University of Hawaii men’s basketball star Isaac Fotu released a statement Monday announcing his departure from the team and his intent to become a professional.
The all-conference forward, who has been deemed ineligible to play in games by UH pending the results of an NCAA investigation, decided not to play his junior season in Manoa under acting head coach Benjy Taylor.
Head coach Gib Arnold and assistant coach Brandyn Akana were fired by the university last Tuesday.
Fotu, of Auckland, New Zealand, was named an All-Big West first-team player his sophomore season after posting 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He was recently tabbed to the 2014-15 preseason all-conference team.
Fotu’s statement read:
“After much thought and discussions with my family, I have decided to forgo my last 2 years at UH, and pursue a professional basketball career.
“This was not an easy decision. I came to Hawaii to play for coach Gib and coach Akana, both were instrumental in me growing as both a person and basketball player. I believe this was going to (be the) best season yet.
“I’ve turned down opportunities to (turn) pro every summer because returning to Hawaii was an easy decision, but now, with the program headed in a different direction, I believe it’s time to chase the professional basketball dream, and hopefully help support my family.
“In regards to my ineligibility announced last week, which by the way had no bearing on my decision, I have hired an attorney to help clear my name, if and / or when any accusations are released by the NCAA.
“I thank all my teammates (brothers) at UH, and mostly the fans of Rainbow Warrior basketball. The people of Hawaii have welcomed me since the day I arrived, and all that aloha made my stay enjoyable. I enjoyed every minute I got to represent the University of Hawaii and I will look back at many wonderful memories.
“Aloha ‘oe, until we meet again!”