'Iolani's Chu turns pain into pleasure
by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
If there's an injury, Kainoa Chu has played through it.
There was an ACL tear at age 10 and a broken finger that caused him to tweak his shot earlier this season. And that's just a few of the many ailments he's had over the years.
Wearing a brace from his ACL injury, the senior guard hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left to lift 'Iolani past Kamehameha, 46-43, in last night's championship game of the Hawaiian Airlines Boys Basketball Division I State Championships at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"I think he's used to it," 'Iolani coach Dean Shimamoto said. "He's been banged up all different ways his entire life. He's been playing with injuries for a long, long time. This is normal for him."
Chu broke his left pinky during a Big Island preseason tournament against Kea'au in December. While driving to the hoop, his finger was caught in the arm hole of a player's jersey. The finger broke across and down the middle.
"I was going one way and he was going (another) and it went and snapped," Chu explained.
Like his other injuries, Chu taped it up and played on, though his game didn't continue as smoothly. He had just three points against Kamehameha during an early Interscholastic League of Honolulu game.
"It was harder for me to adjust," he said. "I didn't change my shot completely, but I had to tweak it a little so it wouldn't hurt."
Chu later sat out briefly when he hurt his left knee in a game. It's the same knee that developed tendinitis from running track last season. He never thought about stepping away from the game. When he hyperextended his knee during a basketball scrimmage at age 10, he took up golf for two years.
"I love this team, they're like my family and you play hard for your family and you make a lot sacrifices, and I was willing to do that," Chu said. "I was willing to do whatever it takes and now we're here."
There's no time to rest though. Chu plays his first volleyball match tomorrow, has another match on Tuesday, and then the team departs for a tournament in California.