Koloi joins Rainbow Wahine signing class

The Rainbow Wahine basketball program announced the signing of Keleah-Aiko Koloi today, making the Lahainaluna senior the seventh member of next season’s freshman class.

Koloi, a 6-foot-1 forward, played primarily in the post while helping the Lunas claim the MIL title each of her four years. Lahainaluna reached the state title game her sophomore and junior seasons and fell to Maryknoll in the semifinals of this year’s Division I state tournament despite Koloi’s 23-point, 13-rebound performance.

Koloi averaged 16.5 points and nine rebounds for the Lunas and was fourth in the Star-Advertiser’s Fab 15 voting this season. She closed her high school basketball career by averaging 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 66 percent (25-for-38) from the field in the state tournament.

Rob Collias of the Maui News reported Koloi’s signing, and UH announced her addition in a release today.

“It was really exciting,” Koloi said. “So much weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Koloi will be part of UH’s rebuilding project in the post following the losses of centers Kalei Adolpho, Connie Morris and Brianna Kennedy to graduation and forward Megan Huff’s decision to transfer. Forward Dalayna Sampton also will not return, UH coach Laura Beeman said.

“We have not had a rebuilding year in four years, and unfortunately because of transfers it’s going to become a rebuilding year for us,” Beeman said.

“With the loss of Dalayna and Megan, it will affect our height and experience in the post so we’re going to be very, very young and rely on freshmen heavily to get the job done for us.”

The Wahine secured commitments 6-3 center Taylor Donohue, 6-2 forward Makenna Woodfolk and 6-foot forward Amy Atwell in the fall signing period. Adrienne Darden, a 6-4 freshman, joined the team in the spring as a mid-year transfer and will be eligible to play after the fall semester.

Adolpho was one of the players Koloi said she looked up to in recent years and she’ll maintain an MIL presence on the UH roster.

Koloi said her father, Sione, set the foundation for her post game. The Lahainaluna coaches continued to refine those moves as did Mufi Hannemann, an uncle on her father’s side of the family. She played for Hannemann’s Team Aloha in the summer and also mentioned Aiea’s Rodney Cavaco for helping in her development.

Although her game is centered in the post, she didn’t stay rooted in the paint and Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard said her range extends to the 3-point line.

“(Her coaches) taught me to go out of my range, to go to the guard level,” Koloi said, ‘learn how to dribble, get out of my comfort zone, shoot from the outside.”

UH figures to have one of the youngest rosters in the Big West next season with one senior (guard Briana Harris), one junior (guard Sarah Toeaina) and three sophomores (point guard Olivia Crawford, forwards Leah and Lahni Salanoa) slated to be joined by the eight freshmen.

That said, it’s a group that will have a chance to grow together in the coming seasons.

“Of course there’s stress involved when you lose players that you’re expecting to come back and be impact players for you, but the excitement we have as a coaching staff is that we’re going to have a very solid core of young ladies playing with each other for the next two and three years. That’s very exciting for us,” Beeman said.

“We have confidence in these young ladies that we will be young but we’ve recruited good talent and we’re going to have to just work on the offensive and defensive ends to understand things a lot quicker than what we anticipated.”


  1. PBnJz May 18, 2016 1:16 am

    Wow…i knew Sampton and Huff were good friends and wondered how Megan’s departure would impact Dalayna. Bummer that she’s leaving, too.

  2. Kazu May 18, 2016 9:12 pm

    Can’t expect much in this years team as most of them are Freshmen’s. Still should be fun to watch.

  3. H-Man May 19, 2016 10:24 pm

    Read on the Hawaii Athletics’ web site that Laura Beeman has hired Sybil Dosty as a new assistant coach. At Seattle University she was responsible for developing post players and game strategies. This absolutely fits with this recruiting class where the new players range from 6-feet to 6-4.

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