Business trip to Maui

The EA Sports Maui Invitational is a very exciting and fun experience for players as well as spectators. Many fans and parents come from all over the country to support their respective universities during a laid-back week vacation in Maui.

Unfortunately for the players, especially here at Chaminade, we do not have the free vacation that other people expect on the beautiful island of Maui. In fact our days with games are the most laid back that we get; every other day is filled with activity almost to the hour with basketball, film, community service, and activities provided by the tournament.

Team photo at the Hyatt hotel in mauiphoto by: Kawika Villa
Team photo at the Hyatt hotel in maui
photo by: Kawika Villa

Here is the first three days of the Maui experience from my perspective:

Saturday, 5:50 a.m. – The team meets outside the locker room. Everyone is on time because of the previous day when coach Eric Bovaird said, “If you aren’t loaded up by 6, then you’re catching a cab.” Needless to say as broke college students, the $70 cab ride left us with no option.

8 a.m. – The plane takes off with half the team immediately lifeless from the early morning and the other half can’t sleep because of the whirlwind activity we are excited for once the plane touches down.

9:20 a.m. – After waiting in full sweats in the hot Maui sun, the team vans finally show up to take us on the nearly hour long drive to the hotel.

10:10 a.m. – We get to the hotel and embrace the calm before the storm until we have to take off for practice and the rest of our day.

11:30 a.m. – We begin practice. Everyone has a little more pep in their step and claims it had to do to get ready for the game. Many others would argue we don’t usually have ESPN analysts and photographers watching our every move and that may have played a bigger factor to the energy.

1:30 p.m. – Directly after the two-hour practice, the team heads to the back of the arena for the Adidas Hoops Kids Clinic, meaning at the peak heat of the day after a two-hour practice the team has to entertain about 80 energetic kids for an hour. Most of the kids just want to interact with the players and could actually care less about basketball.

2:00 p.m. – Putting kids through a ball-control drill, 80 balls go flying into the air and the wind picks up. This leads to me almost running over two little kids as well as a little kid smacking a cameraman in the face and camera with a fully inflated rubber ball.

3:00 p.m. – We get back to the hotel and instead of everyone going around and seeing all the sights, the bed sucks everyone in and it leads to a majority of players knocked out, sleeping in the room.

5:30 p.m. – We take off for the players party, and as we arrive to the site, we take a team picture and once again realize that we are in a battle against giants as our Silverswords are by far the shortest team in the tournament.

7:00 p.m. – Tyree Harrison is up to represent to Swords in the video game competition, and all we can say is after the 30-point smacking he took his only comment was, “Madden was his game, and I never played.”

9:00 p.m. – Back to the hotel for a night of sleep.

Sunday 10:00 a.m. – Right after breakfast, there is film watching every aspect of what our first opponent, Baylor, does.

11:30 a.m. – Leave for practice.

2:00 p.m. – Get back to the hotel and take off to look around the island for the first time.

5:30 p.m. – Team meets for the players banquet .

Lee Bailey before the Maui Invitational banquetphoto by: AJ Matthew
Lee Bailey before the Maui Invitational banquet
photo by: AJ Matthew

5:45 p.m. – Kuany Kuany along with others’ mouths drop to the fire-eating fire dancers.

6:00 p.m. – We enter the banquet room and each team receives huge applause from the supporters of the respective schools.

6:15 p.m. – Jay Bilas cracks jokes on every coach at the banquet (including one about Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s death) … and continues the rest of the banquet.

7:00 p.m. – American teammates crack jokes on foreign players because of the military veteran that is sitting at our table stories.

Monday 9:30 a.m. – Another film review session for the game.

1:30 p.m. – Team meal.

2:30 p.m. – Leave for shoot-around then get mentally prepared for 4:30 tipoff.

4:30 p.m. – Tipoff against Baylor University.

6:45 p.m. – After a hard-fought 93-77 loss, we rush back to the hotel to watch the next game and scout since we know we play one of the teams in the next game.

9:30 p.m. – Lights out for bed.

As much fun and happiness that Maui brings to our school community, the long days are completely worth it and our team wouldn’t have it any other way.