Adieu to Fotu

Isaac Fotu appeared at Waikiki Elementary to read to keiki last month.
Isaac Fotu appeared at Waikiki Elementary to read to keiki last month.

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.


  1. Shoko November 3, 2014 1:16 pm

    Good luck, Fotu. Enjoyed watching you these few years, and thanks for being a Rainbow Warrior!

  2. Chicken Grease November 3, 2014 2:03 pm

    Ah, ‘sOK, especially under the circumstances. Time for Fotu to earn some mean cash, too!!!

    2nd Shoko’s “Good luck, Fotu”! You will be missed, bruddah!

  3. MHawaii November 3, 2014 2:09 pm

    Hey Fotu, Got any friends who want to go to college??

  4. Former UH Athlete November 3, 2014 2:15 pm

    From my warriorinsider post…

    I fully support Fotu’s decision to play pro ball amid UH’s continued mishandling of this situation. There’s no need to hold himself back and wait out an unknown suspension and to play for a dysfunctional university. I wish him the best of luck and hope to see him in NBA in 2015-16 (assuming all goes well in NZ this year). He’s got the skill set to play with the big boys.

    UH by all indications, will probably bungle Fotu’s suspension/reinstatement far worse than need be, plus there’s still the NCAA that’s probably going to tack on a few more game suspension if Fotu was reinstated.

    I really hope he makes the NBA 2015-16 because they don’t televise the Aussie League over here. Maybe there’s a pirate internet feed…

  5. poorboy November 3, 2014 2:50 pm

    Brian: might all leave..substance of truth or just speculation?
    I know it is their right however unless special waiver are some LOI guys locked in? Cannot transfer to another D1 school
    so much leaks rumor and speculation now
    hope best for Isaac great young man

  6. kahuna November 3, 2014 3:44 pm

    Team all might leave? I certainly hope the players are smarter than that. You are in the middle of the school year, where are they all going to go?? Most schools bball scholies are accounted for so its not like the kids can just leave and head off to another school.

    Also if you bail now, you will not be making progress toward your degree since you will leave in the middle of the semester. Those who leave now without finishing the semester will not be eligible to play since you will lose this semester by bailing out without finishing the year.

    The players are also at risk of giving up a free education and a chance to play D1 level basketball for what??? Some of our player are BW caliber players and will not even get a chance to play elsewhere in D1.

  7. Not an Expert November 3, 2014 3:46 pm

    Whomever handled this whole situation regarding the basketball program needs to go. Period Period Period. The cookie has been crumbling ever since.

    If Arnold is guilty so be it but the planning and the fallout on the decision maker lacks thought and shows incompetence of how his or her mind thinks.

  8. Not an Expert November 3, 2014 3:50 pm

    Was it vengeance on the part of this higher up?

  9. Joker November 3, 2014 3:51 pm

    Impermissable benefits? Funny, isn’t it, when you compare Fotu’s with those “permissable” benefits lavished profusely upon student atheletes at many “big time” schools like Oregon.

  10. Keepitrealq November 3, 2014 4:27 pm

    Dream on if you are expecting to see Fotu in the NBA for 2015-16 season. Former athlete but must not have been basketball. Great kid, developing skill set and potentially NBA talent down the line. He still needs work and I would love to see him make it but have my doubts. He can still make a good living playing a game though. Not many get to do that. Best of luck to him. Just another note, you can’t fire everyone at UH. last time I checked the NCAA is the one with the hammer. Ain is not choosing to take these actions because they had nothing else to do. Chill out, wait for the report, and enough of the speculation and super sleuthing.

  11. Keepitreal November 3, 2014 5:29 pm

    Yes, vengeance. A plot by UH admin to kill college athletics. Whole bb team quitting. And Ben Jay caught on tape talking with UH pres about his plan to end athletics. Made up violations so NCAA could step in with sanctions. Fire them all!! Oh woe is me. I wish we could just have Gib back and give him a blank check to do whatever he wants. Then all would be right withe world

  12. wildcard November 3, 2014 6:00 pm

    someone remind me why fotu was ineligible/suspended/whatever? is it because akana erred on the admissions thing? and what exactly was that including has to involve the ncaa (no clue at all) to be trippin?

  13. HawaiiMongoose November 3, 2014 6:03 pm

    Without knowing all the facts, one can only assume Isaac and his family made the decision they deemed best for his future, and wish him the best of luck. It’s unfortunate he will forego the free education he was entitled to as a scholarship athlete and won’t earn his degree. Hopefully his professional career will be successful enough that he won’t miss it.

  14. K-Bay November 3, 2014 7:49 pm

    Second the Well-Wishes, Isaac!

    Agree With All the NO-Confidence Votes for UH Upper Campus…
    It’s Beyond Stupid, Can’t Even “Joke” About It because of The Way it
    UN-Necessarily Hurts GOOD People — I’m a PAID Professional Problem Solver and There Is NOT Much Right with UH Admin…

    SO I Would Like to Personally Apologize to Isaac Because The People of Hawai’i ARE Responsible for (at least some) of that UH Admin Stupidity

    ISAAC & Fotu ‘Ohana (ALL) –You Brought Great Joy and Honor to The Program and Your Family Name — IT May Be a Little Difficult to Believe But i have NO Doubt Your Family Will ALWAYS be revered and Honored in Hawai’i — In 1-1/2 years — Two Too-Short Seasons 4-2’s Popularity is as High as ANY UH Athlete ever…

    YOU ARE LOVED in Hawai’i, Brother Isaac!

    AND Will Always Have A (Second) Home Here…

  15. Warrior Dog November 3, 2014 8:02 pm

    Isaac and Gib were the reason I was looking forward to go to basketball games. Both put on efforts in coaching and playing for which true basketball fans enjoyed. Ben Jay has only brought grief to our programs he should be the one to go as far as the new Chancellor he has shown he too really doesn’t have a clue on what to do probably is only a puppet for someone else. Too bad for Hawaii sport fans we will have nothing to watch for a long while.

  16. Thomas ip6 November 3, 2014 11:09 pm

    ahouse and kifi hell I go just because luncheon is good and company should be interesting.

  17. poorboy November 4, 2014 12:19 am

    Well, on the sports animals interview with Coach Taylor the remaining 14 guys are staying the course, Heavy support from their families, and their families wanting OUR support of the guys.. I mean, they still have athletes, NWC, Nevels , Smith, Mike Thomas, Aaron Valdes, Jovanovich the banger, Janks when eligible, Bobbitt, Fleming, Enos can shoot it, Stepteau can provide some speed, he has good form 3 ball shot, Jawato, can still be 3 ball streak shooter, Niko that floor general and D pest.. Zach Buscher, just a hard working 808 guy, he grinding too, one of the brothers, he and Dyrbe to show the new guys Hawaii, and Dyrbe good pal with Fotu..

    Parents, are telling the UH MBB fanbase, don’t give up on the guys… they are as frustrated as we are.. whether you were for or Against Gib,.. it still is fishy?
    If all of this termination, and finally Fotu want to pursue dreams pro hoops which is his right, however parting shots over the bow..Gib and Fotu want to clear their name.. I don’t think they would go public record statement, if when allegations come out, if ever, they did not think they could clear it.. I UH Admin, chancellor, AD is complicit… whoa the spit will hit the fan. and the thing is , with all the leaks, where is the confidentiality , All the Media talk guys, they spill the beans already, how come they not gagged.. I do not get it.. No Clue At All, and UH should have All the Clues to save their athletics teams, absolutely insane, Hawaiian da kine .. should really be interesting if UH has a case, or it is frivolous, I don’t know.. ? Who does?

  18. Keepitreal November 4, 2014 7:11 am

    Agreed. You have no clue

  19. d-watch November 4, 2014 7:39 am

    Issac….Good Luck in your future endeavors. You will ALWAYS have a fan club!!!
    It is unfortunate for the 50th State. We will Definitely miss your persona.

  20. Chicken Grease November 4, 2014 8:18 am

    Keepitrealq November 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Dream on if you are expecting to see Fotu in the NBA for 2015-16 season. Former athlete but must not have been basketball. Great kid, developing skill set and potentially NBA talent down the line.

    If you have basketball talent (you don’t sound like you do, Keepitrealq [emphasis added]), you don’t have to be in the NBA to make money. Foreign leagues? Duh.

    And Fotu’s a grown man. Hope his mustache and beard didn’t throw you off, duh, part II. he’s not a “kid” as you are characterizing him.

    Try to keep it more real, yeah? Duh, part III

  21. Keepitreal November 4, 2014 10:29 am

    Keep it coming Grease. You are brilliant! Glad to see you can count to three with the “duhs”. Even Roman numerals. Impressive! But I was responding to someone who said they looked forward to seeing Isaac in NBA next year. Not quite there yet but could be some day. Keep working. But I would be disappointed if you caught that. Maybe you shoulchange your moniker to “Scarecrow”

  22. Haolebob November 4, 2014 1:03 pm

    Fotu was a Great college player, but still needs to develop a much better middle and long range game if he truly aspires to the NBA. He will however, make a very good living as a pro player in any one of a dozen other pro BB leagues. His heart and desire will make him a Dennis Rodman type player on the international stage at least. I like, all Hawai’i fans, will miss his energy and drive, those qualities that endeared him to all of us. I wish him all the best and hope that he will continue his education to enable him to continue to grow. GO FOTU, and GO BOWS!!!

  23. Chicken Grease November 4, 2014 1:39 pm

    Keepitreal November 4, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Keep it coming Grease. You are brilliant! Glad to see you can count to three with the “duhs”. Even Roman numerals. Impressive! But I was responding to someone who said they looked forward to seeing Isaac in NBA next year. Not quite there yet but could be some day. Keep working. But I would be disappointed if you caught that. Maybe you shoulchange your moniker to “Scarecrow”

    Heh. You seem to be enjoying this much too much. There HAS to be a name for your condition. Go see your physician and let us know. Go vote, too (though, something tells me you’re not registered).

  24. Keepitreal November 4, 2014 2:35 pm

    Sorry to disappoint. Voted already just like every other election. Now can you get back to a somewhat sane discussion of basketball? Or does the “Scarecrow” need some help before he can answer intelligently? Keep it coming, Grease. I AM enjoying the repartee. Oops! Too big a word? Sorry. Will try to keep it to three letters or less (like duh). Don’t bail out now.

  25. Chicken Grease November 5, 2014 7:54 am

    Ah, very good, you voted. “Repartee”; wow. French fan, are you? That explains a lot. I see that you didn’t dispute the part about you having a condition too, so, heh, yeah, again, let us know once you find out. Not sure a Grease is able to adhere to the “Don’t bail out now” as that sounds too much like you want to, uh, get close to me, which I don’t want, to be obvious about it. Here, uh, have a Carpenters version instead (which you probably love already):

  26. Keepitreal November 5, 2014 9:40 am

    Excellent, Geease! Good one on the you tube link. Just got back from doctor and I have Ebola. Come sit by me at Thursday’s game and we can share a beer! You will be at the game, right? Or will you be at home sharpening that homophobic wit about the French and people getting close to you? That’s all right. Still enjoy the back and forth. Hopefully a teachable moment for you to let a little tolerance seep into that new brain the wizard provided. After tiday it is only basketball talk but will miss your astute insight into the game. C’mon now, all together, Go Bows!!!

  27. Brian McInnis November 5, 2014 10:59 am

    Hey people. Let’s tone it down a notch, shall we? Thanks much.

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