Former ‘Iolani hoopster Kylie Yung walks on at Hawaii

'Iolani's Kylie Yung (24) converted a layup in a game against Punahou in an ILH game on Jan. 21, 2019. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Kylie Yung is ready for Rainbows.

The ‘Iolani basketball state champion has walked on at Hawaii, turning down opportunities to play at smaller universities.

“She’s always told us that she wants to play Division I basketball even if it meant turning down other opportunities to walk on. She’ll fit right in,” ‘Iolani coach Dean Young said. “She’s the hardest-working player I ever coached and Coach (Laura) Beeman will love that along with how hard she plays.”

The 5-foot-8 forward is a 3-point shooter who runs the floor and often defended in the low post for the Raiders.

“Her versatility defensively will be her biggest asset initially until she gets her shot a little tighter. At that point, she’ll be a great 3-and-D (defense) player,” Young added.

Yung and former Maryknoll guard/forward Kodee Viena are walk-ons with UH this winter.

Yung planned to enroll at UH since summer of 2019.

“I’m glad that I was able to get a walk-on spot on the team and it feels great to be training with the girls and coaches because they push you to be better. I’m always looking to better myself every time I step on the court or in the weight room,” she said.

She turned down opportunities at Chaminade, Pacific (Ore.), Lewis and Clark, William Jessup and a few more NAIA programs.

Kylie Yung gets a shooting workout in recently. Photo courtesy of Nathan Yung.

Training with the Rainbow Wahine has been a new experience.

“Before the lockdown, when we didn’t have practices going on, the Zoom meetings definitely helped us stay in touch and check in with one another,” Yung said. “On the academic side, it definitely took a while to adjust to a new school and being fully online.”

The process has allowed her to heal from a back injury she suffered last season. She’s almost back to normal after being cleared to train in August.

“I have been working out on my own during the lockdown, planning my own workouts since I was still trying to recover. I didn’t really worry about the fact that I don’t have a hoop or a weight room at home because there’s so many other aspects of your game you can work on,” Yung said.

She plans to major in kinesiology and attend physical therapy school after graduation.

Lockdown staples

Top movies/shows

>> “The Help.”

>> “Soul Surfer.”

>> “The Notebook.”

>> “The Last Dance.”

>> “Avatar the Last Airbender.”

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Spicy ahi with white rice, Ono Seafood.

2. Laniakea Sub, Storto’s Deli And Sandwich Shoppe. “It’s like your regular sandwich with deli meats and vegetables, but the bread and the special papaya dressing sauce is what separates it from all sandwiches.”

3. Acai bowl, Haleiwa Bowls or Sunrise Shack. “Sunrise Shack has this super good ‘Tropical Bowl.’ ”

New life skill

Yung: “I learned how to drive, but I’m not very good.”

* * *

Bonus shots: Coach Young couldn’t recall the last time an ‘Iolani player suited up for the Rainbow Wahine. It may have been BJ Itoman, who was a two-time All-State player of the year in ’94 and ’95, and played for UH 1995-99.

“If she’s not the best (guard) we’ve had, she will be,” then-coach Vince Goo told Cindy Luis in ’97.

Itoman was was honored with the Jack Bonham Award in ’99. Another all-time great from ‘Iolani, Melanie Azama, was a recipient of the Jack Bonham Award in ’94.

She was All-State player of the year in ’90 as a senior for the Raiders. Azama is the program’s all-time single-season leader in 3-point field goal percentage (51.6 percent, 1991-92).

Azama and Itoman were inducted into the Hawaii High School Hall of Honor.

Trisha Nishimoto, another ‘Iolani standout, played for the Rainbow Wahine from ’02 to ’06.


  1. Old School September 26, 2020 6:46 pm

    BJ was good but Azama was quick and fast…tough call on “the Best”…

  2. JAHred September 28, 2020 11:36 am

    Trisha Nishimoto played after BJ

  3. Paul Honda September 29, 2020 9:10 am

    Mahalo, JAHred, we’ve added her to the story.

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