This And That And A Tongan Thing

Freshman Isaac Fotu has been fantastic. UH Athletics photo

A little bit of this and that and other things during this first month of 2013:

* The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team is back at home in Stan Sheriff Center this week. The ‘Bows play Pacific Thursday, followed by UC-Davis Saturday.

I’m excited by this year’s team, especially the play of super-freshman Isaac Fotu. The big Tongan power forward from New Zealand has been a beast on the boards, as well as a tremendous scorer. He’s already one of the top rebounders, top scorers and top shooters in the Big West, plus, he recently was named the freshman of the week nationally by

What’s next for this 6-foot-8-inch, 240-pound wunderkind with the wild hair?

How about the freshman scoring record held by the late Chris Gaines? Gaines scored 480 points in his amazing freshman season in 1986-87. Fotu needs to average about 16 points a game this season and then get some big points in the conference tournament to catch and surpass that mark. Based on his play up to now, it could happen.

* For those who love high school basketball, this year’s race for supremacy in the state is really up for grabs. On the boys’ side, Maryknoll, featuring 6-foot-8-inch Tobi Schramm, is off to a great start, and has joined perennial ILH contenders Punahou, Iolani and Kamehameha in the chase for the private school title. Meanwhile, Kalaheo, coached by Alika Smith, has again become a powerhouse in the OIA.

On the girls’ side, Bobby Awa again has an outstanding squad at Konawaena that will be tough to beat at the state tournament. But look out for Kamehameha, Iolani, Mililani and Roosevelt – just some of the top teams on Oahu.

* For those youngsters looking to get better at basketball, the Kalakaua Spring Clinic, headed by the legendary Dennis Agena, will take place the weekend of March 2-3 at Moanalua High School gym. Check out details at

* Finally, if you’re looking for a great cause and a great way to get in shape or stay in shape, consider entering the annual Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk Sunday, Jan. 27, at Kapiolani Community College.

The outstanding event that supports the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii has everything from a 1-mile walk to runs of 5K and 10K, and bike distances of 35K, 75K and 100K. It’s great to get family and friends involved individually or in teams.

“It’s a fantastic event,” says Ben Williams, who takes part each year with the Pacific Velo cycle club. “It’s really not a race, but a way for all of us to ride together as a team. We appreciate the charity part in a big way.”

Carole Higa has done it nearly every year with Team Runners HI. “It starts with our runners, then their friends, then friends of friends,” she says. “We have a lot of fun.”

For more information on how your team can get out and support a great cause, check out details at and click on the tab for Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk, or call the Epilepsy Foundation for more information at 528-3058.