‘Swords To Open Championship Round At Maui Tourney

The Chaminade University men’s basketball team will open the championship round of the 2014 EA Sports Maui Invitational against Big East Conference team Pittsburgh.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to play Pitt,” said head coach Eric Bovaird. “Being from western Pennsylvania, I grew up as a Pitt fan. (Head coach Jamie) Dixon is a friend of mine and a really good coach. They’ll be an awfully tough challenge for us, but a great chance to see where we are at coming off a championship season.” (Dixon also was an assistant coach during two stints on Riley Wallace’s staff at UH-Manoa in the 1990s.)

Chaminade and Pittsburgh will meet at 4 p.m. Nov. 24 Hawaii Standard Time, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

The Panthers ended 2013-14 with a 26-10 record and a fifth-place finish during their inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, advancing to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Its current roster includes 2013 Hawaii High School Gatorade Player of the Year Joshua Ko. Now a sophomore, Ko helped Kalaheo capture Hawaii High School Athletic Association titles in 2012 and 2013.

Chaminade will face BYU or San Diego State the following day at either 5 p.m. (on ESPN) or at 11:30 a.m. (on ESPN2), depending on the outcome of their first round game. Possible opponents on day three are Purdue, Kansas State, Missouri and Arizona.

The Kaimuki college returns 12 players from last year’s team, which captured its first-ever PacWest tournament championship. The ‘Swords also made a second-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II West Regional last March, marking the first time that has happened in the school’s proud history.

Bovaird and Chaminade also announced the addition of highly regarded recruit Oscar Pedroso to the lineup in recent weeks. Pedroso was a two-time Western State Conference First Team honoree at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and also was the conference’s 2013-14 Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-4 Pedroso, who finished sixth in career scoring at Cuesta with 997 points, averaged 17.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game with 50 steals this past season. He also was on the Portuguese Junior National Team prior to playing at Cuesta.

“To pick up a player of Oscar’s caliber this late in the season is very exciting,” Bovaird said. “He is very skilled offensively and an aggressive defensive player. Oscar was very successful at the California (junior college) level which usually means they can be very successful at the DII level. I look forward to coaching Oscar and am very optimistic about this year’s team.”