By Stephen Tsai
Ipulasi Eselu, a rush end from Moanalua High, said he will accept a 2010 scholarship from the Warriors.
Eselu played outside linebacker last season. But after demonstrating agility and quickness at the recent Just Win Camp, he was moved to defensive end.
Eselu is 6 feet 2 and 200 pounds. But Moanalua coach Arnold Martinez said Eselu has the frame to comfortably gain more weight without sacrificing quickness.
"He has a very high football IQ," Martinez said.
His older brother, Savaii Eselu, is a tight end for California.
* * * * *
This is the 50th anniversary of statehood, and what could be better?
Well, for David Kawika Hallums, it was UH's 77-73 basketball victory over BYU in Provo in 1989.
During the celebration at the hotel, Hallums told The Advertiser the upset was "better than statehood."
Twenty years later, Hallums and his wife, Annette, and brother-in-law, John Almarez, run Ho‘okipa Enterprises, an executive driving/security company. But fans still remember his emotional description of that victory over BYU.
Behind the story ...
"To be honest, all I thought about was the significance of the rivalry. Reggie (Cross) didn't understand what the big rivalry was about. He didn't know about the heartbreaks UH suffered (against BYU) in all of the sports we played. It was deep. I was at all of the football games. ... After we won, I was like, dang, what was the biggest thing to come to my mind? I knew what statehood was. That feeling is what I wanted to compare (the victory) to; to beat BYU felt that huge. A lot of people told me, 'You weren't even born yet when Hawai‘i became a state.' But it was natural for those words to come out. That's how deep the rivalry was."
In hindsight ...
"I remember it like it was yesterday. BYU always has good players. Plus, they're just a bunch of good guys. It was hard to talk trash with them. They would say, 'great job,' and 'good luck the rest of the season.' They're a hated team, but the players themselves were all classy individuals. Maybe it's because they're more mature. They were 30 at the time. Nah, nah."
As a two-sport athlete at Pearl City High, Hallums led the OIA in passing in football and scoring in basketball.
"I think I led the league in minus-yards rushing. I got sacked about 20 times a game."
Still, he was recruited by UH football coach Dick Tomey. Quarterback Raphel Cherry was his host.
"I didn't (pursue football) because of my weight-lifting inadequacy. I thought I would get crushed. I didn't take it seriously. ... That was one of my few regrets. I didn't see my full potential (in football)."
Hallums played basketball at BYU-Hawai‘i, then decided to transfer to UH. The summer before enrolling at UH, he attended a basketball clinic in Provo. While there, he tried out for the BYU football team.
"I ended up making the team. My name was on the list, even though I wasn't technically enrolled in school. And i was scheduled to go back to UH. ... Maybe I could have been the first black quarterback up there. It was a great experience."
Hallums capped his UH career with a memorable senior dunk.
"I give all of the credit to Doug Stewart. He played with me at BYU-Hawai‘i. He had all of these dunks. He could make them off a straight vertical jump. I had to take a running start. He had one of these dunks where he grabbed the side of the backboard, pulled himself up and dunked. He did it in the BYU-Hawai‘i gym. That's where I saw it. No one knew about that dunk at UH. They didn't have a clue. I thought they would trip (if they saw it). The day before Senior Night, I kept practicing. (For Senior Night) I grabbed the side of the backboard, dunked and kissed the backboard. You have to grab the backboard (with the left hand), dunk, and then hold on to the rim (with the right hand). You have to pull yourself up, just for effect. Back then it was easy to pull myself up. I was in good shape, maybe 175. Then you kiss the box. Then you have to stare at everyone. Then come back down. I've got to thank my man Doug Stewart for coming up with that one."