Iolani's Low repeats as ILH Player of Year
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Iolani's Derrick Low, right, focused more on providing leadership than shooting but still managed to average 15.6 points per game.
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Low, who was the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year in 2000 as a shooting guard, took over the point guard position this year and responded with an even better season.
His per-game scoring average increased from 15.5 to 15.6 per game despite focusing more on floor leadership than shooting. But it was other aspects of Low's game that impressed some coaches the most.
"He never gets tired," Punahou coach Greg Tacon said. "He plays the whole game at the same speed, the same pace. And he has a great 'team' personality. He seems to relate really well with all his teammates."
For all those things and more, Low repeated as ILH Player of the Year in a vote of league coaches. He is joined on the league's All-Star first team by teammates Bobby Webster and Bobby Nash, St. Louis' Jason Rivers, Punahou's Dane Uperesa and Kamehameha's Willie Melemai.
Webster, a 6-foot-1 senior, and Nash, a 6-6 junior, each averaged 12.6 points per game from their wing spots.
"Derrick was our most outstanding player, but Webster might have been our most valuable," Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi said. "He does so many things for us that can't be quantified."
Nash, who moved out to the perimeter from his post position last year, made a smooth transition similar to Low's.
"He was very happy being out there," Mugiishi said.
Rivers, a 6-1 junior guard, averaged 14.1 points per game.
"He's a phenomenal athlete who can shoot the '3' and guard almost anyone," Mugiishi said.
Uperesa, a 6-5, 300-pound senior forward who signed a letter of intent to play football for the University of Hawai'i next fall, averaged 12 points per game and was one of the ILH's most improved players.
"He did a real nice job with his rebounding and inside scoring," Mugiishi said. "He has good hands and he shoots the ball well."
Melemai, a 6-5 junior center, established himself as a force under the basket. He averaged 10 points per game.
"Melemai was tough," Mugiishi said. "He's strong and much-improved from last year."
Mugiishi, who guided Iolani to its second straight ILH crown, was named Coach of the Year.