The 2012 Maui Invitational

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Maurice Maggiolino

The Maui Invitational is one of the nation’s top-rated preseason college basketball tournaments. The tournament goes on Nov. 17-21. It is a privilege for Chaminade to host this tournament in Maui because some of the nation’s best teams come and compete. Last year’s championship game was decided between powerhouse schools Duke and Kansas. Kansas lost in last year’s national championship game as well.

This year’s bracket again includes powerhouse universities such as North Carolina, which is currently ranked-11th in the nation, and is a three-time Maui tournament champion. Texas, which is currently ranked 25th in the nation, could be without highly regarded point guard Myck Kabongo who is currently ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Butler was a back-to-back finalist in the national championship game in 2010 and 2011.

“I’m excited to represent Chaminade in this tournament,” senior Waly Coulibaly said. “Its my senior year go big or go home.”

Chaminade will face Texas in the first round this coming Monday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU. This year’s Chaminade team is led by four seniors, Waly Coulibaly, Dominique Cooks, DeAndre Haskins and Bennie Murray. Talented recruits like Rhys Murphy, Lee Bailey, and Kevin Hu will help the Silverswords.

This tournament also includes other great universities such as Illinois, a consistent competitor in the national championship bracket, and Marquette, which lost players to the NBA draft such as last years star, Jae Crowder, who now plays for the Dallas Mavericks.

Chaminade has hosted this tournament since 1984. It made a national headline when the swords beat top-ranked Virginia in 1982, which is considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of college basketball. The tournament was set up shortly after that victory.Since then it has been nothing but success because of the high-caliber programs  that choose to come and compete on an annual basis.

Chaminade has never won the tournament but does get the best preseason competition compared to any other Division II opponent it will face. After all, the point of the tournament is to prepare teams for the regular season. Even though Chaminade has never won the tournament, it has had recent success by taking down Princeton in 2007, and defeating Oklahoma in 2010.

The swords are heading into the tournament with confidence due to three victories in their last four games. New recruit Mike Green led Chaminade in scoring with 30 points in its home opening win against New Zealand. The swords have already managed to take down Saint Martins and Western Oregon as well. Balanced scoring from different members of the team have led the swords to their recent success.

“Our uptempo offense is key to this teams success,” assistant coach Darrell Matsui said. “Texas is a different animal compared to New Zealand and other opponents we’ve already faced.”

This years Chaminade team is led by four seniors, Waly Coulibaly, Dominique Cooks, DeAndre Haskins and Bennie Murray. Talented recruits like Rhys Murphy, Lee Bailey, Kevin Hu will help the Silverswords compete against opening round matchup Texas.