If he could live in two universes, free from a global pandemic, Aiva Arquette would play baseball in one and basketball in the other.
Infinitely. Arquette’s rise on the diamond and the hardwood helped Saint Louis, and he was just a sophomore. Despite the ongoing lockdown, he is getting work done as junior year begins. He posted a video on social media last week, working on his catch-and-shoot elbow and 3-point jumpers with former ‘Iolani great Derrick Low. Earlier in the summer, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound shortstop was the most valuable player at the Hawaii Sandlot Classic.
The video was only slightly edited. Even the normally modest Arquette admitted he shot the ball well under Low’s watchful eyes.
“I’ve been doing this for some time. (Low) is a baller, and I just do drills. I just felt like it was super good to be back on the court for the first time in a long time,” Arquette said. “I’ve had about four or five workouts with him. Before then, he put up a Zoom that I participated in.”
Low runs Proformance, a basketball program for boys and girls. He recently returned from another stint of pro ball in Europe.
“He teaches us, and he lets us do our own thing. Whatever we’re doing wrong, he points it out and he’s straightforward with us,” Arquette said.
Playing two sports in college is still a dream, but he is pragmatic.
“If basketball came around, I would definitely consider it, but my main goal right now is baseball. I’m open to anything,” Arquette said.
The future is bright for Saint Louis basketball. Arquette led the Crusaders with 11 points per game in the tough Interscholastic League of Honolulu, connecting on 28 treys in 13 conference games. Coach Dan Hale has a brand-new facility at his disposal, but high school hoopsters can’t work out on campus. Not yet. There are restrictions on when school coaches can coach in the offseason.
“I actually saw that video. That’s amazing because there’s no place to shoot,” Hale said. “That’s actually a big thing on the East Coast. You have these trainers who have these warehouse spaces, and they put up a hoop, work out with these guys.”
Hale coached Punahou to a state title in his three seasons as head coach there in the 2000s. Though college baseball teams have been very interested in Arquette, Hale sees a possible future in hoops for him.
“He’s clearly a talented baseball player who’s got offers, but from the basketball standpoint, he’s got a lot of potential in that, too. He’s tall and he does something every coach wants. He can shoot, and he has a quick release. In today’s college game, you’ve got to have some shooters,” Hale said.
Hale was a standout player at Punahou, leading the Buffanblu to a state crown as a big man with range. Arquette is a shade shorter than Hale, but has a different kind of skill set.
“His natural position is a 2. He’s not one of those guys who’s going to get caught, like a 6-4 center,” Hale said. “He likes to face up and he can shoot from distance. He runs the court really well. He’s one of those guys, he’s already playing his (college) position. He could be a stretch-3 kind of guy. He’s always a threat.”
Saint Louis baseball coach George Gusman isn’t shy about the attention Arquette is getting as a leadoff-hitting shortstop who can also pitch. With last spring’s sports season canceled, college recruiters are trusting high school coaches to provide more intel. Gusman is quite cooperative.
“He’s on fire regarding colleges and being recruited. It’s all the big schools, the big leagues. The Pac-12, Big West, West Coast Conference, WAC. Cal Poly, (UC) Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, USF. UCLA just came into the picture,” Gusman said.
Arquette prefers not to discuss offers, but did say that LMU, Sacramento State and Pitt are in contact.
“He’s very humble. He’s very open to all of those schools and being respectful, trying to find the right fit for himself academically, as well as for baseball,” Gusman said.
The longtime coach isn’t surprised about inquiries for Arquette and teammate Caleb Lomavita.
“Aiva’s got size. You don’t find many 6-4 shortstops, a possible D-I basketball player. He has the athleticism and work ethic, and he’s just starting,” Gusman said. “He’s only going to get better. I’m really blessed because of kids like Caleb and Aiva, Jaden Pieper and Hunter Hirayama. Those guys are not afraid to work and they don’t say too much to the younger guys, but (the younger players) see what they’re doing. They don’t want to get left behind. They learn how to handle their business.”
Arquette gave up football some time ago to focus on his two sports, but he works on his strength consistently.
“For sure, I eat a lot, to be honest. I’m in the weight room four days a week at my friend (Cody Antone)’s house. His dad (Ryan Antone) was one of my youth coaches,” Arquette said. “They have a squat rack, bench press, dumbbells. Some of my other teammates are there, too.”
He has picked up a lot of knowledge from current pro baseball player KJ Harrison, who is in the Washington Nationals farm system.
“He gives really good insight. He breaks down my swing really well. He wants me driving the ball more, getting my legs involved,” Arquette said. “Don’t hunch over, get good posture.”
He got a look on the mound during the Sandlot extravaganza with one scoreless inning and two Ks. He tops out at 85 mph, but his first love is shortstop.
“Yeah, a couple of coaches mentioned (Cal) Ripken. He was a great baseball player. We have a similar build, too,” Arquette said. “But I look at Christian Yelich for the swinging part.”
Arquette carries a 3.7 grade-point average and stays on top of his virtual classes, the homework, the time-management aspect of his workouts. But his favorite time during the lockdown has been with family.
“One thing we’re doing, me and my family are running a 2-on-2 basketball tournament at home. My mom (Marisel) and I against my dad (Athens) and sister (Adrianna),” he said.
Adrianna is a 5-9 freshman volleyball and basketball player at Kamehameha.
“I think me and my mom are winning. Everybody has their competitive side to them. My dad still has it,” Arquette said.
He and his sister spend hours shooting in their driveway every day. He’s looking forward to a sense of normalcy one day.
“I love it at Saint Louis,” he said. “There’s no regrets.”
Top 3 movies/shows
1. Field of Dreams. “I’ve watched that two or three times.”
2. Uncle Drew.
3. The Bench Warmers. “That’s a classic baseball movie.”
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Rib eye steak. “Homemade. We grill it. My dad makes it over the charcoal. I like it medium to medium rare. When my dad eats out, I take over the grill. It’s only on special occasions, maybe once a month. We have a special seasoning. Like Montreal seasoning.”
2. Sushi. “I’m a big Genki Sushi guy. Kaneohe is the closest one to us. We don’t go there very often. I order two things: California rolls and the sweet egg (tamago). Sometimes, I’ll get the spicy tuna.”
3. Pasta. “My mom makes chicken or shrimp Alfredo with some garlic bread on the side. She’s an awesome cook. I can’t make it, but I can make noodles.”
Top 3 music artists
1. Drake. “I just play his playlist a lot, mostly in school and when I’m driving.”
2. The Green. “The reggae band. It’s also my friend, Cody, his uncle (Ikaika Antone) is in it. My favorite song (by The Green), there’s actually a lot. I like ‘Runaway Train.’ “
3. Country music. “One band I like is Midland.”
Favorite team(s): St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets.
New life skill
Arquette: “During this quarantine, I’ve been learning landscaping. I can install new (grass) turf. We actually did our whole backyard. That took just a day, me and my dad.”
Arquette: “Shout out to all my coaches and my athletic directors. Shout out to my teammates that are working hard out there. We’re hungry to compete again. And shout out to our Saint Louis ohana. And shout out to the first responders out there.”