BYUH Ale's destiny
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Kyle Sakamoto
Okesene "Junior" Ale was a high-energy Brigham Young-Hawai'i basketball fan as a youngster.
He flew paper airplanes onto the Cannon Activities Center court trying to win free pizzas during halftime.
And after games, "it was like a tradition," to run across the court to try and get wristbands from Seasiders players.
Nearly 10 years later, Ale is a freshman point guard on the BYU-Hawai'i basketball team.
The graduate of nearby Kahuku High School has started the past three games for the 6-1 Seasiders, and is averaging 6.9 points and 15 minutes per game. Ale scored a team-high 19 points in 17 minutes in a 93-69 victory over Oakland City (Ind.) on Nov. 18.
"He's a good defender, shoots the ball well and is good in the open court," Seasiders coach Ken Wagner said. "He's done a great job and, hopefully, he'll have a good year the whole year like I'm sure he will."
Wagner added: "He brings a lot of enthusiasm and is a lot of fun, which is good for team chemistry."
Wagner said he played with Ale's father, Okesene Sr., in local basketball tournaments when he was about 6 or 7. Wagner added he also knows all of Ale's uncles and aunts.
Ale said he attended all Seasider home games from age 7 through 9 with his parents and siblings.
He said he received two wristbands from Ionatana Enosa and one from Paulasi Matavao. They are his favorite former BYU-Hawai'i players.
"I'm familiar with this program and it feels great to be here on this team and play for coach Wagner," Ale said. "I know this is a good system and it's good to play in front of my home crowd."
Ale and his family moved to West Valley City, Utah, in 1997 and returned to the North Shore 5 1/2 years later, just in time for his freshman year at Kahuku High.
Last season, he averaged 23.5 points per game and was named to The Advertiser's All-State first team.
Ale, who is 6 feet 2, said he received interest from Utah State and BYU-Provo, but other programs dropped out after learning he planned to go on a mission for the Mormon church.
"Once they heard I was going to go on a two-year church mission it was kind of a decline," Ale said. "Like maybe you can walk-on because they didn't want you to go on a two-year mission and come back out of shape, you didn't play basketball for a while. Knowing this is a religious school, that they believe in that kind of stuff, I just came here."
Ale said he'll go on his mission after this season. As for now, he's enjoying his time here.
"It's like playing in high school," Ale said. "I like playing in front of my home people so I'm happy I made the decision to play here."
Reach Kyle Sakamoto at firstname.lastname@example.org.