Hoopstahz at the Barn
University of Hawaii Basketball coming to Molokai
For the first time ever, the men’s basketball team from University of Hawaii (UH) will come to Molokai to play a regular season game against Chaminade University. The event, which Molokai High School (MHS) students are calling “Hoopstahz at the Barn,” will be hosted at MHS’s gym on Dec. 15.
Not only is this a historic game for Molokai, it also marks an important landmark for UH’s assistant coach Brandyn Akana, who was born and raised on the Friendly Isle.
“It’s a dream come true for me to see all this happening because Molokai is a special place,” he said. “I want to show our island to [our athletes], and I want the people on Molokai to be able to experience a real-life college basketball game.”
Akana said that this game is part of head coach Gib Arnold’s vision to “help other islands feel that they’re just as part of the team as the people who live on Oahu.” UH Men’s Basketball has already played games on Hawaii Island and Maui and hope to play on Lanai and Kauai before the season is over.
“Because we have players from all across the islands, playing on other islands is very important to us,” said Bill Villa, athletic director for Chaminade University. “It will be a once in a lifetime experience for our basketball team.”
Chaminade, which is ranked an NCAA Division II school, will be able to play against UH, Hawaii’s only ranked Division I school.
Former MHS athletic director Camie Kimball had contacted UH’s coaching staff earlier this year, and after she retired, new athletic director Hoku Haliniak followed up on the initiative to bring college basketball to MHS. With ticket prices kept at affordable rates –$5 presale, $8 at the door and $3 for seniors and MHS students – Haliniak said she expects the event to sell out.
UH and Chaminade will also be hosting a basketball camp on Dec. 14 for ages 5 through 14, an open practice later that night and an NCAA eligibility workshop for students and parents on the morning of the game.