CUH Men’s Hoops Ready For Full Season

The 2019-2020 season was the last time the Chaminade University men’s basketball team played a full regular season. After a 5-7 finish during last year’s shortened season, playing against the Hawaii Pod of just the University of Hawaii-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade will officially be playing a full season once again due to the easing of Covid restrictions across the country.

The Swords are looking forward to playing a full 28-game regular season, including traveling to play against some of their California rivals like Point Loma and Azusa Pacific.

“I’m very excited to start a full season once again,” said Eric Bovaird, who has 151 wins, the second-most career victories as a head coach for Chaminade. “We didn’t know were we at during the summer surge here in Hawaii, and we started panicking again as to whether or not we would have an opportunity to play a full season this year. But we have a full slate of games coming up including the Maui Invitational, so I am just happy for our guys that we finally get to play a full season this year.”

The Swords were voted to finish fourth in the PacWest Conference behind Point Loma, Biola and Azusa Pacific in the preseason poll released in mid-October.

Chaminade opened its season against Division I men’s basketball team, University of Hawaii, in a closed exhibition match at the Stan Sherriff Center on Nov. 1. Chaminade kept it close for most of the game, but the Bows took the win as the final score was 72-60. Graduate student Zach Mclntire finished the game as the top scorer for Chaminade, scoring 12 points on 5 of 12 shooting. Meanwhile, Issac-Amaral-Artharee, who was the PacWest Freshman of the Year in 2019 and was voted to the Preseason All-PacWest team this fall, finished with just eight points.

The Swords hung tough with UH, even leading the Rainbow Warriors with 5:35 left to play. CUH was outrebounded just 42-41, which was a solid effort considering it was facing the bigger Division I athletes.

“I thought we were off to a slow start, and they jumped on us early,” Bovaird said. “Even what seemed as if we had to fight back most of the game, I was very pleased to see our guys keep fighting and didn’t give up towards the end of the game. At one point we had a lead, and we just couldn’t get anything going after that.”

According to Bovaird, this is one of his best-recruiting classes in the past 10 years coaching at Chaminade. There are four transfer students playing for the Swords this year, three of which came from Division I schools. Redshirt junior guard Raazhel Watkins is a transfer from Sacramento State, and redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Kremer is from the University of Utah. Also coming to this years Silverswords squad is redshirt freshman guard Jessiya Villa, who is also the grandson of previous Chaminade Athletic Director Bill Villa. The Kahuku native, was previously a member of the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team last year.

The Swords struggled in closing out games during last years Hawaii Pod season. From February 13 through March 1, the Swords lost five games straight by just a single-digit deficit. With new faces entering the program, including some who have Division I experience, Chaminade will look to seal the deal in closing out narrow games.

“I feel like this year’s team is going to do great things in the PacWest,” said forward Koby Young, who is from Kamehameha-Kapalama and is one of two players on the men’s basketball team from Hawaii. “Even though it was a tough loss [against Hawaii], I still believe that our guys tonight fought hard against Hawaii. And we are looking forward to improve our game as the season opener is just around the corner.”

The Swords will be start the season at home in the PacWest/GNAC Challenge. The first game of the tournament will be on Nov. 13 against Alaska Anchorage at McCabe Gym, and all fans — who must be fully vaccinated — are able to attend games now. Chaminade will then pack their bags and travel to the mainland where they will be participants in this years Maui Invitational, which was moved to Las Vegas due to Covid Restrictions prior to the start of the tournament.