JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Six-foot-8 sophomore forward Adhar Mayen will be one of eight newcomers for Hawaii in tonight's Twilight Ohana.
Life journey continues for Mayen
STORY SUMMARY »
Adhar Mayen came a long way to join the Hawaii basketball program.
Mayen was 6 when his family moved to the U.S. from Sudan and he grew up in Pflugerville, Texas, where he developed as a student and a basketball prospect.
He thought he might continue his career closer to home, getting a look from Texas Tech early on. He attended Hill Junior College and was an all-conference pick after averaging 13.7 points and 9.2 rebounds as a freshman. To his surprise, Hawaii offered a scholarship and he signed with the Rainbow Warriors as part of rookie coach Bob Nash's first recruiting class.
The lean 6-foot-8 sophomore forward will be among the Hawaii newcomers making their introductions tonight when the Rainbow Warriors officially open practice at Twilight Ohana.
The festivities start at 7 p.m. with an hour-long autograph session on the court. The teams will be introduced at 8.
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Adhar Mayen doesn't remember much of his homeland.
He was just 6 when his family left Sudan, then torn by a civil war, 12 years ago.
They settled in Texas where Adhar and his older sisters were free to grow up in peace. Along the way he took up basketball, which would emerge as a path to a college education and eventually carry him on another lengthy journey.
"This is about as far as you can go," Mayen said as he looked ahead to starting his career with the Hawaii basketball team tonight.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward is among eight Rainbow Warrior newcomers making their introductions to UH fans at Twilight Ohana, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Mayen was born in Khartoum, Sudan, but came to UH via Pflugerville, Texas -- a small town just north of Austin -- where he earned all-star honors as a high schooler and as a freshman at Hill College.
As an academic qualifier out of high school, Mayen was eligible to transfer to a Division I school following his freshman year during which he averaged 13.7 points and 9.2 rebounds last season. He chose to pursue his education and playing career at Hawaii, and embraced being part of a diverse Rainbow roster upon his arrival on campus this summer.
"It was cool meeting different people from different places," Mayen said. "We've got somebody from Toronto, somebody from Oklahoma, somebody from China, so it's been a cool experience."
He joined the rest of the Rainbow roster in attending summer school and participating in an early-morning training program. The players regularly showed up at the weight room at 7 a.m., with Mayen working to add strength to a lean 195-pound frame, and got to know each other in afternoon pick-up games.
Mayen primarily played power forward in junior college, but his versatility is part of what led the Rainbow coaches to offer him a scholarship as part of UH coach Bob Nash's first recruiting class.
As Mayen continues to develop, Nash foresees him being able to contribute anywhere from shooting guard to power forward.
"He fits the things we want to do as far as bringing in guys who can play multiple positions," Nash said. "I think he's a guy as he continues to get stronger can step in and contribute right away."
Mayen's appreciation of his opportunity to play college basketball while continuing his education is rooted in his upbringing.
"Any time a person turns out good, you have to look at his family. His family set a high standard," Nash said. "When he's in the gym, he works hard at becoming a better player, and he's equally diligent at becoming a good person."
Though his memories of childhood in Sudan are few, Mayen, who plans to pursue a business degree at UH, does recall the sacrifices the move required.
"It was hard on my mom trying to save up, working four jobs trying to get us out here," Mayen said.
His father, Archangelo Mayen, had moved to Texas ahead of the family and has since returned to Sudan to work with the effort to unify the country.
With recent reports warning of tensions arising again, Adhar keeps in touch with his father over the phone while keeping an eye on developments in the region.
"It's kind of tough," he said of potentially having his father in harm's way.
"But it's something he really wants."
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