HPU, Chaminade men add basketball recruits
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i Pacific and Chaminade have come a few players closer including each signing a brother to rounding out their men's basketball rosters for next season.
Dante Sykes from Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif., signed a letter of intent to play for the Sea Warriors. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound guard from San Jose, Calif., is an aggressive shooter who, according to head coach Russell Dung, will fit nicely into HPU's offensive scheme.
"He's very intense and aggressive," Dung said. "He's a good open-floor player."
Dante's younger brother, Bryon, has signed a letter of intent to play for Chaminade.
Losing the quick-shooting tandem of Nick Spajic and Nash Subotic, Dante Sykes will have to quarterback the transition game for HPU. Dung expects to increase the tempo on offense, and Sykes' ball-handling skills will be key to running a faster game.
This is the third recruit to sign with HPU, which had earlier secured written commitments from forward Mike Baron and guard Albert Tecul Real.
Bryon Sykes, a 6-1, 175-pound guard from San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., averaged seven points, four assists and three rebounds per game last season. He will most likely play point for the Silverswords.
"He's not as aggressive as Dante," Chaminade head coach Aaron Griess said. "But that's why we like him. We have enough of that."
Sykes' San Joaquin teammate, Mike Ross, will also play for Chaminade. The 6-9, 210-pound forward-center from Elk Grove, Calif., averaged 11 points and seven boards per game last season, despite missing half of the games due to injury.
Roy Stigall, a 6-1, 170-pound guard from American River College in Sacramento, Calif., has also signed with the Silverswords. He averaged 14.2 points, 6.6 assists and three steals per game last season. Among California junior colleges, Stigall was eighth in assists and ninth in steals. He also shot 40 percent from 3-point range.
Jason Walters rounds out Chaminade's recruiting class. Though the 6-5, 210-pound wing from Marshalltown Community College in Iowa didn't play last season, he recorded 12 points and six rebounds per game the year before.
With two returning players from San Joaquin Delta College, Griess figures Sykes and Ross will fit in.
"I assume they'll play very well together," he said. "We had been recruiting players who were better individual players, but these guys are here because they know what it takes to win and will fit into the team system."
It wasn't the draw either team was looking for.
Should both Brigham Young University and Hawai'i Pacific win their matches today, they will have to face each other in the quarterfinals of the NCAA II Men's Tennis Championships in Kansas City, Mo.
So the dream of an all-Hawai'i final will remain just that.
"We knew we'd play somebody strong in the second round," BYUH coach David Porter said. "But it's disappointing that there won't be a final matchup (between BYUH and HPU)."
Top-ranked BYUH (24-1) will face Assumption (20-5) today in the 16-team tournament. HPU (14-2) will have to get past Colorado School of Mines (21-5) to advance.
"They're solid at the top, we know that," Porter said about Assumption. "And they're very competitive. We hope they're not as deep as they are strong at the top."
At yesterday's awards banquet, three BYUH players took regional and national honors. Freshman Jan Krejci won the men's Division II National and West Region Rookie of the Year awards. Freshman Adrienn Hegedus earned the women's West Region Rookie of the Year. And senior Petra Gaspar won the women's National and West Region Senior Player of the Year awards. Porter took home West Region Coach of the Year honors for both men's and women's teams.
The BYUH women (25-0) will face Northern Michigan (20-3) today in the first round.
It's a good thing the University of Hawai'i-Hilo doesn't have a track and field team.
Otherwise its softball program would have had to fight for Natalie Fujimoto, a three-time all-league catcher and three-time shot put champion from Punahou School.
Fujimoto has signed a letter of intent to play softball for the Vulcans.
A four-year starter with the Buffanblu, Fujimoto earned second-team All-State honors after batting .310 this past season. In her junior year, in which she batted .392, she received honorable mention honors.
"She's got a lot of determination and good defensive skills," head coach Callen Perreira said. "She's a strong girl who I know will blossom at the collegiate level. And she's a power hitter as well."
Fujimoto also set an Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship meet record in the shot put with a mark of 43 feet, breaking a 25-year-old record. She also won the discus event with a throw of 117 feet, 9 inches.
Right-handed pitcher Sara Steele from Corona, Calif., also signed with the Vulcans.
"She throws very well and is a really good competitor," Perreira said. "She knows the game very well."
Despite the good news about recruits, Perreira isn't happy about Hilo not being invited to the NCAA II West Regional, hosted by UC Davis.
With a 38-19 record (23-13 in the West Region), Hilo finished seventh in the polls, one slot short of a berth in the tournament.
"It's just frustrating," Perreira said.
Hilo has never made it to the regionals, even in 1998 when it posted its best record at 39-15.