Coach Pardini: They’re Tall, Talented Ball-handlers For KBC

Rob Pardini’s love of basketball gave him opportunities to play at both UC- Davis and Fresno State. But he’s channeling his love of the game these days to the younger generation by coaching in the Kailua Basketball Club.

Kailua Basketball Club’s eighth/ninth-grade team captured its second straight Sharks AAU tournament, and is now playing in two summer leagues. Photo from the Pardini family.

“I enjoy coaching at all levels — especially the younger kids,” said Pardini, a Kailua entrepreneur. “It’s a ton of fun, and it is exciting to give back and work with the kids.

“The club has grown organically,” he added. “We started it about two or three years ago and now have about 30 kids from different age groups.”

KBC’s active schedule and attentive coaching staff have produced talented, up- and-coming young players. Among KBC’s recent triumphs was its eighth/ninth- grade team capturing a sec- ond straight Sharks A AU tournament.

“It’s a pretty solid select group of kids who’ve been playing together for many years,” he said. “It’s a unique group. Many will play varsity basketball as freshmen at places like Maryknoll, Iolani and Punahou.”

The team won all eight games at the tournament, which spanned four days over the Memorial Day holiday. Teams from Maui and Kauai came as did teams from all over Oahu.

KBC’s starting five were Kamakana Winquist (Waimanalo, grade 9), Hugh Hogland (Waimanalo, 9), Ashton Arnold (Kailua, 9), Kekaula Kaniho (Kailua, 9), Lachlan MacLeod (Kai- lua, 10) and Burson Wang (Kaimuki, 9).

Pardini said other “solid contributors” were Grant Duncan (Punahou), Ryan Hobus (UH Lab), Cole Hogland (Iolani), Ryan Pardini (Punahou), Kyle Blackham (Kailua), Keoni Serikawa (Kailua), Jaylen Cain (Maryknoll), Harry Wallace (Kailua Intermediate), Nainoa Winquist (Maryknoll), Brian Washington (Hakipu‘u Charter) and Kapa‘a and Kanehe Nishimura (Honolulu).

Pardini liked the tournament’s competitiveness. “We were definitely challenged. A Kahuku team was entered, and they were good. We were able to sail through the rest pretty well. It was a great tournament.”

In addition to being among the more experienced, the team also exploited its size.

“We have tremendous size, that’s No. 1,” Pardini said. “We have a 6-foot-6 post player, a 6-4 guard, another 6-1 guard, and then we mix in some talented aver- age-sized kids. We have super ball-handlers and great perimeter shooters. It’s a great mix.”

KBC’s eighth/ninth-grade group is competing together in the Kalaheo High Summer League and the Compete And Learn “invite-only” league. Team members also will play for the schools they attend in fall term.

“We’re constantly playing. These are the top players on the island in their age group, so they’re all pretty special.”