Hawaii officially loses star player to professional basketball

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Hawaii’s star forward Isaac Fotu announced on Monday that he would be leaving the program and entering the NBA Draft.

Fotu averaged 14.9 points and 6.1 boards as a sophomore for the Rainbow Warriors. He was named to the preseason all-Big West team. But he also got caught up in the issues that cost head coach Gib Arnold his job and, last week, was ruled ineligible for the 2014-2015 season.

The native New Zealander thus decided that he would be better off by heading off to the professional ranks than to continue his education while sitting out.

The decision is not really a surprise, but it is a blow to the Hawaii program.

Here is his statement in full, via the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

After much thought and discussions with my family, I have decided to forgo my last 2 years at UH, and pursue a professional basketball career.

This was not an easy decision. I came to Hawaii to play for coach Gib and coach Akana, both were instrumental in me growing as both a person and basketball player. I believe this was going to (be the) best season yet.

I’ve turned down opportunities to (turn) pro every summer because returning to Hawaii was an easy decision, but now, with the program headed in a different direction, I believe it’s time to chase the professional basketball dream, and hopefully help support my family.

In regards to my ineligibility announced last week, which by the way had no bearing on my decision, I have hired an attorney to help clear my name, if and / or when any accusations are released by the NCAA.

I thank all my teammates (brothers) at UH, and mostly the fans of Rainbow Warrior basketball. The people of Hawaii have welcomed me since the day I arrived, and all that aloha made my stay enjoyable. I enjoyed every minute I got to represent the University of Hawaii and I will look back at many wonderful memories.

Aloha ‘oe, until we meet again!

Isaac Fotu

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