Q&A: ‘Iolani hoopster Camy Aguinaldo

‘Iolani girls basketball team, 2016-17. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.
‘Iolani girls basketball team, 2016-17. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

Camy Aguinaldo likes traveling, especially if riding roller coasters is involved. The ‘Iolani senior and her teammates, and coaches are in Arizona this week, playing in the Nike Tournament of Champions. After a dinner of chicken and bread, she chatted about her favorites and the Raiders’ goals as a team.

A full-length feature on Aguinaldo ran in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Note: Parts of this Q&A were sent by text.


Favorite Athlete
“My favorite athlete is Kobe Bryant because no matter what he keeps pushing to be the best.” 

So why are you wearing #23 instead of #24?
“I have a superstition. I can only play with an odd-number jersey. I always had the number 5, but when I entered ‘Iolani, but Pua (Kahalehoe) had it. They gave me number 20 originally and I asked my friend Kelsi (Ikeda) if we could trade because 2 + 3 = 5. She was fine with it.”

Favorite team
“I don’t have a specific NBA team or team in general that is my favorite. But if I had to chose a favorite team I would chose the team I am playing with now, ‘Iolani Girls Varsity Basketball because both my teammates and coach support me, keep me in check and make me smile.” 

Favorite food (at home)
“My favorite food at home is my mom’s corn chowder and my dad’s kal bi.

What goes in your mom’s corn chowder?  
“Corn, potatoes, carrots, bacon, honestly I don’t know. It’s thick.”

What about your dad’s kal bi?
“He’s mastered this. He makes it every other month for big occasions. He’ll make it and freeze and all we have to do is heat it up.”

What’s in the marinade?
“I have no clue.”

Favorite food (eating out)
“My favorite foods when we eat out is Zippy’s Korean chicken and chili, no beans, with mac salad.” 

That’s athlete food. People who burn a lot of calories.
“I don’t think I have a high metabolism. I just run a lot. If we have a late practice, I would usually end up not eating dinner. On trips, sometimes they make me eat.”

What can you cook?
“I can’t cook you a fancy meal, but I know how to make french toast and waffles. 

You mean, Eggo waffles?
“No, Bisquick and a waffle iron.”

Any special bread for the French toast?
“Love’s. Eggs, cinnamon.”

Favorite hobby outside of sports:
“My favorite hobby outside of basketball is traveling to other states to ride rollercoasters or chilling with my friends. 

How many states so far?
“Five states, but there’s so many amusement parks. Like in California. Florida. Washington and Oregon.

Which one is the best?
“Honestly, I love Disneyland — California Screamin’. That brings back so many memories from basketball and my own family with the fast pass. I love Disneyland.”

Favorite movie
“My favorite movie is ‘Forever Strong’ because it teaches sacrifice, teamwork, character, honor, sportsmanship and many other life lessons.”

I’ve never heard of it. I’m looking online and it’s a sports movie from 2008. 
“It’s a rugby movie. I saw it during a team bonding for 808 Basketball. Coming from an athletic point of view, it means something.”

Favorite TV show
“My favorite TV shows are Empire, Grey’s Anatomy, and Blindspot because each show always has something different and it never disappoints me. 

A lot of people like Grey’s Anatomy, which began basically when most high school kids were still in diapers. And it seems like everyone with an interest in the medical or physical therapy field also likes the show.
“My friends from school made me watch it, and I was skeptical, so many episodes, I don’t have time for this. But I made time and I caught up. There’s so much going on in every episode. They have always a cliff-hanger. And I want to go in the medical field.”

Favorite music artist
My favorite music artists are Tatiana Manaois and Kehlani. 

Are they local or from the mainland?
“They’re kind of new. ‘Call Me’ is easily relatable to.”


Warm-up music
“This year, this summer, (teammate) Tori Maeda, we always listen to ‘World’s Greatest’ by R. Kelly. It gives us hope and gets our energy way up there. Nothing can bring us down.”

Favorite teacher
“I don’t have one favorite teacher because each and everyone has made a positive impact on my life and helped guide me to become who I am today.” 

Favorite class
“I really enjoy the subjects math and science so I guess I can say my favorite class is chemistry because it consist of both subjects.” 

Favorite place to relax
“My favorite place to relax is on my bed because all my problems and worries go away. Also, it is a comfortable place to watch Netflix, sleep, or do homework.”

Don’t students at ‘Iolani have a stack two feet high of homework every night? Or is that a myth?
“Kids at ‘Iolani are so lucky, I spent 45 minutes, an hour at the the most on homework for each subject. We have free periods. They actually changed our schedule so we only have six periods each day. It’s not like every single period we have a class. Free period we can go to the library or senior benches.”

Favorite motto/ scripture:
“Everything in life happens for a reason.”

What’s one example of that?
“Coming into high school, I had a choice to go to Roosevelt or ‘Iolani. I chose ‘Iolani for something different, to try something different. I’m happy I chose ‘Iolani.”

What your mom (Cori) always says that you can’t forget.
“Blood is thicker than water” OR “Nothing is fair in life.”

Sounds like she’s the tough one.
“She just wants the best for us. She can be hard on us, but she cares. If it’s school, it’s mom. If it’s sports, it’s dad.”

Did she play sports?
“Mom played softball at UH-Hilo and Roosevelt (Cori Kawakami). She played basketball, but I think she was a bench-warmer.”

What your dad (Art) always says that you can’t forget.
“Always remember and give back to those who cared for you.”

Do you have brothers and sisters?
“My older brother is Cody. He went to Roosevelt. My younger brother is Chase. He goes to Kawananakoa.

What is the history or background of your first and last name?
“My first name, Camy, was given to me by my mom. She came up with this name because her friend’s sister had the same name, but spelt different. My last name came from my dad and he adopted his mom’s/my grandma’s last name, Aguinaldo, which means gift in Filipino.”

How does basketball affect your daily life during the season and offseason?
“Basketball has always played an important role in my life because everything I do revolves around practices, games, or lifting at Tactical Strength and Conditioning. I am pretty use to balancing school work with basketball, but wether I am in season or off season, I am always busy running from practice to practice or game to game.” 

Your earliest memory of basketball when you started playing.
“I started playing basketball around the age of 4 at 808 Basketball Club. One of my greatest memories and impacting experiences I had was when Coach Hinano Higa walked up to me, took me by the hand, and taught me every drill one-on-one. 

And you’re still involved?
“Now I help coach the younger kids. It’s different, but it’s interesting I see what Coach Hinano has done for me and how I can give back to the community by doing the same. I like working with kids.”

What do you like to do, or what is something you’re good at, that would surprise most people? 
“One thing that would surprise most people is that I like to solve puzzles such as crosswords, sudoku, and word finds because it’s something that keeps me calm, but makes me think.

Do your parents like puzzles, too?  
“My grandma (Harriet Kawakami) — I would always go to her house and do puzzles, and I started getting into it. That was kind of a way for me and my grandma to connect. She passed away about 10 years ago. It’s kind of a way to remember her.”

What are your ultimate dreams and bucket list goals?
“My ultimate dream is to become a physical therapist. My bucket list goal is to take a road trip starting in New York and ending in Florida, while visiting all the hall of fames and amusement parks.

You haven’t been seriously injured, which is how most people take an interest in PT.
“From working out at Tactical, kind of similar to physical therapy, seeing what they do, it made me interested in it. My dad tore his meniscus (at work), so I went to his rehab and I was, wow, I want to do this. After Ka‘o Quinlan tore her ACL, seeing how she went through that, I kind of want to help. It was hard for her and I just want to help kids who go through that because they shouldn’t do it alone.”

GOALS
“Before the season we kind of had a meeting and the coaches gave us a piece of paper, what is your goal for the team or for individual. we all had the same goal to work hard, play as a team, get to states. We know we can get there if we work hard as a team. Not let other people put us down or underestimate us. Or we feel like we’re underestimated a lot because of our height. In the past, people didn’t see us as a top team.


What Coach Dean Young always says.
“Work as a team.”
“Rebound.”
“Compete.”
“Play our game.”
“Don’t let the other team affect how we play.”

What (808 Basketball Club) Coach Hinano Higa always says.
“Represent! Represent your family, your team, Hawaii. Don’t do anything dumb that’s going haunt you in the future.”

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