Eight games into an exhibition season during senior year, Jydon “Boogie” Hall is at peace.
The former Damien standout transferred to Georgia after his sophomore year, living with his father, James Hall. After his junior year, the point guard then returned to the islands, enrolled at Saint Louis in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and later saw the basketball season cancelled. Meanwhile, Georgia played on though the fall and winter sports seasons.
“Georgia is in regional (basketball) playoffs right now. I didn’t really think about going back because my mom (Gina Gibo) is here and I can help them out during this time,” Hall said. “I really like Saint Louis a lot. It’s a good fit for me. Coach Dan (Hale) is a good coach. My Uncle Mark (Revuelto) is an assistant coach.”
At 8-0 against club teams — represented by players from many of Hawaii’s top boys basketball programs — Saint Louis would have been a Top 3 team statewide. Hall is averaging 17 points and three assists per game, including 25 points in a 60-57 win over his former team, Damien. Hall gives Hale the luxury of an experienced floor general.
“I knew he was a point guard who was coming back to Hawaii for his senior year after playing a year in Georgia. Boogie is fast, has a great handle, superior court vision and is a true leader on and off the court,” Hale said of Hall, who has a 3.4 grade-point average. He has a great basketball mind and is always thinking the game through on and off the court. He also has a good sense of humor.”
At Damien, Hall was one of the players who showed up on Sunday afternoons for extra shooting reps with then-assistant coach Marco Johnson.
“He is very driven. He is a very unique player,” said Hale, who played and coached at Punahou, guiding the Buffanblu to a state title. “His handle, push and leadership remind me of Miah (Ostrowski).”
Maryknoll’s players have not been part of the exhibition slate with any club teams so far, but the three-time defending state champions would have presented the biggest challenge to the tall, athletic Crusaders. From Hall to AJ Bianco to double-double force Aiva Arquette to experienced returnees like Shoncin Revuelto, the Crusaders have been unstoppable.
“I believe it is fair to consider Saint Louis No. 1 because we are a very versatile team, both offensively and defensively. As well as we have a great coaching staff,” Hall said.
“I wish we had a season. I think we would have taken it all,” said Hall, who considered Moanalua as a return destination before attending Saint Louis. “I didn’t really want to go back to Damien. Moving forward from my past, something different.”
As for life in Georgia, it’s not like his dad cooked a lot dinners at home, but Hall wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.
“It was a really good experience. A different environment, away from everyone I grew up with, my mom. It was almost like being at college. It taught me to be more responsible, more mature,” he said. “It was pretty cool living with my dad. I ate a lot of Chik-Fil-A. In Georgia, chicken wings and fries. It was only right to come home and finish up in front of my family and friends.”
Last summer could have been another memorable time.
“I was supposed to play in that AAU circuit, but that got cancelled,” Hall said.
Saint Louis has drawn attention as the only Hawaii high school hosting basketball games against outside competition. Coach Hale has the full support of the administration and, as an assistant athletic director, has a unique dedication to the protocol process. The Crusaders are all in with their coach.
“I think we were just willing to take a risk for the athletes of Hawaii,” Hall said. “Also, to show everybody that Saint Louis basketball is back. We have some good young players here, our freshmen and eight graders are waiting. The gym is really nice. Every day, we practice for two hours.”
Hall is still surprised that organized sports are off limits in public schools.
“I feel like, in Hawaii, sports is part of our culture. Every kid plays at least once sport since age 4 or 5,” he said.
Even without an official season, he has approached exhibition games and workouts at full tilt.
“The best thing about Coach Dan, when I came in this year, he’s already trying to get me ready for the next level, pulling me to side, trying new things, trying floaters,” Hall said.
Hall has the interest of South Puget Sound (Wash.) Community College.
“I heard from them two weeks ago. The coach saw me play in Vegas. They got in touch with my (club) coach (Randy Apele),” said Hall, who turned 17 last August. “I’m trying to reach out to some schools, might try prep school.”
Hale forecasts a bright future for Hall.
“He is athletic enough to defend against bigger guys, and skilled enough to make plays with his offensive abilities,” Hale said. “I really enjoy coaching him!”
Top 3 movies/shows
1. “Charm City Kings” (HBO Max)
2. “The Lion King” (Disney Plus)
3. “Like Mike” (Hulu)
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Soon’s Kal Bi Drive In (Salt Lake)
2. Korean chicken, Zippy’s
Top 3 music artists
1. Lil Baby – “Emotionally Scarred”
2. Nipsey Hussle (ft. Cobby Supreme, Dom Kennedy) – “Checc Me Out”
3. Rebel Souljahz – “Chauffeur”
New life skill: Driving
“Shout out to my family, especially my mom and grandma (Gail Kaneko), and my family on Kauai. Shout out to my Saint Louis coaches and teammates. All of the athletic staff and athletes. Shout out to Coach Marco Johnson.
“Shout out Body Fix Hawaii, Uncle Kekoa (Young) and Coach Marcus (Kimura).
“Shout out to my mentor, Derrick Low, as well as Kyle Pape, Uncle Jay (Mandaquit) and the Proformance program. And lastly, shout out to Salt Lake and everyone here in Hawaii who has always supported me no matter what.”