Westside Hoops working to send Lahaina students to college
WEST MAUI – Westside Hoops currently has more than 40 young men practicing basketball, lifting weights, conditioning, shooting and, most importantly, studying to prepare for life after high school.
Westside Hoops’ latest success story, Lahainaluna High School graduate Ryan Madera, left Maui in August to attend San Diego City College.
Thanks to support and backing from the Lahaina community, Westside Hoops and his family both here in Hawaii and on the Mainland, he will attend school and have an opportunity to compete on SDCC’s basketball team, the Knights.
Going to college on a full scholarship and majoring in engineering, Madera is one of four Lahainaluna basketball players to have the opportunity to play at the next level and fulfill a dream of a college diploma.
“It’s a new experience and I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said.
Madera finished high school with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5, which helped him earn some extra money from the school.
When asked what Madera will bring to the team next year, Lahainaluna High School varsity basketball coach Jason Justus said, “What Ryan will bring to the next level is his leadership – hard work – and his determination to win at all costs, even sacrificing his own body.
“He is not so much a verbal leader, but the way he conducts himself on and off the court is nothing but contagious. His teammates will love playing with him because of how hard he works and because of his calmness. He never plays out of his game and tries to do things he isn’t good at. He is a very consistent player that will be an immediate impact at the next level. We wish him luck and can’t wait to see his future grow.”
Dan Williams, founder and director of Westside Hoops, a nonprofit focusing on creating opportunities for West Maui youth through basketball, said, “Ryan Madera went through his Lahainaluna career as steady a young man as there ever has been; very work-oriented and with great character. These attributes are what will make him successful not just at school but in life. He has many nicknames, but the one I think describes him best is ‘Steady Eddie.'”
Madera joined Westside Hoops as a seventh-grader. “Westside Hoops and the Lahaina community have prepared me by giving me opportunities to travel and play against the top programs in California. They also help promote good study habits. The community also shows support by coming to cheer us on when we play,” he said.
The Maui Hotel and Lodging Association gave Westside Hoops the opportunity to fundraise at the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk. The Lahaina group raised $36,026 as an organization and received a check for $43,952, which will be used to help students attend college.
Visit www.westsidehoopsmaui.com for more information on students in the program, how to make donations and upcoming volunteer opportunities, including the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in November. For more information on Westside Hoops, call Williams at (808) 276-0260.