Kauai hoopsters show their stuff at EBC camp

  • Photo courtesy Gwynn Shimamoto

    Participants of an Elite Basketball Circuit youth camp stop for a photo at Radford High School in Honolulu, in this July photo. Back row from left: Matt Kanne, Michael Questin, Keaka Ka’uhane, Mone Malafu, Grayson Shimamoto and Miguel Bennett. Front row: Kaleo Demond and Piko Vaughan.

Playing basketball on the furthest island in the pacific can pose some challenges. Fortunately with the help of Kauai Lynx’s Coach Clarence Sales and Na Koa Basketball Academy’s Coach Kamahalo Kaʻuhane, Kauai’s youth had an opportunity to get exposure to high level basketball.

In late July, Elite Basketball Circuit presented by Adidas and Open Gym Premier, a flagship network for the Jr. NBA, made its way to Hawaii and held their camp at Radford High School in Honolulu. EBC is a regional elite camp series for top middle school players across the Western United States.

Kauhane and Sales worked with organizer Matt Kanne of Elite Basketball to nominate boys and girls from Kauai to participate.

Na Koa Basketball Academy, Kauai Thunder, Isle Hoops, Team Lihue, Rebels and Lynx players from fourth through eighth grade were invited. The invitees were:

– Eighth grade: Emma Burgess, Ciara Tolentino, Dylan Date, Joshua Dobashi, Caleb Plowman, Keylan Felipe-Calapatia, and Mikey Manera.

– Seventh graders: Cairee Quinones, Pua Akui Ramos, Mone Malafu, Michael Questin, Syrus Delos Reyes, Darrin Andres, and Grayson Shimamoto.

– Sixth grade: Denise Alfonso, Keaka Kauhane, Joshua Rego, Kala’iakea Esteban, and Aukai Arruda.

– Fourth grade: Kaleo Demond and Piko Vaughn.

EBC had top trainers from the Mainland as well as local trainers sharing their knowledge throughout the weekend. For two days, the players went through skill circuits and played several games.

Manera, from Team Lihue, was named one of C/O 2022 Outstanding Performers. Na Koa’s Malafu was named C/O 2023 MVP.

Questin, C/O 2023, and Kauhane, C/O 2024, were named Outstanding Performers for their grade level. Demond, C/O 2026, claimed the Hustle Award.

Each of these players were granted an invite to the Jr. All American Camp that was held in Anaheim, Calif., the following weekend on Aug. 3-5.

Coach Kamahalo also had a hand in helping coach in both camps on Oahu and in Anaheim.

“These boys are skilled, quick, strong, and high basketball IQ,” Kamahalo shared of the players at the camp in Anaheim.

Friday was a short competition day but on Saturday and Sunday they competed for eight hours each day.

“It was a great experience for our players to expand their skills and develop their basketball IQ,” he said.

While at the Jr. All-American camp the players also competed in games to showcase their skills against the nation’s top talent. They also had combine testing skills including vertical jump, ¾ court sprint, and lane agility, as well as competing in a King of the Court and Dunk contest.

Mone Malafu and Keaka Kauhane made it to the Top 50 All-Star Games out of the 200 players in each grade level that attended the Adidas Jr. All-American Camp.

“It was great to be a part of these camps to get our kids exposure on the national level and get Kauai on the map, it was the first year Kauai players were invited and represented well,” Ka’uhane said after the camp. “Congratulations to the players who attended and we look forward to EBC returning to Hawaii to evaluate and recruit more talent to attend in the future.”

All players that attend EBC will have their profiles on Grassroots 365, a partner with EBC that covers event series, team rankings and player features.

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