Year three as a varsity hoopster at Kailua High School brings a different role to Everett Torres-Kahapea. The junior guard leads by example, and learning to become a more vocal leader is something he embraces.
He’d rather lead by example first, and that seems to be working for the Surfriders, who are 11-4 in nonconference play. His latest highlight: swishing a game-winning 37-foot 3-pointer in the closing seconds of a win over Waiakea at the St. Francis Holiday Hoops Classic on Thursday.
Torres-Kahapea chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Sunday about his favorite food (batayaki), why college basketball is better than the NBA, and the casual art of free-style rapping.
Q&A • Favorites
Athlete: John Wall
> His ability to play both ends of the player is under appreciated. He plays with heart and passion. That’s what I like about him.
Team: Toronto Raptors
> I just like the way DeMar DeRozan plays. I was probably 12. I don’t really watch NBA, but when I watched them, I like the way they play.
Why don’t you watch more NBA?
> I like watching college basketball better. You can learn a lot more from college basketball. It teaches the fundamentals and the skill set you need to reach the next level.
So who’s your favorite college team?
> Kentucky. I’m not sure the year, but it was when they had James Young and Julius Randle. They were tough. They lost in the national championship to UConn.
Food (at home)
> Batayaki. It is a variety of vegetables, seafood and meats cooked separately in butter. I dip in a shoyu and daikon sauce with rice.
Who makes it?
> My grandma (Marian Kahapea) makes it. I don’t cook. I only cook rice. It’s just time consuming.
Food (eating out)
> Zippy’s chili burrito plate, all rice and a large orange bang. That’s the way to go. I’ll give you the secret. You eat the burrito, and with the leftover chili, you have chili and rice.
Hobby outside of sports
> Freestyle rapping with friends, just chilling in the car, we play a beat and rap, just messing around. We’ll play an instrumental song off YouTube, just enjoying each other’s company.
So who’s the best rapper on the team or at Kailua High School?
> Probably Mark Vincent Domingo. He’s a goalie in soccer. He can riff for maybe 30 seconds.
Movie: Coach Carter
> That’s my all-time favorite. It teaches a life lesson. There’s a lot of them, but the biggest one is never take anything for granted.
TV show: Rick and Morty
> It’s a family of scientists. The grandson is a scientist. It’s a normal family that goes on adventures and does crazy stuff. It’s pretty funny.
Video game: NBA 2K
> I don’t really play a lot. I don’t have time, but maybe three hours a week.
Are you addicted to this game?
> It’s just on my free time when people come over. I don’t play online.
Music artist: Meek Mill & Lil Bay
> I like listening to music that’s somewhat relatable, none of this mumble rap. I like music I can feel. They rap about their hustle, the struggle and what they came from. It’s just better anything where (other rappers) mumble over a beat. People like the beat, but I like the feeling and the words.
Teacher (elementary through high school): Ms. Joy Yoshida (Windward Nazarene Academy in Kaneohe)
> She teaches math. She was my fourth-grade teacher. She cares more about the students on a personal level. She makes sure everything is all right, and if you weren’t on the right track, she would do everything she can to make sure you don’t fail.
> It should be higher, but I’ve got to take things more serious especially during my junior and senior years.
Class: World history.
> Next quarter I’ll have History 151. I just like the class. It’s probably from the teachers in the past. You’ve got to know where you came from and how it all started. You’ve got to know the past to understand the present. It’s good to know your culture and where you came from.
Place to relax: In my room listening to music and reflecting on my thoughts.
Motto/scripture: Bet on yourself then double down.
> I got that from Dion Waiters. When people ask about you, choose yourself over everybody. It’s mainly about sports, but it’s school, too.
What your mom (Aimee) says that you can’t forget: “Make good choices, son.”
> She says this every time I ask her if I can go out.
What your dad (Jack) says that you can’t forget: “Theres always people watching, so watch what you say and what you do because you don’t want to be labeled as a bad person.”
> He says this all the time, same like my mom. They just want me to be the best I can be and be a role model to everyone else.
What your coaches say that you can’t forget: “Both winning and losing is a habit. Train and practice hard everyday, and you’ll create winning habits. Take your training and practice for granted and you’ll create losing habits.”
> Coach Kelii Tilton. He’s an assistant coach.
How does your sport affect your daily life during the season and offseason?
> It doesn’t really affect my schedule because I schedule everything around basketball and I’m training and playing basketball all year.
Dyrbe Enos took 500 shots every day between junior and senior year.
> Even shooting 50 shots a day is fine, as long as you’re getting shots up and you’re working on your game.
How many shots is enough for you?
> There’s never enough, but I’d say 200 shots would be just cutting it.
What middle and elementary schools did you attend? Windward Nazarene Academy
> I forget the league they played in, it was a small league. Mycah Pimentel was one of my teammates. He plays for Kamehameha now.
What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like year-round?
> I played in a community park league called KBA (Kailua Basketball Association). I also played with Hawaii Select, which is coached by Coach Alika Smith, and Lanakila coached by Reed Kamimura and Ryan Chong.
Where have you travelled for sports and school activities?
> The places I have traveled to for sports and school are Las Vegas, Oregon, Washington D.C., and the Big Island.
What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
> I’m pretty good at dancing hula. I had May Day from sixth to eighth grade, and I had to learn hula. I was pretty decent at it. I danced last year in our May Day. In a halau, I think it’s tough. In basketball, you get a next play. If you make a mistake in hula, you’ll hear it from a kumu.
What is your ultimate dream/bucket list? Where would you like to travel, what life would you like to have as an athlete? And away from sports?:
> My ultimate dream/bucket list is to travel to all seven continents. I would want to travel to France because I’ve never been there and I would love to visit the Eiffel Tower. The life I would like to have as an athlete in the future is to play basketball through college (hopefully with a scholarship so I can get a good education) and continue to play basketball at higher levels after I’m done with my schooling. I definitely want to continue learning, training and perfecting my game for as long as I can.
3. Italy. Where pizza started.
4. Japan. A lot of rich history there.
What is the history and background of your name?
> My mother wanted to give me a name that was uncommon and that would stand out.
Any shout-outs or additional thoughts are welcome. Mahalo!
Special thanks to the Man Above, my parents and my family for always keeping me level headed and for sacrificing their time and money to make me the best player possible. All my coaches and mentors past and present that have helped me get to the position I am at now. My teammates because it wouldn’t be possible without them, it takes more than one player to win a game. Coach (Dennis) Agena and Kalakaua clinic, definitely would not have certain skills I have today without it. Lastly, shoutout All Net Hawaii, one of the top, up-and-coming basketball programs in the state.
> As a community, most definitely if a lot of the players from Kailua played for Kailua, that would be something serious if they stayed home. Kaulana Makaula. It’s for them, their education, going to the ILH.
> I knew I had to take a leadership role when Chris (Christian Mejia) and Zach (Marrotte) graduated. I was just taking bit and pieces from them that would benefit me as a leader. Coach Wally told me I would have to be a leader this year and I’m comfortable with it. He wants me to be more vocal and a leader in general.
> It’s a new team. We had to rebuild that chemistry with a bunch of new players and transfers. The only way from here is up.
Watching you try to get your teammates involved was interesting. It was both different yet I was waiting for you to take over, which sounds selfish as a spectator.
> I’m not trying only to score, it’s whatever benefits the team whether it’s getting 20 assists or scoring. Whatever the team needs.
What was different about the Kapolei game? (Note: He scored a career-high 33 points in a 61-54 win.)
> I just, we were kind of in a slump and we had to kind of pull it out, so I was trying to take over the scoring role. They tried to box and one in the second half, and our team, i know what they’re capable of. So they got theirs. We used it to our advantage. I was doing both, a lot of my points came on fastbreak layups.
Twelve games in nonconference play already, more on the way. That’s a lot of games. Do the guys get enough sleep instead of playing video games all night?
> Our team knows how to rest and take care of their bodies.
How is Isaiah (Hopson) doing with learning a new system, moving from American Samoa?
> Isaiah, it’s great having a player like that who can go up and get it, and he can stretch out the floor. It’s going to be great when he learns to play within himself. It’s a luxury having him.
What about Sione (Veikoso)? He missed one year, so he’s catching up.
> He’s a rim protector, not afraid to bang, not afraid of contact. We’re trying to get him and Isaiah to play together at the same time.
Your patience as a team leader is impressive. The team is fairly young.
> I try to make sure everybody understands and is on the same page. You’re only was good as your worst player.