From Zoom workouts to in-person reps, Kyle Pape and the girls teams of PROformance have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.
No games. No scrimmages. Just drill after drill. Then, Pape and co-coach Derrick Low learned about an international skills competition. Alan Walls, the director of United Nations of Basketball — and a St. Anthony graduate — is someone Pape and Low could count on.
They weren’t disappointed. PROformance won the 17-under competition of the World Team Skills Championships against a global field. Representing Oceania, PROformance defeated Asia representative BEST Center Sports of the Philippines. Teams from Lebanon, Palestine, Romania, Samoa and Spain also competed.
(Highlights are available on the Homecourt app, which is free.)
“The girls did very well, even comparing them against boys from the competition and around the world,” Walls said. “They are very good, and young, too. Some class of 2028, ’27 and ’26 girls were on the team. They were especially strong in the agility and ballhandling drills with the shooting drills being their weakness.”
Walls noted that Jaedyn Koshiba of PROformance ranked No. 1 in ballhandling drill of the event. Teammate Hali‘a Hoapili ranked No. 3 in the same ballhandling drill.
The competition began three weeks ago with each round lasting four days. Everything was done virtually.
“Everyone had to be accountable. You can do the drills as many times you wanted and you submit your highest score,” Pape said. “I have about 60 to 70 girls in our program and it was tough to choose. The bottom line is you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. You’ve got to put the work in. It shows in the results.”
PROformance did virtual training through the early months of the pandemic.
“We were doing free Zoom workouts throughout the (pandemic). At one point, it got up to about 100 players. You know Derrick. His ballhandling is second to none,” Pape said.
Once restrictions eased a bit, they began training sessions in their space in Kakaako with four players at a time.
“I get the girls in there three to four times a week, and Derrick gets the other three or four times with the boys and (non-club) girls. Anybody can sign up,” Pape said.
In lieu of all games and tournaments, he jumped at the chance to give his team a challenge.
“We’ll always support the right people. Alan has always been one of those guys,” Pape said.
Walls has coached all over the world, from Germany to Mongolia. Pape, like Low, has played professionally overseas. After graduating from Colorado School of Mines, he played in Kazakstan and Ukraine.
“What he’s doing with this global organization is a great idea. Unless you really travel to other countries, you don’t realize how similar you are to people,” Pape said. “You might have different backgrounds in faith or cultural stuff, but when I was in Kazakstan and Ukraine, my teammates took me in. Derrick had the same experience, too. We have friends on the other side of the world. I always tell the kids, you make the life you want.”
PROformance is aiming for showcase-type tournament play in April and again in the summer if the pandemic relents.
“Our hope is to travel in April. It’s a tournament in California. This one, I go with my Elite team. In the summer, we travel with two 17U teams,” he said.
When ‘Iolani’s dynasty under then-coach Mark Mugiishi was at its peak, Low was a dominant force from the start of his freshman year. Pape played in the next wave of Raiders talent, another All-State player of the year.
“Part of what we had at ‘Iolani is the culture and that’s what we want at PROformance. We’re here to get better and work out. It’s not social hour. I think we have that culture going. We just have limited resources. We wish we could help everybody,” Pape said.
Pape never expected to coach girls.
“If you would’ve asked Derrick and I four years ago if we would’ve been coaching girls, we would’ve said, ‘You’re crazy.’ But it’s just helping Hawaii kids get to the next level. If a player keeps making the same mistake or not performing, you’re allowing it and not correcting it. We had to change up the way we teach and break it down. A lot of stuff we do is not fancy. It’s straight hard work. It’s about the quality of reps. We spend a lot of time, the first 30 minutes, on ballhandling and finishing at the basket,” he said. “Our mission is getting these kids playing at the collegiate level, doing the work it takes to get there.”
Pape sees the trends of the new generation, the influence of social media, and though he’s still a young man, the practicality of what exists in current culture isn’t always ideal in his eyes.
“Lots of kids want that one fancy move or shot to get 10,000 likes, but it’s those other moves that get zero likes that get you game results. Yeah, you have a good crossover, but you can’t finish a simple layup. We really focus on those game results,” Pape said.
He also has a perspective about training and living in the islands versus moving away for more exposure.
“Kids from Hawaii need game film to show (college) coaches. That’s the first thing coaches ask for. It goes hand in hand with studying game film. It’s good for parents, too,” Pape said. “The mainland has better exposure, but it shouldn’t be your only option. Derrick and I are here to help anybody who wants help. If they have a question as far as recruiting or anything else, we’re here.”
(Clarification: Koshiba and Hoapili’s rankings were in the ballhandling category, not the overall rankings for all three categories of drills.)