Boys basketball

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Latest news

Nick Velasquez’s basketball journey leads to Armenia

By Paul Honda on November 26, 2021

Back in the day, Nick Velasquez would be in the gym by 5 a.m. to get extra shooting reps. No more. The former Star-Advertiser All-State selection from Punahou gets those shots up whenever he wants now. Life as a professional basketball player has its perks. Velasquez recently signed with the BC Mad Foxes and plays in Yerevan, Armenia. “Kawika Lyons’ agency actually helped me find the job. For this particular job, I ended up playing in a preseason tour and […]

Sierra Canyon leads field as ‘Iolani Classic returns in December

By Paul Honda on November 18, 2021

(12:20 p.m. Adds ‘Iolani Classic boys brackets.) The ‘Iolani Classic is back with the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. ‘Iolani made the official announcement on Thursday morning after months of preparation. The boys Classic is set for Dec. 18-22 with NBCSN and Peacock set to air the semifinal and final rounds. All other boys tournament games will be aired on Sierra Canyon is one of five teams from the mainland in the 14-team field. Among their key contributors […]

‘Iolani’s JJ Mandaquit nets 1st D-I offer from U. of Portland

By Paul Honda on October 5, 2021

JJ Mandaquit will never forget his first offer. The University of Portland offered the ‘Iolani freshman a basketball scholarship on Sunday during his tour of the campus. Mandaquit has become a fixture on a renowned Rose City Rebels club program in the past six months. He was at the invite-only PT-40 Showcase in Portland on Saturday when the Pilots connected with the point guard. “I like how it’s not the biggest campus. Everybody’s kind of like a family. Small, but […]

Busy summer nets D-I offer for ‘Iolani sophomore Aaron Claytor

By Paul Honda on September 18, 2021

Somewhere in a parallel universe, the 2020-21 basketball season was a breakout year for a few of Hawaii’s best young players. In this world, Aaron Claytor made the best of dire circumstances. Now a sophomore, the ‘Iolani guard completed one of the busiest summer grinds. One reward was a scholarship offer from North Carolina A&T, which plays in the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). The Aggies were 11-10 last season, including 7-1 in conference play. Claytor’s older brother, Rio, plays football […]

A ‘gentle giant’: Hawaii mourns loss of Punahou legend Ia Saipaia

By Paul Honda on September 2, 2021

It was an era when guards rarely dominated from long range. Ia Saipaia found a way. Scoring on the baseline. Pump-faking and driving through narrow gaps. Hitting 22-footers off the dribble. Finding open teammates. The young hoopster from Kuhio Park Terrace didn’t say a whole lot. A man of action. Saipaia died on Monday from COVID-19 symptoms, just 63. He died of COVID-19 symptoms and was fully vaccinated, according to his wife, Jean Miyashiro-Saipaia. “Hopefully, it is a lesson to […]

Voyage to Ohio leads to creation of Hawaiian food truck for Sage Tolentino’s father, Grant

By Paul Honda on August 15, 2021

The connection between the Tolentino family and Ohio is deepening. While former Maryknoll standout Sage Tolentino plays and trains in Hamilton, his father is turning a new chapter into a business opportunity. Grant Tolentino and nephew and recent CIA (Culinary Institute of Arts) graduate Aaron Kimura are opening a food truck: Dine-In Hawaiian. It’s a natural fit since Sage Tolentino committed to Cincinnati in July. “It’s such a big open market here that it’s much needed. All of the local […]

Catching up with former Maryknoll standout Sage Tolentino

By Paul Honda on August 15, 2021

The distance between Kaneohe and Hamilton, Ohio is 4,426 miles. Sage Tolentino packed his bags and made the move after sophomore year at Maryknoll. He could have stayed, but like every other basketball player in Hawaii, he would’ve had zero official basketball games last winter as a junior. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t hit Ohio the same way, where basketball was permitted at high schools like Hamilton. The 7-foot wing and shot blocker — All-State selection and two-time state champion — […]

Promising freshman JJ Mandaquit of ‘Iolani enjoying a recharge in Hilo

By Paul Honda on August 9, 2021

In the hoops universe, JJ Mandaquit is a rising star. Of the class of 2025 — incoming freshmen — none has shone brighter on a national stage than the ‘Iolani hoopster. The general consensus is that Mandaquit and Pupuali‘i Sepulona are the top two incoming freshmen in Hawaii. Sepulona, a 6-foot-3 post scorer with a silky shooting stroke, was one of Saint Louis’ top scorers in its varsity summer league. The left-handed shooter is now playing football. Mandaquit was Sepulona’s […]