After two years playing for the UH-Manoa basketball team, former Hawaii state Player of the Year Kameron Ng is ready to make the hop over to UH-Hilo, where the point guard has signed to play after entering the NCAA transfer portal earlier in March.
Following a standout prep career at now-defunct St. Francis, where he was the consensus state Player of the Year in 2019, Ng played sparingly for the Rainbow Warriors for two seasons after walking on to the program. Although he isn’t harboring any ill will towards the program, he’s excited for the chance to show the ‘Bows what they missed out on.
“First off, I would like to thank everybody, the staff and the community at UH-Manoa just because they always showed me love from the first day even though I was a walk-on, and also for the guys who are still there,” Ng told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “It’s all love for me. I hope they still do good but at the end of the day, I’m still looking forward to that game at the Stan Sheriff Center, I can’t wait for that one.”
Ng started his freshman season in 2019-2020 as UH’s backup point guard but saw his role get diminished after Justin Webster returned from injury. He played just four games during the 2020-2021 season but opted out due to COVID-19 concerns.
At Hawaii-Hilo, Ng will join a team that enjoyed a breakout 2020-2021 season, as the Vulcans went 10-2 overall and barely missed out on an at-large bid for the NCAA Division II Tournament. Ng attributes his relationship with UHH head coach Kaniela Aiona as the deciding factor in choosing the school.
“Out of all the schools that were recruiting me when I went into the portal, coach Kaniela (Aiona) was the only head coach that reached out to me,” Ng says. “I was talking to a bunch of assistant coaches. Right from the start I built a great relationship with him and watching them play last season when they came down to Manoa, I just felt like they had a solid team, played freely and they just let their guys play and that’s something I want to go into and I really think I can take Hilo to the next level for sure.”
Ng is just one of five former Rainbow Warriors who left the team after the 2020-2021 season, joining Webster, Biwali Bayles, Justin Hemsley and James-Jean Marie. Ng is the first of the bunch to find a new team. By the time the 2021-2022 season rolls around, he hopes his rekindled excitement for the game will work to his advantage.
“It all comes back to the little kid in front of the house. When I play basketball, that’s what I like to think of, back in the days when I had my hoop up in front of the house and I was just having fun,” Ng says. “Anytime it gets too serious, I just think back to those days and that’s when I was playing my best basketball, having the best time of my life playing hoops, so that’s all it is.”