Photo credit: Noah Tamura

Jeff “Wood” play basketball

March 14, 2016

Jeffrey Wood is a senior student here at Kalani High School that stands at 6 feet 8 inches . Jeff says that he loves being the tallest on campus because he can look above everyone and everyone knows him.  Jeff played basketball for the Falcons, with the jersey number 50.  Despite not getting a whole lot of playing time, Jeff managed to get 11 points through the regular season and postseason combined. Even if Jeff was not playing in the game, he was the heart of the bench. Jeff was constantly positive and supportive of his teammates whether they were losing or winning.

During any one of the games, you could see Jeff running to give high fives to his teammates when they were coming off of the court. Jeff stood up on the bench when his teammates were coming off the floor, and he was always the first one in the locker room at halftime.

Jeff’s personality has affected the whole team because is shows that on the court and off the court. Jared Ki, a sophomore center, says his favorite memory of Jeff was when he, “bought food for us.” According to Coach Davis, (Kalani High Varsity Boys Basketball Coach), Jeff’s role on the team was to be big as he could be, appreciate all the minutes that he had, and be a great teammate. Jeff’s character helped the team grow and develop into good chemistry with each other.

Jeff decided to join basketball during his junior year because Coach Davis approached Jeff to try out for the team just to see if Jeff would enjoy it and eventually he did. Coach Davis said, “Jeff has come such a long way in the game of basketball and Jeff will always help the team in anyway. Jeff is 200% better from the time he started basketball till now.”

Jeff never played basketball until his junior year at Kalani and decided to try out for the team when he was approached by Coach Davis. In fact, Jeff never played an organized sport in his life. Jeff trusted Coach Davis with him to teach him about playing and learning the game of basketball. As Jeff’s trust grew, he eventually got better and got more minutes on the court in his senior year compared to his junior year. When Jeff first stepped on the court, his thoughts were, “Am I going to be able to do what need to be done?” and “What is it I need to do?” Even though Jeff was hesitant to play basketball during his junior year, he was able to play with confidence and pride during his senior year. One of Jeff’s favorite moments in a Kalani High Jersey was when Kalani beat Farrington and broke the 10 game losing streak. They went on to play in the state tournament after the game.

When asked about his challenges on the court,  Jeff said it was learning how to put his hands up on defense,  something he still has a hard time with today. One of Coach Davis’s challenges of coaching Jeff was to teach him about the knowledge of the game, like explaining the rules of basketball. Coach Davis also had to turn Jeff into an athlete because Jeff was a gamer before he tried basketball, so Coach Davis and the rest of the team encouraged Jeff to make it easier for him.

Since Jeff is a senior, Jeff  was recognized at senior night which was the last home game at Kalani in the regular season and was also the night that Kalani honored the seniors, leis the seniors and were able to take their last shot on the home court. Jeff said that he was really sad on senior night because it was going to be the last home game in front of the crowd but was really excited to just have fun.

Since Jeff is a senior that means that his four-year journey here at the Kalani High School campus is about to close. Jeff says, “I’m going to miss everyone from Kalani because these are people I’ve been with since Kaimuki Middle and Liholiho Elementary School and will probably one of the last times we’re together.” But Jeff is going to start a new journey next school year at the University of Hawaii Manoa, studying to get a degree in computer science. One tip that Jeff gives to underclassmen in high school is “Have as much fun as you can, while you can, because high school goes fast. Also, grades are really important when applying to college and scholarships so don’t ditch and get good grades.”

We all wish Jeff good luck at the University of Hawaii-Manoa to get his degree in computer science, have a stable job, and have a bright  future. Thanks Jeff for all of the great memories  that you created at Kalani High School.

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    Matt WongMar 25, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Great article and photos, Noah! You’ve told a great story here; much more than what we see on the basketball court.