HAWAII GROWN REPORT
COURTESY COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES
Iolani graduate Kyle Pape will play in front of friends and family in Hawaii for the first time.
Home for the holidays
Kyle Pape's trip home for Christmas is business as much as it is vacation.
The '04 Iolani graduate hasn't played in front of the hometown crowd since his 27-point effort helped the Raiders win the third of five consecutive state championships.
» Height: 6-0. Weight: 190
» Posiition: Guard
» High school: Iolani ('04)
» Stats: 19.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg
» Honors: 2008 Preseason all-RMAC East Division first-team, RMAC Freshman of the year, 2007 RMAC East Division second team
That will change this afternoon when the Colorado School of Mines junior takes the court at BYU-Hawaii when the Orediggers play Seattle Pacific at 2 p.m.
It's the first of two games Pape will play in front of family and friends. CSM also travels to Hawaii Pacific tomorrow for a game at 7:30 p.m.
"I'm not necessarily looking to put on a show or anything," Pape said. "I'm just playing two games and trying to win them."
Pape has been the show for the Orediggers all season long. He leads the team in scoring at just under 20 points a game and has had to carry a squad early in the season that features two seniors and nine freshmen on their roster.
"He's doing a great job for us," Colorado School of Mines coach Pryor Orser said. "He's back at the two-guard spot this year and obviously is looking to do more scoring."
The Orediggers, who are in the middle of a five-game road trip, arrived in Hawaii on Tuesday afternoon.
Pape has been busy showing his team around the island and says it's the first trip to Hawaii for all but "maybe two or three guys."
"They have been asking me questions every minute, especially how to pronounce things," Pape said. "I've been able to show them the culture and take them surfing and stuff, but they got pretty beaten up from the reef. They don't have the Hawaiian feet."
It's Pape's fourth trip home since going to college in the fall of '04. Usually he gets four or five days during the Christmas break to spend time with his family, but this year it comes as part of the basketball trip.
"This is pretty much my break," Pape said. "I've got to stay up there (next summer) and get an internship, so this is pretty much it."
Pape returned to his alma mater on Tuesday night and watched the Raiders defeat Ji Lin of China in the Iolani Classic.
It invoked memories of his days in the tournament playing against the likes of NBA players Josh Smith, Rajon Rondo and Aaron Brooks.
"It brought back chills," Pape said. "The place was packed. It was good to see everybody."
Part of the reason Pape decided to attend the Colorado School of Mines was because of its engineering program.
Academics have been just as important as athletics, and when Pape isn't busy on the basketball court, he's usually buried in one of his many different textbooks.
His high school education at Iolani adequately prepared him for college, but it's still a new experience.
"It's 10 times harder," he said.
Basketball hasn't seemed to present the same challenge. Pape wasted little time his freshman year becoming one of the team's top players. He led the team in scoring as a true freshman, and was second last year, despite being moved to point guard.
CSM runs a system that sort of mimics what the Raiders try to do. They have a lot of players who can play multiple positions and it isn't as rigid a system as many at the collegiate level.
"It's a motion offense where there's just a lot of picks and a lot of team-involved philosophies," Pape said. "We really don't run set plays. We just go out there and play and try to make plays just like at Iolani."
The similarities in styles are part of the reason Orser became enamored with Pape when he was recruiting him.
"He had been in a system that obviously complemented ours, and when I saw tape on him, I thought it'd be a sure fit right away," Orser said.
The Orediggers are 5-4 for the season and have lost leads in all four losses.
Because of the academic standards at CSM, they don't recruit junior college players. All of the incoming players are freshman and generally are starting from the beginning.
With nine of them on the team this year, Pape has had to become more of a leader than in previous seasons.
He isn't the type of guy who will scream and yell during practice, but won't shy away from offering advice when he sees fit.
"I'll point stuff out to some of the freshmen one-on-one when I see something," he said. "I feel like I'm in the same role I was in my senior year of high school."
If this season goes anything like that year did, the Orediggers are in for a special treat.
"When we shoot the ball well we can compete with everybody," Orser said. "Our system is unique and difficult to guard. And we have Kyle."