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Isaac Fotu
Isaac Fotu (NZL) University of Hawaii
NZL - FIBA 3x3 star Fotu shines for Hawaii

HONOLULU (NCAA/FIBA 3x3) - When New Zealand's Isaac Fotu walked off the court at the FIBA 3x3 World Youth Basketball Championship in Rimini, Italy 16 months ago, he was a hero.

The native of Torbay, Auckland, played inspirational basketball and helped his country capture the title.

His performance would not have surprised anyone back home, though.

There were big expectations for the 2.03m forward because even before that 3x3 event, New Zealand's men's team, the Tall Blacks, had already included him in their senior squad.

As a 17-year-old, Fotu played for the national side in the Stankovic Cup in Guangzhou, China.

Now a freshman with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in American college basketball, Fotu is putting all of his experience in the New Zealand shirt to good use.

He has started 13 of the team’s 18 games and averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 26.6 minutes.

For the Hawaii fans who didn't see Fotu's highlights from the 3x3 event in Rimini when he dazzled with spin moves, dunks and jump shots and also played tough-as-nails defense, they now know what sort of player they have.

"It's been a big step up from high school," Fotu said, "playing against stronger, more athletic guys here.

"But I think it's helped a lot playing for the national team, and playing against older guys back home, make the transition.

"But it's still tough.

"The game is faster over here. But I think it's been good."

His best game for Hawaii, at least statistically, was against Cal State Fullerton on 3 January, when Fotu played 35 minutes and had 29 points and nine boards.

All is well, it seems, for Fotu at Hawaii.

"The transition has been good," he said to the University of Hawaii Athletics website.

"Sometimes I feel homesick, but they look after me here and I feel good."


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