However, Stanford's hard luck seemed to take a turn for the better with the signing of current freshman outside hitter and setter Kawika Shoji from Iolani High School in Honolulu. Kawika is the son of Dave Shoji, the famed head coach of the University of Hawaii's women's team.
has been a good coach and a good dad," Kawika
gives me pointers when I need them.He
has been very encouraging and positive and helpful."
volleyball pedigree, Kawika
didn't devote all of his
time to volleyball.He
played basketball and golf in high school as well. His
mother, Mary is a former basketball player for Hawaii, and inspired Kawika's basketball game.The 2006 Hawaii Player of the Year in basketball, he
helped lead his
team to three consecutive state championships, making five in a row for Iolani
Any other state Player of the Year would probably be arrogant or boastful.But Kawika
insists that there were plenty of other basketball players as good as or better than him and that he
was granted the award by default because of his
team's state championship.
"[Kawika has] a really good leadership quality," said sophomore middle blocker Brandon Williams.
experience in all three sports with making him the kind of player he
is on the court.
"Golf helped me become mentally stronger for my other sports," said Kawika
, who had a 75 average and was ranked in the top ten of his
high school league."You need that mental toughness to play all sports."Despite Stanford losing all three of its matches at the Elephant Bar Invitational this past weekend, Kawika proved to be a superior competitor and strong team leader in his first games as a college player.Kawika got his start as a setter at ten years old with the Outrigger Canoe club team, where he played through high school.
Founded and coached by his
father during the offseason of the women's college schedule, the club became a beacon for high level players.
..."Kawika was kind of the ringleader of that whole group," explained assistant coach Ken Shibuya.
They all played together even though they went to different high schools ... Kawika
is such a charismatic leader.Once he
made a choice to attend school here, they all tended to follow the leader."
"We grew up playing on the same team," said Kawika