Game Day at the Maui Invitational


Chaminade Athletics

Andre Arissol writes that his Maui Invitational experience made him feel like an NBA All-Star.

[Editor’s note: Andre Arissol is a staff writer with The Silversword. He scored 17 points against Kansas in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.]

I have played all over the world, in national championships, European championships, and various tournaments. However, there is nothing like playing the No. 4 team in the nation in one of the biggest stages in college basketball.

On Monday, we went up against the Kansas Jayhawks in our opening game of the Maui Invitational. Boy was that something.  Besides the 93-63 loss, I will never forget that game as it was one of the biggest experiences of my life. First off, the pregame respect made me feel like I was a 2-time all-star in the NBA: getting escorted to places, people asking for pictures, signing autographs, all the lavish luxuries Lebron gets I was pretty much receiving the same respect.

Then it came to game time. Besides the fact that Kansas somehow managed to fly out 2,000 fans over and pack the Civic Center gym out was beyond me. But being able to just go head to head with guys who are going to be in the NBA this year or next year was exactly why I chose Chaminade University.

We started off with a geat lead by 5, and hopes were high even though it was the first couple of minutes into the game, but Kansas’s size on the interior was just too much of an advantage for them. Their three 7-footers were nothing compared to our 6-6 Eliet Donley and our 6-7 Bill Awet. Even though we were outsized, I strongly believe we shown great promise against them, running hard in transition and hitting a lot of tough shots.

We all knew what this game would take, and we didn’t come out scared. Coach Bovaird had been preparing us for two weeks to play Kansas, but at the end of the day it’s about us and just getting the ball out there and play the game we love. It was everything I wanted. I wanted to put myself up against the best of the best and test myself to see where I really am at. It was a great eye-opener for me because I believe I am at that level.

Now we move on to UCLA (Tuesday at 12 p.m.), and I believe we have a real good chance of creating an upset if we take Monday’s lessons and play together as we know we can.