Hawaii basketball receives pledge from Japanese forward

May 12—1/1

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Hawaii head coach Eran Ganot instructs his team on Oct. 20.

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An exhibition scrimmage in Japan last year blossomed into a 6-foot-7 forward's commitment to the University of Hawaii basketball team.

Roy Igwe said he will join the Rainbow Warriors on June 18.

Igwe, who was born and reared in Japan, is a 2023 graduate of St. Mary's International School in Tokyo. He spent the past academic year at St. Thomas More School, a college preparatory academy in Oakdale, Conn. He recovered from an ankle injury to move into the Chancellors' rotation this season, with prorated averages of nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per 40 minutes.

Last August, Igwe played on an amateur team that scrimmaged against UH during the 'Bows' exhibition tour in Japan. Igwe had 12 points and seven rebounds before suffering an ankle injury in the third quarter of that scrimmage.

"I think I impressed them there," Igwe said.

UH assistant coach Cody Kelley, who previously worked with the Chiba Jets, a premier pro team in Japan, had known about Igwe through his AAU coach.

Igwe said he received offers from schools on the East Coast. But he said Hawaii's closer proximity to Japan factored in his decision.

"And Hawaii having a really big Japanese population," Igwe added. "The coaching staff was really genuine, as well. I went on a visit last week. I talked to the whole coaching staff. They were very keen on having me. I didn't feel that kind of love from any other coaching staff. That was a factor. I fell in love with the island and the people. That's why I committed."

Igwe projects to compete as a wing-forward for the 'Bows. He is noted for his aggressive defense, mid-range accuracy, quick drives and two-handed finishes at the rim.

"I'm very physical," Igwe said.

Igwe said his father is Nigerian and his mother is Japanese. His parents met more than 20 years ago after his father moved to Japan for better employment opportunities. Igwe also is friends with UH forward Akira Jacobs, who grew up in Japan and California. "He put in a good word for me with the coaching staff," Igwe said.

Six seniors completed their UH eligibility in March. Mor Seck, a 7-foot-2 center who is recovering from an ACL injury, transferred to Fresno State. In December, UH signed guards AJ Economou, who joined the 'Bows at midseason, and Aaron Hunkin-Claytor. During the spring semester that ended on Friday, UH received commitments from 6-10, 275-pound center Tanner Christensen, who is transferring from Utah Tech, and former Houston Christian guard Marcus "MarMar" Greene.

>> UH basketball camps:

The 'Bows announced they will serve as host to three four-day youth basketball camps in June and August. The camps will be conducted at UH's Stan Sheriff Center and Gym 2.

>> The camps for ages 6-17 will be June 10-13 and June 24-27. For ages 6-13, the camp will be Aug. 5-8.

>> Each camp is $275 per student.

>> The UH coaches and select players will be the instructors.

For details, go to or contact Conor Glennon at 808-956-6501 or