Avea, Hepa, and Desrosiers selected as team captains for Rainbow Warrior basketball team for 2021-22 season


The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team announced team captains for the 2021-22 season on Monday, with players voting seniors Samuta Avea and Jerome Desrosiers along with junior Samuta Avea.

Avea, who opted out of the 2020-21 season, he started all 25 games in 2019-20, ranking second on the team in scoring (10.8) and three-pointers made (39).

“Super special feeling. When they announced it, especially for it to be voted by the guys. It’s really a big honor and something that I’m not going to take lightly,” Avea told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.

The Kahuku graduate and former state champion shot 35 percent from behind the arc (39-112) and 83 percent (40-48) from the free throw line. Prior to being sidelined for five straight games, had at least one three-pointer in 16 of the first 18 contests and averaged 19.0 points in the final two games of the season.

“Grateful being here as long as I have, it’s something that really set the tone and so I’m really excited about it and it really means a lot,” said Avea.

Hepa, played three years at the University of Texas and appeared in 60 career games with 12 starts. He was part of the 2021 squad that won the Big 12 Tournament, earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked in the top 10. Also part of the Longhorns’ 2019 NIT championship squad 2020 Maui Invitational championship squad, Hepa scored a career-high 15 points on two occasions — vs. Oklahoma State as a sophomore and Kansas State as a junior. 

“It certainly means a lot to me, especially being a first year guy out here. I feel like I’m definitely capable of it, but it’s obviously going to take a team and I think we have the right guys and I think we have guys that are really easy to lead so it doesn’t really feel like a crazy responsibility. It just feels like a regular day and just going in there and doing what we do so I’m glad to have these guys behind me and I’m just ready to go forward with it,” said Hepa.

Desrosiers, played three seasons at Princeton University, he appeared in 82 career games for the Tigers with 29 starts. He Averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in his career. He shot 37 percent on threes (89-of-238) and 78 percent (52-of-67) on free throws. Did not play in 2020-21 due to the Ivy League canceling its season. In his last season of competition as a junior in 2019-20, played in 27 games, hitting 45.5 percent of his shots, including 37.5 percent from behind the arc. 

“I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t planning on being named captain obviously, but I think it shows a lot of trust from the guys towards me. Kamaka, and Muta, so it feels nice obviously. Like I said, it was a surprise to me when I found out, I’m really happy. I think I’m ready to lead the guys but it’s also easy to lead when you got great guys that can really put in the work and we all have that same goal to win,” said Desrosiers.

The Rainbow Warriors will face Chaminade in an exhibition on Monday, Nov. 1 before tipping off the season with Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic, Nov. 10, 11 and 13. UH will play in two other preseason tournaments – the Las Vegas Classic and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, before beginning its 20-game Big West schedule Dec. 30 against UC Davis.

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