Portland point guard Marcus Shaver’s hoop dreams were fostered in the Stan Sheriff Center.
Each summer, Shaver attended the University of Hawaii basketball camps, where he would hone the skills that eventually led to his berth on the past season’s West Coast Conference’s All-Freshman first team.
It will be a homecoming for Shaver, who lived in Hawaii through the eighth grade, when the Pilots play the Rainbow Warriors in today’s opening round of the 54th Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic at the SSC.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The tournament opens with Humboldt State against North Texas at 4:30 p.m.
“It should be fun,” Shaver said. “I’ll be playing in front of all my family and friends who hadn’t had a chance to see me play in a while.”
Shaver moved to the mainland for the start of high school. His stepfather, who owns an air-duct-cleaning business, travels between Portland and Hawaii several times a year. His grandparents and several relatives also live on Oahu.
“My grandma mails me food,” said Shaver, who has maintained an appetite for kalua pig.
Shaver opted to sign with Portland instead of accepting a scholarship offer from the ’Bows. He also is hopeful of joining UP’s Hawaii Club.
“I hang out with all the people from Hawaii,” he said.
It was the Pilots’ plans — invitations to this year’s Rainbow Classic and next year’s Diamond Head Classic — that were used in recruiting pitches to 6-10 post player Hugh Hogland, an ‘Iolani School graduate.
“They actually pitched this to me: ‘Hey, we’re going to Hawaii your sophomore and junior years,’ ” Hogland said. “ ‘You get to come back to see all your family and friends. You’re not completely leaving the island. You get back to see everyone.’ ”
After de-committing from UC Santa Barbara, Hogland signed with Portland.
“I loved the facilities, loved the school,” said Hogland, who bonded with Portland head coach Terry Porter. “I felt it was a really good fit for me.
“UCSB, it was more like a coach fit. But UP had the coach and the school. And it had my choice of major, which was finance. Instead of getting one aspect, I got both.”
Hogland redshirted as a freshman last season, but he is counted on to be in the rotation this year. Hogland said Porter’s coaching style is a mix of discipline and encouragement.
Porter’s influences were absorbed during a 17-year NBA career during which he played for legendary coaches Jack Ramsay, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Rick Adelman and Flip Saunders. Porter also was head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.
“I’ve been so blessed to be coached by some of the greats and to watch how they teach and how they coach,” Porter said. “You learn a little bit from each coach. … There are some common things. The expectations. They’re very demanding yet they’re very fair. They expect you to sacrifice in regards to that. And they hold you accountable to what you have to do on a day-to-day basis to reach greatness.”
On Popovich, who led the San Antonio Spurs to five NBA titles, Porter said: “Pop is like his background — military — so he’s very demanding. But he’s fair. He expects a lot of great execution. He expects you to be a team, expects you to sacrifice for your buddy, and everything is about ‘we’ not ‘I.’ That was the one thing that was so special about him.”
Porter said he is enjoying college coaching. His two sons play for the Pilots.
“You get that energy from all these young kids,” Porter said. “It’s awesome. The kids are so receptive to everything. They want to learn and be the best they can be. It’s great to be able to teach them and talk about my personal experiences and journey.”
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