Here’s a boatload of insights from coaches regarding the Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball All-State Fab 15, All-Defense and much more.
The selections were made by a panel of coaches and media.
>> Coach of the year: Dan Hale, Saint Louis
Star-Advertiser: In year three, Hale’s program reached the pinnacle, taking the ILH and Division I state titles. The Crusaders went 20-2 overall, capturing their first basketball state crown since 1986.
Larry Park, Kamehameha: “Dan has done a great job building a program. They play hard, understand game situations and compete.”
Rob Shklov, Mid-Pacific: “I will steal several phrases: “Commitment to Excellence.” Coach Dan has instilled his work ethic, vision and, most importantly, his values into this school and basketball program. They truly embodied what it means to be the “Gentlemen of Kalaepōhaku.” Coach Dan was gracious and humble in defeat and victory and always had a kind word for me and our staff/players after games. They certainly did “Play Like a Champion (Today)” this season.
“I was fortunate enough to coach under him (my second year of coaching ever) and beyond the x’s and o’s, it stuck out to me that he always treated me with kindness and respect even though I was very inexperienced. His belief in me made me feel confident in my abilities as a young coach. I can only imagine he inspired his team in the same way to make them feel capable of achieving their goals.
“Because it was an incredible undertaking to manage that amount of talent and get an entire program to buy into his system. (And that is no small feat as I believe it is something that anyone who isn’t a coach doesn’t realize how difficult it really is.) Aiva Arquette emerged as a true alpha presence and was comfortable as the go to guy. Hayden Bayudan was a true floor general and get everyone their touches. AJ Bianco plays a premium, glamorous position in football but was selfless enough to be the blue collar workhorse underneath. Shoncin Reveulto did all the little things that contribute to winning and kept the huddle calm with his cool demeanor. Cole Schmidt really emerged during the state tournament but he was amazing all year as their glue guy, knocking down timely shots and locking up opposing team’s top offensive threats. Not too mention he had a talented freshman in Pupu Sepulona who came in and knew his role to get post position and rebound. Not to mention the other young bigs on the roster. Kache Kaio and Jordan Posiulai are going to be problems for the next few years!
“With all that talent, some would worry about ego, not enough touches or defensive indifference. With a few multi-sport athletes, some would wonder about commitment, focus or having a willingness to go all-out. However, coach Dan melded together a diverse group of talented athletes who all gave a little of themselves in order to achieve a greater goal. It has to be one of his best coaching jobs in a very successful and storied career.
>> Garrett Gabriel, Mililani, second in COY voting
Brandyn Akana, Kahuku: “I voted Garrett Gabriel as COY. The ILH had a season last year (2021) and they got to practice all year round. The public schools were at a major disadvantage. Garrett Gabriel did a marvelous job with his team, especially with all the restrictions of the OIA. Mililani had an awesome year, and Garrett Gabriel did a wonderful job leading his troops throughout the season.”
Hathaway: “Not to take anything away from any of the other coaches in the state, but I think Garrett Gabriel is the COY. He did an outstanding job with his team and they ran through the OIA and then had to do the gauntlet at state and try and beat 3 straight ILH teams and they just fell short. Hale would be the other guy I would put up for COY. He did a great job managing all that talent they had and they won the state championship after a brutal ILH season.”
Shklov: “Coach Garrett Gabriel’s Mililani Trojans had an amazing run in the tournament. Defeating two tough ILH teams in succession is an admirable accomplishment. He and coach Perez helped develop an intelligent, aggressive and adaptable squad that could outscore, out defend and/or out run. When we played them in preseason, they scored at all three levels and frustrated us offensively with their ability to cover a ton of ground. I know the Trojans will always be a force with this staff at the helm.’
>> Ryan Hirata, ‘Iolani, third in COY voting
Shklov: “Coach Ryan Hirata’s diverse squad began to take on his demeanor as the year went on, great ball movement to find shooters, aggressive on ball defense and an intensity that lends itself to success. Blending in precocious youngsters, talented returnees and ascending seniors, coach Hirata did a masterful job mixing matchups and finding rotations to counteract the ILH gauntlet. He has an A+ level of support staff as well. Coaches Cord Anderson, Brandon Kawazoe, Kainoa Scheer and Bricen McCartney are amazing resources to lean on. And as a proud member of coach Hirata’s coaching tree, I know how much he prepares, but more importantly, how much he cares: about his team, his school and his program. ‘Iolani is going to be a force to be reckoned with next year!
All-State Fab 15
>> No. 1 Aiva Arquette, Saint Louis, 6-4, Sr.
SA: 25 points, 12 rebounds in state championship win over Mililani. Over a two-year span, he transformed from a finesse wing shooter to a dominant post scorer (with 25 3-pointers made), averaging 17 points per game with a big number of double-doubles.
Kelly Grant, Maryknoll: “Aiva was by far the most tenacious player we faced all year. He had all the intangibles, shooting range, attack the basket, composure and desire.”
Park: “He always played well in big moments. He hit big shots, rebounded and brought confidence for his team.”
Akana: “Scoring post player with a shooting guard touch from behind the arc. He was a nightmare for opposing coaches and players. Scored in so many ways. He would post up smaller defenders and take bigger defenders behind the arc.”
Hale: “The amazing thing with Aiva is that every single year, he came back stronger. Added a new facet. Sophomore year, he was a 3-point shooter. Such a hard worker, works year round. Last year, he was going to the basket, getting rebounds. This year, he put on muscle and kept doing more of the above. He made quantum leaps. To actually see that come to fruition that was amazing to watch. That’s just the work ethic he has. Just a hard worker. He managed it — played baseball and basketball when he could. That’s the other thing, to see someone who is a multi-sport athlete. Their skills improve the way they did, that’s a testament to his work ethic.”
Hathaway, Roosevelt: “Aiva is the most difficult player to guard in the state. If you put a guard on him he can post him up and if you put a big on him he can blow by. Reminds me of Micah Christiansen. The drop step dunk in the state championship game is the most surprising thing. I knew he could get up but not like that. Known this kid for years and he puts in the work. Great family support as well.”
Shklov: “I have nothing but the highest level of respect for Aiva Arquette. He reflected the class, respect and will to win of his coach, Dan Hale, and represented his family, team and school with dignity.
“He diversified his game big time from his sophomore year, when he burst onto the scene with several early 20 point sharpshooting efforts, as he added a virtually unstoppable back to the basket game and an unblockable turnaround fade. In transition he was in a class of his own as he could lead the break, sprint the wings and capably finish as a passer or scorer. Defensively he would often times have the task of heading up their zone as the “action” man doing all the communication or picking up the opponents best wing or post scorer.
“You can see he did tremendous work in the weight room and grew into his body to offer him a functional size or speed advantage to play across all 5 positions; something he could skillfully do.
“As an opposing coach, I didn’t see him as a ‘rah-rah’ type, but it was clear the team followed his lead and responded to his energy. I am very proud that Aiva is representing our state and wish him well on the diamond as well!”
>> No. 2 Amari Westmoreland-Vendiola, Kahuku, 6-3, Sr.
SA: Averaged 22 points per game with 18 3-pointers made in 18 games. Continuous workouts with trainer Chris Parker helped the senior become a rebounding force. He scored at least 20 points in 12 games, including 31 in a finale against Maryknoll. Also voted defensive player of the year.
Grant: “I remember watching him play in all the youth tournaments growing up and saying to myself that boy has all the tools. He’s just so tiny. Well that little guy is now 6 feet, 4 inches and he kicked our butt putting up 33 on us.“
Akana: “Scoring machine from anywhere on the court. Very dangerous in transition. Played Big as a guard, meaning he wasn’t afraid to post up and rebound against other big men.”
Hale: “Long and quick, bothered a lot of shots.”
Hathaway: “Kid can score and can get up. The thing that surprised me the most was how aggressive he was on the offensive glass. Seemed like he would get about eight offensive rebounds every game.”
>> No. 3 JJ Mandaquit, ‘Iolani, 6-1, Fr.
SA: Averaged 16 points per game, including 18 against national powerhouse Sierra Canyon (Calif.) at the ‘Iolani Classic. Had a season-high of 25 against Punahou. Explosive with the ball, tremendous court vision and passing. Has a scholarship offer from Portland.
Grant: “JJ. A high school freshman that looks college ready.”
Park: “He made everyone better. He handled the ball, took and hit big shots. He is a great defender and has a great competitive spirit.”
Akana: “Smooth player that did it all for Iolani. Sky’s the limit for Mandaquit.”
Hale: “Constantly harrasing the ball handler and with good anticipation (on defense). Take his age out of it and he’s very skilled and athletic. Long arms and knows how to use them. He’s a shot finder and that’s a great skill to have. He’s also a great passer, too. He’s got the step-through, the pull-up jumper and he can twist and pivot. He can find a shot anywhere. He reminds of Miah (Ostrowski) with the long arms and handle. The ability to find a shot and make a pass.”
Hathaway: “This kid is special. I have not seen a freshman go up and try to dunk on people like that since (Derrick) Low. Very high basketball IQ and the scary thing is he is only going to get better. Glad he is in the ILH.”
Shklov: “The most advanced and mature player (as a freshman) I have seen since Derrick Low. His feel for the game is beyond high school level. He keeps a level head amidst constant defensive attention and seems to rise to the moment already. He has an unparalleled work ethic and with his genes, a competitive streak that is borderline obsessive. I personally hopes he ends up at my alma mater, the University of Portland, but I am confident he will be receiving many more offers in the coming years!”
>> No. 4 Hayden Bayudan, Saint Louis, 5-10, Sr.
SA: Averaged 12 ppg with increased efficiency, a major reason for Saint Louis’ ascent to the crown. Bayudan adapted to a disciplined, layered offensive scheme and put his ability to finish or hit the mid-range jumper to use. His on-ball defense was big when Saint Louis pressed Kahuku in the state quarterfinals. Voted No. 4 in All-Defense selections.
Grant: “Hayden, the conductor for Saint Louis, always had great composure. The makeup of a great point guard is one who makes the best decisions with the ball. He knew when to distribute to teammates and when to take that nasty crossover pull-up jumper in the paint.”
Park: “He was a floor general. He controlled the tempo of the game, handled the ball and closed out games for them.”
Akana: “Controlled the tempo for St Louis. Pushed the ball deep into the paint in transition. Scored his points off of turnovers and steals.”
Hale: “He’s so dedicated. He fit in right away and was dedicated to learning the system, wanting to fit in and whatever it would take to be successful. That’s what really took him to the next step. It was to take a combo shooting guard to a combo point guard and he transitioned beautifully. He grasped what wanted him to do and still averaged a bunch of points, but as a point running the show. He fit right in as far as our pressing, when and when not to, our rotations. He’s just like a sponge. Asked the right questions, did the right thing and by the end it was second nature.”
Hathaway: “Great floor general. Aiva was the go to guy on that team but Hayden was the guy that made it all work.”
Shklov: “Hayden Bayudan was a true floor general and get everyone their touches. He could have led the league in scoring if he wanted to play selfish but he knew, in order to win a championship, he needed to sacrifice some of his scoring. Yet his IQ was at such a high level that he knew when it was his turn to get to the line or be aggressive looking for his shot. Aiva, deservedly so, gets a lot of credit, but if he was the showcase of that Crusader squad, Hayden was the engine.”
>> No. 5 EJ Kapihe, Kamehameha, 6-5, Sr.
SA: Averaged 16 ppg in ILH play, including a season-high 22 against Maryknoll. His near-halfcourt buzzer-beater lifted the Warriors over Punahou in the playoffs. At 6-5, 215 pounds with 3-point range, slashing and shot blocking skills, Kapihe is geared for the next level.
Grant: “It’s hard enough to guard 6-4, 6-5 guys like Aiva and Amari but when you have two of them on the same team, that gave me some sleepless nights trying to figure out how to defend them.”
Hale: “EJ, my goodness, he did a lot even without Kahiau (Bruhn) on the floor. He put in a lot of time in his outside game and combining it with his drive and mid-range pull-up jumper. Guys his size were in the post banging in the old-school way. He had moments where he did all of it. Against us he shot pretty well from 3. The athleticism is there. He can jump and run. Premier shot blocker and rebounder. He had six or seven blocked shots against us and three or four were rundowns sprinting down the floor. Just a matter of playing at that speed. He definitely has mid-major potential.”
Shklov: “An absolute beast. Could get his shot off whenever he wanted. There were times where he was triple teamed and he still got open. Guys with his type of size, speed and agility don’t come around very often. I hope he continues to develop and gets a chance somewhere to play as his improvement from sophomore year to now was exponential.”
>> No. 6 Quintan Akaka, Baldwin, 6-7, Sr.
SA: Averaged 17 ppg and did so much more. The rangy, bouncy senior was formidable at the state tourney, sparking the Bears over Kailua, and scoring 14 in a near-upset of top seed Saint Louis. Finished the year with a 24-point effort against ‘Iolani.
Hale: “Athletic and quick for his size. Able to cover big and small players.”
Honda: “Missed a handful of MIL games early on due to protocols, but helped the Bears win the MIL and give Saint Louis a serious scare in the state tournament. Akaka was the missing link, a rebounder, shot blocker, mid-range scorer, versatile defender and, perhaps most importantly, a key ballhandler against fullcourt pressure. With four Baldwin guards out this season, Akaka’s court vision and multi-layered skill set at 6-7 was unlike almost anyone else in Hawaii.”
>> No. 7 Trey Lieb, Mililani, 5-11, Sr.
SA: Averaged 13 ppg, saving some of his best marksmanship for big games. That included a 27-point game in a win over Kahuku featuring six 3-pointers. An ankle injury slowed Lieb in the state tourney, but he still finished with 42 made 3s for the season.
Grant: “Trey, he had that red circle around him all year like the NBA video game. ‘He’s on fire!’ ”
Akana: “Complete basketball player and leader for Mililani. Maybe the best 3-point shooter in the state. He loved that step-back move going left. Very very hard to stop!!”
Hale: “Quick and smart on ball defender.”
Hathaway: “Very good ball handler and shooter. Coach Gabriel really developed him into one of the best in the state. Once he got hot it seemed like he never missed. He was just getting hot in the state championship when he picked up his 4th. Too bad because it might have been a great finish to the game if he stayed hot.”
>> No. 8 Drew Triplett, Maui Prep, 6-1, Sr.
SA: Averaged 24 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals per game. 16 assists in D-II state-final win over Kaimuki. Had a career-high 51 points in a nonconference win over Saint Louis II, but shifted his role and became a consummate creator and distributor.
Honda: “Oddly enough, MPA’s point guard received plenty of votes, but not a single comment from the panel of coaches and media. He went from averaging close to 30 points per game in preseason to becoming a true floor general. His sacrifice in terms of points turned his team into a legit D-II title contender, and his 16 assists in the title game against Kaimuki says it all. His season-high was 51 points against Saint Louis I-AA, but that’s not what Na Pueo needed from him, and he accepted the transformation well.”
>> No. 9 O’Shen Cazimero, Kohala, 5-9, Sr.
SA: Averaged 21 ppg, including 31 against Waipahu and HBA. Scored 26 against Maui Prep, which went on to win the D-II state title. Ultimately, the southpaw playmaker may be the best of the many legendary stars in Cowboys basketball history.
Hathaway: “Another special player. I was surprised to see the video of the dunk in the state tourney, I didn’t know he could get up like that. He was so shifty and had great court vision.”
Honda: “The cancelled COVID year did nothing to stop Cazimero, who came back stronger with more hops. His hoops IQ and athleticism make him one of the many legendary hoopsters from Kohala over the past four decades, and Cazimero may have been the best.”
>> No. 10 Jonny Philbrick, Kailua, 5-9, Jr.
SA: Averaged 15 ppg, an elite pick-and-roll master. His mix of runners and floaters were a nightmare for defenders. Had 29 points in a win at Kahuku that sealed Kailua’s top seed in the OIA East. Excellent defender.
Akana: “Ball hawk! Led Kailua all season long. Perfect guard to any system. He could do it all on both ends of the floor.”
Hathaway: “A great guard for Coach Wally (Marciel). This kid could shoot it and he was so quick with the ball. As much as teams tried to slow him down, you just couldn’t. I cannot remember, but I hope he is a senior.”
(Ed’s note: Philbrick is a junior.)
>> No. 11 Kahiau Bruhn, Kamehameha, 6-5 Sr.
SA: Averaged 15 ppg before going down with a knee injury on Feb. 16 against Punahou. Had a season-high 23 against Maryknoll, averaged 17 in two games against eventual state champ Saint Louis. Sharpshooter from mid-range and the arc.
Hale: “Long arms, really bothers smaller ball handlers.”
Shklov: “Very underappreciated standout this year who was a nightmare matchup due to his size and versatility. With his ability to take you off the dribble, post up and hit the long range shot, he gave off serious Nick Milan vibes. He is another prospect I hope gets picked up by a college because he has a very high upside!”
>> No. 12 Hudson Yarbrough, Baldwin, 6-7, Sr.
SA: Averaged 17 ppg and came up big with 22 points in a state quarterfinal win over Kailua. Reliable mid-range shooter with a smooth stroke, and smart defender. Mr. Reliable for the Bears, who were without Quintan Akaka for five games early in the season.
Hale: “Great rebounder and good defensive footwork.”
Honda: “Perhaps the most consistent mid-range scorer in the state among bigs, truly solid on both ends. Yarbrough’s IQ and ability to get to the rack balanced his offensive arsenal. His 3-point range is another factor. I like his prospects at the next level.”
>> No. 13 Aaron Claytor, ‘Iolani, 6-1, So.
SA: Averaged 11 ppg, but also brought elite ballhandling, passing and defense. Built to run and gun, but disciplined in the grind of ILH battles. Finished with 27 3-pointers, one of the most versatile players in the state.
Grant: “Everyone talked about his sharp shooting ability and it was evident. However, it was his defense that gave us the most trouble. His ability to be in the right place at the right time was remarkable.”
Hale: “Athletic, quick hands, makes ofensive player work hard.”
Shklov: “A feature piece on any other team in the state, Aaron combines a great attack mentality on offense with length to bother any player defensively. There is so much potential in his game and I am sure he will expand it even further during this off season. He reminds me of Kamehameha’s Kawika Lyons, a lanky shooter who could also get to the basket and made plays on both ends.”
>> No. 14 AJ Bianco, Saint Louis, 6-4, Sr.
SA: Averaged 11 ppg, including a season-high 22 against Kamehameha. Has 3-point range and handles, but always embraced his role as a post playmaker with exquisite old-school footwork on the block. Bianco’s ability to see the floor and deliver pinpoint passes to teammates, especially Aiva Arquette, separated the men from the boys.
Hale: “Heart of a lion, strong defender with very active hands, constantly took the toughest assignment on D. The thing about AJ is he is so quick and so athletic, but he’s so big and skilled that you forget that. He came up huge for us in the moments that we needed him. He was that guy. The funny thing about AJ is he’s a very, very good basketball player and a great football player. He had skills that he developed a long time ago and he kept using them.”
Shklov: “AJ Bianco plays a premium, glamorous position in football was selfless enough to be the blue collar workhorse underneath. There was a huge difference between the first time we played them (without Bianco) and the second (with). We were unable to finish at the rim and rebounding was a next to impossible with Bianco patrolling the paint.”
Honda: “Basketball IQ, flawless low-post scoring ability, seamless passer in the trenches. His court vision is about what you could expect from an All-State quarterback.”
>> No. 15 Jackson Mayo, Mililani, 6-0, Sr.
SA: Averaged 7 ppg, but on an offensively loaded roster, his greater value was on defense. Voted No. 2 in All-Defense selections by coaches and media. Mayo was too strong for guards and too quick for bigger wings. He was also a willing shooter, hitting clutch 3s late in the season against stunned defenders.
Honda: “A resilient defender with tremendous motor, and when needed, a clutch shooter. It is fairly rare for a player with a single-digit scoring average to garner enough votes from the panel, but Mayo’s ability to defend is a huge factor, I believe, in this year’s voting.”
Zelston Militante, Nanakuli
Tyler Grover, Radford
Ehu Schenk-Lee, Kalaheo
Logan Dias, Maryknoll
Peyton Macapulay, Punahou
Drake Watanabe, Punahou
Malu Cleveland, Kaimuki
Kunique Yandall-Parker, Kapolei
Malcolm Nichols, Leilehua
Kamu Kaaihue, Roosevelt
Kale Spencer, KS-Maui
J Marxen, Mililani
Parker Grant, Maryknoll
Duke Thomas, Le Jardin
La‘akea Kauka, Kohala
Kala Rall, Kapaa
James Judge, Seabury Hall
Dylan Falk, Maui Prep
Avery Pauole, Baldwin
Micah Ah See, Kaiser
Noah Flores Alexander, Lahainaluna
Kanaau Castro, Lahainaluna
Keaka Kauhane, Kapaa
1. Amari Westmoreland-Vendiola, Kahuku
2. Jackson Mayo, Mililani
3. Shoncin Revuelto, Saint Louis
4. Hayden Bayudan, Saint Louis
5. Leonard Ah You, Kahuku
6. Jack Jones, ‘Iolani
7. Quintan Akaka, Baldwin
8. Kunique Yandall-Parker, Kapolei
9. Parker Grant, Maryknoll
10. EJ Kapihe, Kamehameha
11. JJ Mandaquit, ‘Iolani
12. Taniela Taliaulu, ‘Iolani
13. Jonny Philbrick, Kailua
14. Bailey Bumanglag, ‘Iolani
15. Kamu Kaaihue, Roosevelt
>> Amari Westmoreland-Vendiola, Kahuku
>> Amari Westmoreland-Vendiola, Kahuku
Honda: “His length and twitchy bounce were astounding. There haven’t been a lot of defenders on the perimeter who could swat with regularity at the rim and control the boards over the course of entire games.”
>> Jackson Mayo, Mililani
Honda: “Outstanding results when the Trojans assigned Mayo to top playmakers and scorers. Another on-ball defender who was strong from start to finish. In some ways, he was the heart of the OIA championship team. On a squad of talented, gritty, versatile players, he embraced the toughest assignments.”
>> Shoncin Revuelto, Saint Louis
Park: “Hit timely shots. He did a great job defending and doing what his team needed when they needed it.”
Shklov: “Shoncin Reveulto did all the little things that contribute to winning and kept the huddle calm with his cool demeanor. Getting into passing lanes, making the hockey assist and drawing offensive fouls don’t end up in the box score but they contribute to a successful team and comprise of what makes Shoncin the ultimate teammate and excellent complimentary piece to a championship squad.”
Hale: “When we’re game planning for different (opposing) guys, he guarded EJ (Kapihe). He wanted that assignment. We came up with different kinds of schemes and he said, ‘I got him.’ He saw who’s the leading scorer and that’s the guy he wanted to line up on, and Cole (Schmidt) on the backside doing a similar thing, and that leads to some tough D.”
Honda: “Revuelto’s resume is matched by maybe one or two others in terms of assignments and results. Almost every assignment was a single-digit scoring result. Classic efficiency as a defensive stopper, just causing disruption and lowering his opponents’ percentages rather than just gambling. Every team needs a guy like Revuelto.”
>> Hayden Bayudan, Saint Louis
“Often times, a Fab 15 selection doesn’t get the same kind of attention in All-Defense, but I think Bayudan’s excellence in fullcourt pressure caught the eye of voters during the state tournament. His halfcourt defense was always solid, but he added more strength and physicality as a senior. Just a tough hombre on both ends.”
>> Leonard Ah You, Kahuku
Hale: “Tough, physical defender.”
Akana: “Very physical and active big man. Controlled the paint both ends of the floor. Very Bradley Anae-ish type player. High motor player who loves contact and being physical.”
Hathaway: “Just a real tough kid. Wasn’t called on to score a lot but he was the muscle on the team. Reminded me of Manti Teo. When I coached against him we knew he was there to get physical and that is what Leonard does. “
Honda: “A real henchman in the paint, a guy who got his thrills by locking down taller, rangy scorers and rebounders. The black electrical tape on the forearms, the WWE look and mentality were part of his mindset. He’s only going to get stronger and better when senior year rolls around.”
>> Jack Jones, ‘Iolani
Hale: “Good athlete, great motor.”
Honda: “His combination of excellent on-ball positioning, quick hands and relentless coverage were superb. Add in his ability to convert a takeaway into a rim-rattling finish and Jones was arguably the most electric defender in the state. Changing the energy in a gym sometimes forces opposing coaches to burn time outs. If we had a Most Versatile list, Jones would be close to the top.”
>> Quintan Akaka, Baldwin
Honda: “Imagine Spider-Man at 6 feet, 7 inches. A long, active disruptor in the lanes, and a carnivorous rebounder on the glass. A big reason the Bears gave Saint Louis their toughest game at the state tournament.”
>> Kunique Yandall-Parker, Kapolei
Akana: “Shot blocker and scorer near the rim. If defenders played behind him in the post, and he caught it deep, it was over. Great timing and feel for blocking shots. No basket was easy in the post for opposing teams.”
>> Parker Grant, Maryknoll
Hale: “Tough defender who inspired his team with his D.”
Shklov: “Every bit the coach son. Point guard. Leader. Defensive focal point. His attitude is contagious and when he is confident and feeling good, he can control momentum just with his disposition. A strong guard who could affect the game beyond the stat sheet, he showed an advanced grasp of what it takes to win with wildly varied teammates from his freshmen year until now. I think both Payton and Parker Grant would be mad if I compared them to each other so I will go with another coach’s son, Barry Kang, who was another two sport star that impacted the game in so many ways and also won multiple state titles.”
>> EJ Kapihe, Kamehameha
Honda: “At 6-5, 215 pounds with hops and speed, Kapihe was one of the bigs who could get out in transition and lead the break, or run the lane and finish. His anticipation in the passing lanes is more like a defender who is 5-8. He’s not extremely physical, but can bring that when necessary. At the next level, the question will be whether he can cover 6-3, 6-5 wings. I think the answer is yes. The other question is, can lighter wings cover Kapihe when he hits the offensive glass?”
>> JJ Mandaquit, ‘Iolani
Honda: “Very sneaky on-ball defender, great hands. Like many Fab 15 selections over the decades, JJ was probably worthy of a higher spot in All-Defense. Same with Aaron Claytor, an excellent perimeter defender with great positioning off ball.”
>> Tanielu Taliauli, ‘Iolani
Hale: “Plays physical despite his size, makes a lot of hustle plays,”
Shklov: “An absolute blur and a tenacious on ball defender. Gave that team a fierce mentality. I was fortunate enough to coach Kanawai Noa, who was a similar star football player turned defensive ace/open court terror.”
Honda: “Taliaulu showed toughness, strength, athleticism and shot-blocking hops down the stretch. Only a sophomore.”
>> Jonny Philbrick, Kailua
Honda: “Philbrick spent tons of energy on offense as a go-to initiator, playmaker and scorer. His level of energy on defense was pretty incredible, another guard who could be physical, but had exceptional hands and finishing speed.”
>> Bailey Bumanglag, ‘Iolani
Shklov: “No one gives him enough credit for their success outside of ‘Iolani and coach Ryan Hirata. Bailey gave of himself to contribute to the team’s overall success over his own individual accolades. Oftentimes taking on the toughest defensive assignment Bailey also had to be adaptable on offense as well, changing roles from game to game to fit the scouting. His role reminded me of another Ryan Hirata guy, former MPI standout Jacen Kimura, who gave his all every game and did whatever the staff asked of him.”
Akana: “One of the best defenders in the state. Could guard multiple positions due to his size and strength. Also could knock down the 3-point shot if needed.”
Hale: “Constantly working on the court, not afraid to step in and take a charge.”
Honda: “A very valuable weapon for the Raiders. In a deep backcourt, he always found ways to contribute, particularly on defense.”
>> Kamu Kaaihue, Roosevelt
Hathaway: “I am biased, but I think Kamu is the best rebounder in the state. He averaged just over 14 rebounds a game and had 2 games where he grabbed 20. Against Leilehua I think he had 18 points and 20 rebounds to help us clinch a spot in the state tourney. The surprising thing is he was so aggressive but he wouldn’t foul out and he played almost every minute of every game. He reminds me of another player I had, Kaipo Pale. Kamu rebounds just like him. I know football is his main sport but I think next year he has a chance to be one of the best basketball players in the state.”
Honda: “By the second half of the season, he was probably the most dominant big — as a true low-post defender — in the OIA. I think Kaaihue in 2022-23 could be the something the OIA East hasn’t seen from a true big in a very long time. A physical stopper, shot blocker and rebounding force on defense who also works the block like no one else. He was 6-3, 215 pounds by season’s end. If he plays next year following football season, he could be 6-4 and 230 pounds. Easily. Is there an offensive rebounder in the OIA who will challenge Kaaihue near the rim?”
>> Top 4 teams, Division I, in 2022-23
3. Saint Louis
>> Top 4 teams, Division II, in 2022-23
3. Seabury Hall
>> Most memorable performances
1. Aiva Arquette, Saint Louis, 25 points, 12 rebounds vs. Mililani in state final.
2. EJ Kapihe, Kamehameha, game-winning (near) halfcourt shot to beat Punahou (ILH playoffs).
3. Trey Lieb, Mililani, 27 points, six 3-pointers in OIA final vs. Kahuku.