By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
University of Hawaii teams have benefitted from a wealth of talented student-athletes from the Aloha State, especially in sports such as football, baseball and volleyball. Women’s basketball has also featured local talents such as Dana Takahara, Nani Crockett, BJ Itoman, Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Keisha Kanekoa. But what about men’s hoops? Here’s our lineup of Rainbow Warrior greats with deep roots in our Islands. Let us know if we missed anyone!
The Starting Lineup:
C – BRAD PINEAU: The Saint Louis School alum was never a star at UH, but standing 6’10” he’s the only local product that qualifies for the center position. A Rainbow Warrior from 1978-82, his skill set was probably suited more toward today’s brand of basketball. His best season was his sophomore campaign, when he averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
F – JULIAN SENSLEY: Pound for pound, few Rainbow Warriors possessed the physical tools and versatility of Sensley, who played his high school ball at Kalaheo. The three-year starter averaged 13.8 points, 6.7 boards and 3.2 assists at UH, earning First-Team All-WAC honors as a senior. Sensley finished his career as the only player in program history to rank in the Top 10 in career points, rebounds and assists.
F – SAMUTA AVEA: The 6’6” senior out of Kahuku High School has steadily improved every season as a Rainbow Warrior. In 2019-20, he posted career highs in minutes (30.2), points (10.8), rebounds (4.3) and assists (1.3). He opted out of the 2020-21 season due to the COVID pandemic and is sitting out this season with an injury. He is expected to return next season and be a key starter for the ‘Bows.
G – ALIKA SMITH: Played at UH from 1994 to ‘98. The Kalaheo alum is the No. 3 on UH’s career scoring list, with 1,415 points. The sharpshooter teamed with Anthony Carter to form Hawaii’s “Dynamic Duo.” Smith helped Hawaii to achieve back-to-back 20-win seasons and NIT appearances. Held the program record for most career three-pointers until it was surpassed by Predrag Savovic. Averaged 12.6 points over his collegiate career, including 18.3 in his senior season.
G – KAWIKA HALLUMS: He went by David Hallums during his two seasons as a Rainbow Warrior (1987-89). The Pearl City alum provided heady play and leadership as the team’s starting point guard. Averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 assists in his UH career. Hallums was part of the 1989-90 team that won 25 games and advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals.
Off the Bench:
F – DAN HALE: The Punahou alum played for the Rainbow Warriors for three seasons in the early 1980s before transferring to Chaminade. Averaged 3.7 points as a ‘Bow. Hale was a teammate of Barack Obama at Punahou.
F – SAM JOHNSON: Like Hale, the former All-State selection from Moanalua High School played three seasons at UH (1981-84), averaging 3.9 points per contest.
F – ZOAR NEDD: The walk-on out of Kapolei High School has worked his way into the rotation of this year’s team.
G – JARINN AKANA: Molokai native was a starting guard for UH when the Rainbow Warriors shocked BYU in the 1994 WAC Tournament to reach the NCAA’s “Big Dance.”
G – KALIA McGEE: The University Lab School graduate led UH in assists for two seasons in the 1990s.
G – BOBBY NASH: The son of legendary “Fabulous Five” member Bob Nash played four seasons at UH and became part of the program’s 1,000-point Club. Of course, Hawaii fans might remember Nash for this play: