Young hoopsters show their stuff

KAPAA — Two basketballs. Two hands.

“Show the man what you can do with them,” Coach Dennis Agena said to Jaliyah Casem, a guard for the Kapaa High School girls basketball team.

Casem was one of the players participating in the Dennis Agena and Kalakaua Basketball clinic that wrapped up Thursday at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa.

“We’ve been super busy with more than 70 students registered,” said Karen Matsumoto of the Kauai Youth Basketball Association who coordinated the clinic in partnership with the County of Kauai, Department of Parks and Recreation. “The majority of the students are from middle school and we have some high school students. We were afraid that with so many students traveling off-island during the spring break, we thought we would have had fewer participants. Instead, we have a lot of newcomers who have been able to take advantage of the clinic.”

Harry Kaneakua, a judo instructor in Hanapepe, brought his grandson to the clinic.

“My grandson and his friends play on the same team,” Kaneakua said. “This guy, Dennis Agena, is really good. He’s got the kids running, and I mean running, from the opening whistle until the last drill. He’s the general.”

Agena moved the clinic participants through the various drills in ball handling, passing, and shooting baskets, encouraging players with skills development rather than who they were playing with.

“You got to play with everyone,” Agena said. “You can’t be playing with your friends all the time.”

Jason Caldeira, Waimea High football coach, and Clyde Vito, Kauai High boys basketball coach, were among the spectator-participants.

“I came to check it out,” Caldeira said. “I know that when I was that age and we got help from someone like Coach Agena, it made a difference. What I like is seeing all these kids playing instead of buried in their cell phones and computers. They’re active, and playing.”

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