve around his kids. So you tell me what “teammate” would want to play for a coach like that, or have a teammate that can make mistakes and not get taken out. When it’s blatantly unfair for the other kids, you can’t expect kids to just accept it. Maybe some kids would, but you’re talking about Latu like he’s a scrub. Latu is a Varsity basketball member since 9th grade, all-state in football for years, multiple scholarship offers for football. This kid is a champion and he’s leading like a champion. Nobody cares about his free throw shooting right now. Bigger things are at stake. He’s standing up for his teammates. You think he has to worry about playing time??? Absolutely not!!! He’ll start no matter what because he’s 1 of the best in the state.

    It’s a shame that it came to this, but the kids probably felt cornered. I doubt they would do this just because they want play time…they probably felt cornered. I’ve read reports that they talked to the AD about the situation. I’ve read reports that the community is calling them names for doing this. So they’re not having fun doing this.

    On the flip side, Coach Akina doesn’t deserve to be humiliated. Maybe he should have listened to the kids. I don’t know. But it seems like it’s not working out for all parties involved.

  9. bawlah December 29, 2015 3:17 pm

    @reel talk “Anyone with half a brain knew that those 3, Akina’s kid, and the kid who transferred to Utah should have played the majority of minutes.”

    Really?? I was lucky to watch 1 game last year vs Kalaheo. Those 3 kiwis got outrebounded, had the most turnovers, and played crappy defense. I’m not a Kahuku person, I just heard the news and wanted to see good basketball. Instead, they all looked like they’ve never played ball before. So I’m not sure about you saying they all deserved those minutes. And I heard they got owned by 1 of the smallest teams in the state. 6’5″, 6’7″, and 6’4″ getting outrebounded??? It doesn’t seem like u know reel talk!!!

  10. Spartan December 29, 2015 3:42 pm

    @ Bawlah, really club league? The leagues that use running clock and are often coached by parents? The leagues where most teams don’t or rarely practice. That is your measring stick? What league would this be? I hope not NJB or YBOL. Also rumors have it that several of the 8 kids did not want to sit out but did so out of fear. Is that being a leader? To scare and intimidate peers?

    You guys can continue to complain about Coach Akina, and he might never coach for Kahuku again, but around the community of Oahu he is being looked at in a great light. The kids and parents are being looked at as spoiled brats. You may disagree, but I trust my temperature check after talking to numerous coaches over the last two days.

    As for playing for a hard coach, I played for a coach named Mr. Sellitto who brought in grown men who also were police officers and security guards who tuned us up. My teammates and I never ran home and complained to our parents. I also played for a coach who had us practicing sliding for baseball on a tarp with no water so we got rug burns. It made us tougher.

    And for your one game, you want to use the game against the state champions as your model? That’s a little subjective wouldn’t you say?

  11. Spartan December 29, 2015 3:55 pm

    @Bawlah I recall two boys named the Unga brothers who played for Kahuku. Almost all of the sets were run for Junior Ale. They weren’t allowed to shoot. If they got a rebound they passed it back out. They played defense and rebounded. Surely they wanted to shoot, but they did their job, and just played. Unfortunate how times have changed.

    As for who is the best and whatnot, last time I checked, the coach and his staff are the ones who assess the kids and decide who plays. I do not and neither should the fans. So your assessment of who should play doesn’t trump the coach.

    I also find it very peculiar that you were only able to watch 1 game last year, but you somehow are so close to the program that you know who plays and how the kids feel. That would make you either a parent or someone close to a player. So no offense, but your testimony is skewed and very subjective. You just showed your hand.

    How can you only see 1 game and have such privy information?

  12. Spartan December 29, 2015 3:57 pm

    Bawlah, I mean parents, can’t you guys just support unconditionally? Or do you guys need a say in anything? If you can do better, apply for the job and show us. OIA coach’s contracts are year to year so you have a chance.

  13. bawlah December 29, 2015 4:07 pm

    spartan, u talking rumors are this and that. YOU DON’T KNOW!!!! Talk to someone that knows and then come on here and give ur story. The kids were not intimidated. So don’t start or spread rumors you don’t have a clue about.

    Coaches can look at kids being spoiled…all of you can. You town people have no idea how hard these kids work. Drive out to Laie at any time in the evening and you’ll find kids working hard on their own to get better. That doesn’t define spoiled. That is hard work looking for someone trying to help them find success. So you and your temperature check can hit da road.

    You played for a coach named Sellitto who coached 30 years ago. You and your teammates never grew up together, worked out together since the age of 8, trained as a group all your life only to have a coach tell them sit, or pass to my son. These kids are cousins, family, life long friends. You wouldn’t even know how to compare to these kids. Call em spoiled, but u have no idea!! Just cuz u played back in the days 30 years ago, doesn’t give u the right to tell these kids ur sad stories. Ur life doesn’t compare. U talking about football kids, playing basketball for the school, community, not for scholarships.

    And for the 1 game, do u know what I’m saying?? I jus looked up the stats last year. They were outrebounded in almost half the games. That means they were taking all 3s!!! I thought u said u played basketball?? If you’re bigger than the opponent, you don’t bomb 3s…u force feed the big guys. DUH!!! Should be a double double clinic. their center didn’t even hit more than 10 rebounds hardly ever. That’s the model I’m looking at, since you’re asking.

    By the way, they just beat Kalaheo without Akina today!!!!! Coach and Son!!!

  14. bawlah December 29, 2015 4:11 pm

    Spartan, cmon…it’s called Facebook. It ain’t that hard. And I’m not a parent. Seriously, jus look it up on Facebook. Theyre all talking about it

  15. bawlah December 29, 2015 4:14 pm

    Honestly, I don’t understand why Maryknoll hasn’t won the last 5 years. They’ve been stacked every year. I guess chemistry??? But the ILH should be owning everyone in states. They recruit, they give money, they have all of the resources. It amazes me. Only Iolani has come close to dominating basketball in Hawaii

  16. Reel Talk December 29, 2015 4:39 pm

    Facebook? That’s your source? lol. And I am not going onto high school kids Facebook pages to read stuff. And we all know that kids are not the most reliable sources. They tend to leave out important bits of information and typically will only disclose what they want adults to hear. It’s very subjective and biased. I would think you would already know that.

  17. EwaEwa December 29, 2015 4:43 pm

    No wonder codered is silent because all you guys came here to talk, and why you communicating over the internet when you all live right next door to each other, just stick your head out the window and talk bubbles to each other. LOL! What is this, the Laie Community Association meeting online! bwahahaha!

    Any way, I know the father, the brother and with the other brother. Yes the Akinas are good peoples, great friends and wonderful neighbors. Nobody knows what the players are going through but if its enough to cause them to boycott then it must be something that none of us outsiders can comprehend or understand.

    I support the coach, the players and the community, we are all family and have love for each other at the end of the day. This is just another thing that make us stronger.

  18. Reel Talk December 29, 2015 4:46 pm

    Bawlah I know you are a player or student, it’s obvious by your language. You cannot say you guys work any more or less hard than town kids. Many kids work hard and many kids don’t. Impossible to say any kids work more or less hard.

  19. bawlah December 29, 2015 4:56 pm

    Wow, really…not a kid, jus more info than u fellaz I guess. And facebook, like EwaEwa knows, is a dam good source when it comes to Kahuku. No I’m not a parent, nor do I come from there. Jus in the know. It’s not that hard guys. I watch the leagues, I watch the kids that play, I know people. But that’s ok if u don’t know. Jus tryin to give the side that u guys haven’t read about yet. The Akinas are great people. Theyre getting nailed with this stuff. But so are the kids. I’m jus saying, it’s not hard to realize what’s happening. Numbers don’t lie. When 1 or 2 guys take all the shots…i mean google the stats from last year. U got the BIGGEST, high flying talent in all of the state!!! And they dont own the glass. I don’t care what generation ur from, that’s not good basketball. I heard of Junior Ale, seen him play. He’s amazing. I’m sure those Unga boys were good too, but no way they’re like Junior. Jus saying fellas. Don’t come on here and blast the kids as if there aren’t 2 sides.

  20. Reel Talk December 29, 2015 5:29 pm

    C’mon man be reel! Of course you are not going to admit if anyone hits the nail on the head, lol.

  21. Reel Talk December 29, 2015 5:48 pm

    Quote from Alan Akina’s lawyer, “What we’re going to try and do is get Alan restored as head coach. This is a situation in which there are some very spoiled parents who are trying to dictate to the school and in turn to the coach how he runs his team,” said Seitz, who attended today’s game and sat next to Akina. “Regrettably, the athletic director (Gillian Yamagata) and principal (Pauline Masaniai) don’t know how to handle the situation. The coach has been removed on an interim basis without any explanation. The kids are caught in the middle of this. It’s an atrocious situation of adults acting badly and hurting kids.”

    So sad that parents and kids think they can do these kinds of things. And many armchair coaches who probably never coached a day in their lives come on the blogs and want to make like they are basketball geniuses with no resume what so ever.

  22. bawlah December 29, 2015 5:58 pm

    Oh you’re not gonna call him spoiled, but the kids are? If you only knew about coaching and the egos they have. The kids don’t think they can do it, they did it!!! Unless u know some other facts u wanna share n not jus guessing. I’ve been on both sides. As a coach, you need kids to buy in. Anyone who knows anything about coaching would never argue that point. Because if u call the shots, people gotta follow. As a player u gotta put out 100%. But the players do all the work. Coaches jus play chess in the form of basketball, putting pieces in places. I hope it all works out for Akina

  23. Ua Ova Lou Taimi December 29, 2015 6:03 pm

    Being a fan of the game, one can only speculate. Last year’s Kahuku team should have easily controlled the paint. With the height they had last year, they should have ran an inside game all season long, but for some reason they shot jump shots after jump shots after 3 pointers after 3 pointers. Anyone who knows basketball knows that the game plan was totally wrong. It’s quite obvious that there was some kind of personal agenda.

    It’s easy for all you people to say that these kids/parents are spoiled until your children are in this situation. Kahuku’s whole last season was suspect from the beginning!

  24. Ua Ova Lou Taimi December 29, 2015 6:13 pm

    @Reel Talk – Akina is now fighting for what he thinks is right. Is he spoiled now? Or are you gonna play the “but the boys started it” card? lol

    I support the boys but I’ve only heard good things about the Akina family. Hope all works out for the better.

  25. bawlah December 29, 2015 6:32 pm

    Thank u…finally someone that understands. It cuts both ways peeps. ALWAYS 2 sides to a story. Both cant possibly be right or wrong. They were both wrong, they were both right. Both sides felt they were doing the right thing. The kids made their move, now Akina made a move. It’s chess, but both think they’re gonna win.

  26. 88 December 29, 2015 7:28 pm

    RealTalk-Anyone with half a brain would of fed the ball into his two 6-7 forwards and ran his offense around his 6-5 swingman.

  27. Hahashandah December 29, 2015 8:07 pm

    @Reel talk and @Spartan…. I see your big fans of coach Akina. I think he was a good player himself, he is a good coach. But for the life of me, he is a highly successful guy in business and his non coaching life. Why the heck does he care so much about a team that the large majority would rather not have him be the coach of? Why not step back and let them fail or succeed on their own? Go somewhere that his abilities as a coach can be appreciated.

  28. Red One December 29, 2015 8:27 pm

    Why is Coach Alan spoiled? The DOE possibly violated his contract. That is a HUGE difference than not getting the ball or having plays run for his son. This is his career and has to do with professional character. None of these kids on Kahuku are making it to the NBA.

  29. Spartan December 29, 2015 10:13 pm

    I am a big fan of any coach who gives up his or her time to help kids. You can say they are compensated, but a few thousand dollars for all the hours they put forth is barely anything. I have respect that Coach Akina shows up day in and out and tries is best. Are his decisions the best? I don’t know, I am not god. But he does it while many people on here criticize him. Everyone thinks they can coach but what teams are these bloggers coaching? Anyone can micromanage from behind the computer. Coach Akina is doing it in the public eye. Anyone can make decisions after the games are done. Coach Akina has to do it in real time.

    The usual suspects like 88 will come on here to say how he can do a better job yet he isn’t the head coach of any school.

    So in conclusion I respect all the coaches in the Island who are trying their best to do well. I am saddened people in a community where and his family grew up threw him under the bus.

    So many people from this community talk about the tight knit community, being family, being prideful, etc. Well this just shows that it’s full of crap to many people. When push came to shove and they didn’t like it, they threw one of the sons of Kahuku under the bus to embarrass for the entire state to witness.

    This is a fact and cannot be debated.

  30. Spartan December 29, 2015 10:14 pm

    @bawlah, to compare the two is completely naive at best, ignorant at worse.

    If the reports are true, Coach Akina has been fired or terminated. This goes on his record for potential jobs either coaching or professional. Hiring a lawyer to clear his name and get his job back is completely different than some teenagers and parents disagreeing with how he coaches.

    You really think these two situations are the same? I am at a lost for words if you do.

  31. bawlah December 29, 2015 11:51 pm

    Spartan, u must be one of his 101 people. U suckinng up to him soooo bad. Comparing the 2 is the only comparison there is u idiot, cuz that’s the situation. Dont drop words like arrogant n ignorant cuz I went to private school n college. Its not that serious. Did u hear??? These kids played for them for 4 years. They’re not in town where they can play for any old club team. They live an hour away from games n practices for clubs. He was and is the only coach theyve ever known. So if they dont like him, it’s for a good reason. Dont say toughen up, quit the team, jus dont play, all of those options that are not options. They’re from Kahuku, Spartan. Coaches should know better. When you coach a team with your son, dont show favortism. Am I the only 1 on this site that doesnt understand that??? You cannot possibly expect your team to listen to you if you favor your son. It wont work!!! Whos arrogant now?? I really hooe you’re lost for words because your argument doesnt stand against any athlete. You cant convince any player to go to battle for you if you’re gonna give special privileges to your son. Respond all you want, but I’m out. Good luck with your 101 class

  32. hilife December 30, 2015 12:01 am

    Shame on you ba0wlah dont bring in 101 @Finacial into this. It has no relevance to the Kahuku basketball team. If somone from 101 Finacial backs Alan up it’s because of the great experince they have had with 101 Finacial and Alan. You need to separate the two.

  33. bawlah December 30, 2015 4:59 am

    Hilife, shame on everybody for dogging the kids without knowing the true story. Seriously, calling the kids and the community spoiled brats???. Again, I’m not from there, never have been, never will be. Straight up, I jus know a lotta people. If spartan says he talked to coaches…well I talk to coaches too all the time. Ask them what their scouting report on Kahuku said about last years team. It was no secret. Everybody in the state, especially coaches, knew that everything ran through his son. So the game olan was simple. Yea they won games jus because of their athleticism. But the same coaches that saying they support him cannot deny that. So guaranteed thats where all this started. Now they’re talking about a possible lawsuit. This is sad. Nobody foing pros, none of these kids going college for basketball, so why the hell is everybody getting so serious about it. The kids should be having a blast. Sounds they’re miserable. Did you see them on the news?? Is embarrassing

  34. Spartan December 30, 2015 8:25 am

    @bawlah, based on your ability to write and complete disregard for the use of the English language, the entire blogging community is calling BS. Private School & College? Really? Did you know I am actually head of Secret Service and I am down here since the President has been in town.

  35. Spartan December 30, 2015 8:28 am

    If the kids’ quit, then it will not show on their resume or college applications. If the coach gets fired, it may not go on his resume. But it can easily be found out if the firm or company that is hiring does their due dilligence. And you think it’s the same since it’s the same situation? And you went to private school and college? Really? Uh hum, lol. You should ask for a refund, seriously.

  36. 88 December 30, 2015 10:15 am

    How about you use the grammar check on your computer before you put someone on blast for his or her use of the English language… Your funny.

  37. bawlah December 30, 2015 10:38 am

    Sorry Spartan. You’ve been blinded by your love for this guy. I’m telling you to be objective and look at 2 sides. You’re mister secret service, i played for selitto, n im a tuff guy. I’m not asking for no refund. I’m pounding out my response on my phone idiot. So when i type u, i really mean you. If I say tuff, I really mean tough. Otay tummy!!!

    Idk why I’m wasting my time wit u secret service guy. Last word….if everybody’s saying something, and everybody involved sees something wrong and does something about it??? Is there just a slight possibility that they might be right???? Seriously, even jus a little? Because the day the boys boycott, my friend said that 4 boys from the varsity played. Only 1 of the 4 were returning players from last year’s team. The rest of the returners from last years team was boycotting. The 5th player was pulled up from JV just to play that game. So the entire team is wrong, only the 1 guy suing is right??? Cmon now secret service.

    Its ugly, but look at 2 sides fbi

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