Isaac Fotu isn’t coming back.
Most Hawaii fans have probably already come to that realization based on what’s already been reported here and elsewhere, but just in case anyone was holding out for a shred of hope that The Fro is returning … nope. He’s going pro.
UPDATE: Here is the breaking news of Fotu’s statement on going pro.
If you’re in denial, well, it’s understandable. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more well-liked and welcomed member of the Rainbow Warriors, both from within the team itself and without. His laid-back style and amiable personality instantly meshed with the islands upon his arrival from New Zealand in 2012. Wig Night (a.k.a. Fro Night) was one of the most popular game themes with the UH students. And, of course, there was the #PokeBowl phenomenon.
Over the last two years, his character was just about unassailable. That’s why the pending allegations of impermissible benefits (and ineligible status imposed, for now, by UH) are so hard for some to come to grips with. Could he have been a victim of unfortunate circumstance with the rest of the program coming apart at the seams? It’s hard to say — we don’t know exactly what happened yet.
I do know this: Just about anyone who’s coached him, played with him and spent time around him swears by him as a human being.
Among the coaching staff, Fotu was closest to Brandyn Akana. With Akana gone, that was one significant reason less for him to stick around. When Benjy Taylor revealed publicly Wednesday that Fotu is ineligible, his decision might not have been much of a decision at all.
It would have been nice to see what he could do with a year or two more of experience and development at the college level. Fotu wants to make the NBA someday. He’s got quite a way to go, but if his performance in the FIBA World Cup for New Zealand was any indication, he can already hang with some of the world’s best on one of the biggest stages.
Now, UH will attempt to press on without its fallen star.