Kansas makes offer to Maryknoll’s 7-foot Sage Tolentino

Sage Tolentino still has two years of high school but his future is becoming clearer. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

Sage Tolentino has myriad moves in his basketball arsenal.

One of them was off the court when Tolentino traveled to Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio for workouts this summer. The exposure paid off on Thursday when national powerhouse Kansas offered Tolentino a scholarship.

“I feel good, great. Yeah. Kansas has a great coaching staff. They really want me and they’re interested. I really like their facilities and their school. I saw it on a Zoom call. They also talked to me about their winning program and their championships,” Tolentino said by phone on Thursday. “I was very surprised, but also thankful to get another offer.”

In his Instagram post, Tolentino thanked Kansas head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend.

“All glory to God,” the junior-to-be wrote.

Iolani’s Derrick Low had an offer from Kansas in addition to Hawaii, Gonzaga, Oklahoma State, Pitt, Santa Clara, Washington State and more. Low eventually signed with Washington State. He was hailed as the most heavily recruited boys basketball player from Hawaii, but Tolentino is on pace to match or exceed his number of offers.

Tolentino is now 7 feet tall — not 7-1 as previously announced — and getting stronger daily thanks to a rigorous year-round training plan. He has been home quarantining since returning from the mainland two weeks ago. Tolentino made a big splash when he arrived on the continent to work out with trainers via East West Private, a group that helps young players develop and prepare for the college and pro levels.

“It’s good for me to play better competition, bigger guys, more skillful and at the college level,” Tolentino said. “It’s good to have a run with players like them. I was there for close to a month. The first week, I was in Atlanta, training. I was very busy. The food was great. The White House in Atlanta, they had great breakfasts and lunches.”

From there, Tolentino headed further inland to the Tri-State area.

“After Atlanta, I decided to go to Ohio and Kentucky. The way they trained me was different, working on different stuff, but the mentality was the same, working hard every day,” he said. “Ohio is laid back and chill.”

Since returning home, it has been rather still in comparison.

“I’ve been working out every day. I have a bar and some plates, and I’m shooting, working on my form,” Tolentino said. “I want to shoot higher. Higher arch and higher release.”

The offer from Kansas, he added, isn’t his first, but it is a big eye-opener. Especially for an island kid from a self-described “beach family.” That day of departure is still two years away.

“I think I just have to be busy and keep doing things, not worry about home too much,” he said. “Just focus.”


  1. me July 23, 2020 4:23 pm

    Keep working hard ! You can achieve your dreams !

  2. B Lot July 23, 2020 5:43 pm

    Dominating 6’1″ centers in Hawai’i isn’t gonna do much for his improvement. He should be averaging 20 and 20 in the state in his sleep. Look at Kamaka Hepa who was an all American in HS, chose a college out of his league and is barely scratching the surface as a junior for playing time.

  3. ILoveHawaii July 24, 2020 7:58 am

    Hmmm. He must be doing something right.
    He got offered a scholarship and now has the opportunity to go to college and earn a degree for free.
    HS is irrelevant, now.

    Congratulations to this young man and to his parents.

  4. The Truth Shall Set You Free July 24, 2020 10:35 am

    Oh, he’s ONLY 7’0” not 7’1”. Thanks for the clarification:) Tolentino has been working out and practicing against other elites on the mainland in front of D1 coaches. These powerhouse schools must like what they see.

    Good luck, young man!

  5. ??? July 24, 2020 12:59 pm

    He should SHOCK the world by transferring to a Top 5 basketball high school, Oak Hill, IMG etc… than sign with

  6. Mr. Okada July 24, 2020 2:00 pm

    Have any actual Kansas staff members publicly acknowledged the offer or is the only proof of this offer on his social media? Because if we’re going by social media posts, there’s about 3 or 4 kids from Hawai’i with power 5 “offers” according to their instagrams

  7. Basketball mom August 8, 2020 8:26 pm

    Sage is a great kid but even with his height he has a lot to learn to compete at a D1 level. He should transfer to a competitive basketball school on the mainland. Needs to learn defense at a higher level. Really easy to block kids on the island who are a foot shorter but going against top level skill on the mainland will be the test for Sage.

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