The Kahuku basketball team will be defending its Division I state championship this year, and the arrival of Galen Tolu Smith, a transfer from Mississippi, might make it just a bit easier.
The 6-foot-10 senior center/forward who enrolled at the school in the fall recently signed a letter of intent to play for Western Kentucky.
The person who knows him best, his father Galen Smith, concisely gave us his take on what Hawaii basketball fans can expect to see on and off the court from his 17-year-old boy.
“Tolu is very humble,” the dad said last Friday in an interview outside the Kahuku gym. “He’s disciplined and he’s dedicated. And he’s also very loyal. He’s actually put himself into a position being here where he’s had to make new friends, see new family and be committed to a program that is all fresh and new to him. He’s dedicated to being a part of his family and to this team. He’s really gotten to enjoy it, enjoy the culture and enjoy the community and he’s having a great time. He’s actually jumped head first into it.”
Tolu Smith is half African American and half Samoan. His mom’s grandfather is the brother of North Shore resident Johnny Tapusoa‘s grandfather. Smith’s immediate family thought it would be a good idea for him to explore that side of the family roots by coming here.
Actually, the Smith family almost came to Hawaii two years ago.
“Galen Jr. (Tolu’s older brother) wanted to go to UH and play ball. He reached out to the coaches, the whole nine yards,” Smith’s dad said. “Our plans initially were to come here two years ago, but it didn’t work out. He ended up getting a scholarship at Xavier University in Louisiana.
“(For this year), initially we were going to go to Meridian (the Mississippi 6A state champions) from Bay St. Louis (Tolu played for Bay High as a junior) based on job opportunities for me. But since our (earlier) plans were to come here to Hawaii, we rerouted — get Tolu into school here and try to find us a place and make this our permanent residence.”
Mr. Smith is a computer specialist for the Department of Defense — in the Naval Oceanographic Office.
“It’s easy to get temporary duty in different locations and we located to this area,” he said.
A job in Hawaii, however, is still in the works.
As for residency, the Smiths rented a place before they got here, but instead decided to move in with David Te’o, who has been a Kahuku assistant football coach and whose wife Kelli is related to the Smiths via the Tapusoa side.
“We pay rent to them, and it’s a helluva lot less than other the other place that wanted $1,500 a month,” Galen Smith said. “We asked about the Kahuku sports program and what was needed for him to participate. We knew it was a big football school, but he doesn’t play football.
“We didn’t know anybody (from the basketball team) coming into this.”
Here is Mr. Smith’s synopsis about Tolu’s on-court ability: “He’s good around the basket, a great rebounder. He can handle the ball as a big and pushes the ball on the break and has a high basketball IQ. He’s multi-faceted. He has the hook. He (can hit) anything around the cup, anything in the box, a good midraage jump shot. He’s not committed to the 3-point shot that most kids work on and I don’t know exactly why.
“I would call him a center, but these days he would be considered a stretch 4. He’s not confused on how or what to do to get to the cup from the outside or the wing and has a pretty good outside shot. And he can guard every position, not just the bigs.”
Tolu, himself, summed up what he brings to the basketball table: “I bring my energy. I have a passion for the game and I fall in love with it all the time. I’m always watching it.
And Tolu appears to have a good grasp of what he needs to work on.
“I’m working on my defense,” he said. “If I had to guard a guard, I should be able to guard a guard, anybody on the court. I’m not slow, but just want to be able to have ’em locked down. I want my defense to be just as good as my offensive game. Defense is vital to me. My college coach said you gotta play defense if you want to play.”
Tolu Smith said that if he works hard enough he’ll get to play as a freshman.
But the dream doesn’t stop there.
“The NBA, that’s the goal, make it as a pro and feed my family. I think about it all the time. When I was younger, I tried some other sports. I tried football and it didn’t work out. I kept on growing and told my dad I wanted to go to the NBA. He took that to heart and we’ve been working on it ever since.”
Galen Smith is very much behind Tolu in that regard.
“That’s an awesome dream to have and I support him wholeheartedly and our whole family supports him,” the dad said.
Kahuku to the NFL is fairly common. Kahuku to the NBA … now that would be something totally out of the ordinary.
808 talks tough and hides behind his computer. He is getting angry and typing away. Sorry fans, I had to write it again. It’s that funny.
Reading 808’s thoughts are funnier than any Will Farrell movie I have seen, ever……
Talking tough behind a computer. HAHHA, what’s next.
Synopsis of Too Meke 2/Education First’s last 3 lengthy and desperate posts: WAH WAH WAH WAH!!!!!
Hey Pee Wee, this is a sports message board not a therapy session or outlet for the insecure, lonely and mentally distressed.
All those words and you STILL can’t cite ANY posts or link from moderators stating that I was posting as anywaaays. Being exposed as a cowardly liar who posts under anonymous screen names is humiliating, isn’t it 😂
Dry your tears, small fry. Hip hop season is just around the corner.
Brotherhood for Life
Look he’s back, the tough guy talking tough behind his mommy’s computer. 808 come our and play. Don’t be scared little guy. Your mommy will hold your hand so you don’t have to hide and shiver anymore.
Good day, “ANYWAAAYS AKA 808”
^^^ Coming from the guy who didn’t show up when he/she was supposed to meet up for a face to face with other posters. Was pretty funny when the guy you called out was live blogging from the Waikiki restaurant you were supposed to be at and you were no where to be found…in person or responding to him on the board.
The internet is forever, Pee Wee. Don’t make promises your body can’t keep. You’re already known as a proven coward.
This guy is delusional? What in the world are you talking about? Why would I agree to meet anyone especially when most of you guys hide behind your computers. That is just weird. I think you have me mixed up with your alter-ego, anywaaays.
But keep telling yourself you are a tough guy hiding behind a computer. I am pretty sure your mom named you 808 or anywaaays, or whatever of your 500 names you call yourself.
Last time I checked, I don’t recall any of the site administrators saying that TOO MEKE 2 was anyone else.
You on the other hand got exposed 3 times.
As for being a coward, keep telling yourself you’re not. At least I don’t have to use more than 1 name. You are so pathetic.
HAHA, pretending to be from Kahuku and not STL. You are from Waialua.
Hi my name is PEE WEE since anywaaays said so. I am sorry for picking on an individual who has to hide behind a computer screen but act tough.
If you notice, there is only one person on here getting mad and that is anywaaays (808). I am sorry for pointing out that 808:
1) is really anywaaays
2) talks tough behind a computer screen
3) is really from Waialua
4) has many usernames
5) is very angry at the world.
Anyway, 808’s mommy called me and asked me to stop picking on her son. She said he is in his basement doing some inappropriate things now since he’s so angry. She said she caught him downloading some videos that I cannot even mention on this site. She hopes the Feds don’t get him.
So with respects to 808’s mommy I will try my best to stop letting the entire world know that 808 is a scared little boy who calls people out using many usernames.
Don’t let me keep you up at night, I’m just spouting the truth because “the Truth shall set you free” – John 8:32.
We’re praying for you.
Brotherhood for Life.
Thanks for praying for me. It’s greatly appreciated. I hope that the lord will allow you to be yourself.
1) You do not need to hide behind a computer. Be yourself!
2) You don’t need to pretend to be multiple people. Be yourself!