Women in a league of their own
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
As the second-most prolific scorer in University of Hawai'i women's basketball history, Nani Cockett has never been afraid to take a shot.
It is no surprise that Cockett is one of the driving forces behind the NCAA-endorsed Hawai'i women's summer basketball league.
The league debuts June 17 at the Manoa Recreation Center, with games played Tuesday and Saturday nights through the end of July.
The league still is seeking more teams, players and sponsors. But "everything is on track," said Cockett, a Kamehameha Schools graduate who scored 1,866 points in a UH career that lasted through 1998. Sports Illustrated named her as one of Hawai'i's 50 best athletes of all time. She played professionally in Israel, Switzerland and Greece, and earned a berth on the Los Angeles Sparks' reserve squad.
Still, Cockett remembered the frustration of not being able to play high-level competition in Hawai'i during the offseason. The NCAA men's summer league is in its 30th year, but "there wasn't anything for female players coming back from college," Cockett said. "We felt we needed to do something."
Cockett and Kyla Evers, another former Rainbow Wahine, considered several models before approaching Nahaku Brown, a volleyball All-American for UH, and a certified basketball official.
Brown recalled telling Cockett: "I'll help. But this is your dream. You need to do this."
Cockett and Evers were part of a group that plotted the format and logistics. Brown forwarded the information to the NCAA, which gave its blessing. The league — officially known as D.One Women's Summer Basketball — is one of 50 that has the NCAA's stamp of approval.
"We're allowed to implement an inaugural year, and we'll see how it goes from there," said Brown, who serves as the league's vice president and NCAA compliance coordinator.
The league is open to women who are 2006 high school graduates and older. Players who have had professional experience need to receive clearance from the NCAA.
Brown said the games will be played with a running time and 30-second shot clock.
Brown said the league coincides coincidentally with the implementation of women's basketball at the NCAA Division II level locally.
"This is a good chance for college kids to work on their game," Cockett said.
COCKETT TO INSTRUCT AT SPEED/QUICKNESS CLINIC
Nani Cockett will be the featured instructor at Sunday's sessions of the Hawai'i Speed and Quickness clinic at the UH athletic complex.
Sessions are $10, and are scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday. Sessions are 8:30 to 10 a.m. for ages 7 to 12, and 10:30 a.m. to noon for those 13 and older.
For details, call 739-5444 or log on to: www.hawaiispeedandquickness.com.
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.