Swords felt honored, blessed at Maui Invitational

Swords+felt+honored%2C+blessed+at+Maui+Invitational

Gary and Careen Arakaki

De'Andre Haskins was named to the All-Tournament team at the Maui Invitational.

This Wednesday, the Chaminade University men’s basketball team lurked amongst the big dogs of the Maui Invitational and faced North Carolina. We knew that we had to come into the game ready and with a will to finish third in the tournament. We came into the game confident and filled with high hopes of beating an angry Tar Heels team after their devastating loss against Butler Bulldogs.

“We aren’t coming out there to sign autographs or to look up to UNC but to beat them,” said senior guard Bennie Murray before the game.

Playing in my last Maui tournament gave me an inspiration that can weather any storm this season. Even though the game wasn’t as close as we would’ve liked it to be, we played our hearts out as a team and found enjoyment in the moments that we’ve experienced as a team. North Carolina is a great Division I team that may finish at the top of the ACC, and I am blessed to be able to get a second chance at playing them.

Kevin Hu came through really big for us this year in this tournament giving our team lift after lift in each game with his intense play. Dominic Cooks and Waly Coulibaly kept their composure throughout the tournament and embraced their second Maui win in three years. Lee Bailey, Tyree Harrison and Mike Green earned a feeling that not to many Chaminade athlete players experience, and I’m sure that their drive and hard work will allow them to feel it again. Rhys Murphy and Murray showed the world what hard work does when talent doesn’t work hard.

It was amazing playing with these guys even though we had to battle through multiple tough times, and I hope that as the season goes along, we grow stronger, endure pain and overcome obstacles.

I’ve been blessed with an experience of a lifetime, because we only play college basketball once.

Playing against Texas, Illinois and North Carolina will push our team to another level of performing and instill a conquerer’s mindset. I am honored to be a part of the 2012 EA Sports Maui Invitational’s All-Tournament Team, and we can hang our hats on a fourth-place finish instead of a seventh- or eighth-place finish.

Now we have to show what we have taken from this tournament with a game against Dixie State at 7:30 p.m. in St. George, Utah, at Burns Arena on Dec. 3.

De’Andre Haskins is a senior on the Chaminade men’s basketball team and a staff writer for the Chaminade Silversword student newspaper. He filed stories throughout the week from the Maui Invitational.