Punahou’s 2 point guards are better than 1

Punahou's Jordan Tanuvasa is one of many heady players for the Buffanblu. Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com
Punahou’s Jordan Tanuvasa is one of many heady players for the Buffanblu. Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com

Punahou basketball coach Darren Matsuda was asked a sly question after a recent win.

“Who is a better basketball player, Dayson Watanabe or Jordan Tanuvasa?”

When he realized the question was rhetorical, Matsuda had a good chuckle.


The two Buffanblu players are do-it-all point guards. They can hit the long 3-pointers, they can hit the midrange jumpers, they keep the flow of the offense moving, they make pinpoint passes, they play aggressive defense and they are quick ball-hawkers.

Punahou's Dayson Watanabe is as reliable as it gets. Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com
Punahou’s Dayson Watanabe is as reliable as it gets. Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com

So, what does that mean for Punahou, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s top-ranked team?

Well, if point guard play determines how far they go, the Buffanblu have some big potential.

By sharing point-guard duties in Matsuda’s four-guard, one-post system, it doesn’t mean that when one player is on the court the other is off. They are both on the floor together a lot.

“Usually, we have either one of those guys in at all times,” Matsuda said. “It makes our offense pretty versatile.”


Watanabe, Matsuda said, is the faster, quicker defender, while Tanuvasa is bigger and stronger with a keen ability to choose the correct defensive angles.

“Both are getting looks from Division III colleges,” the coach said. “Having both of them is a luxury. They complement each other.”

About Punahou’s 41-40 loss at the buzzer last week to Kalaheo — which could unseat the Buffanblu from the No. 1 spot when the new rankings are released Tuesday — Matsuda said both teams were playing “convervatively.”

“It wasn’t a good game for us,” he said. “We like it more up-tempo. But to play conservatively was part of our game plan and that’s not our style.”


Matsuda also said this year’s Hawaii boys basketball season could turn out to be the best in the last decade.

“There are a lot of good teams and the OIA is really deep this year,” he said.

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