Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 |
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KAPAA — There were only three girls in the basketball clinic Thursday when Dennis Agena and Kalakaua Basketball wrapped up its fall break tour at the Bernice Hundley Gym on the Kapaa High School campus.
“This is just like practice,” said John Kaneholani, former Kapaa High School basketball coach and volunteer chef for the three-day clinic. “Coach Mits Yokotake should have had his junior varsity players come out. Coach Dennis Agena taught us some new things, too.”
The Thursday clinic was geared for students in grades nine through 12, a new format from previous Agena clinics. Monday and Tuesday, Agena focused his attention to the younger basketball players in grades five through eight.
Karen Matsumoto of the Kauai Youth Basketball Association said about 65 students, including 18 high school players took part in the three-day clinic sponsored by the KYBA and the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
“The admission for this clinic is beyond ridiculous,” said a parent of one of the Honolulu players who came to help Agena. “On Oahu, people pay between $350 to $400 to get into one of these clinics.”
Matsumoto said it is through volunteerism of people like Kaneholani, his basketball players, and the county that the program can stay affordable for students.
“The Kauai Bus scheduled a Special to accommodate the extra ridership from players,” Matsumoto said. “And people like Uncle John cooked lunch for all three days. The admission fee covers the living expenses for Coach Agena while he’s here.”
Kiarra Palacio has been attending the clinics for seven years.
“I’m a senior now,” said Palacio, who will be playing for Waimea High School under coach Natalie Mata. “I want to keep playing basketball — even past high school. This clinic has been good, and I’ve gotten some email inquiries from University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.”
That was an indication of how basketball players participating in the Agena clinic come off the floor as better people, not just better basketball players.
Agena got help from Oahu players Logan Tanaka, a junior varsity player from Kalani High School, and Tevin Cayetano, a McKinley High School varsity player who was involved in the state playoffs during the spring.
“Coach Agena looks forward to coming and working with the Kauai youth,” Matsumoto said. “He’s talking about doing this again during the spring break.”
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