Pacific West Conference (Pac West) – NCAA
Marko Kolaric, Sr. C (7-0, 245)
Stewart Kussler, Sr. F (6-5, 215)
Dan Wendt, Sr. F (6-7, 220)
Hayden Heiber, Sr. G (6-2, 190)
Mike Green, Sr. G (6-1, 185)
Key Substitutions: LaMarr Hunt, Jr. G (6-1, 205)
Chaminade University of Honolulu is a small Division II school, with last year's undergraduate enrollment topping out at 1182 students. But what the university lacks in size it certainly makes up for in location. Chaminade is situated in downtown Honolulu, a mere two miles from Waikiki Beach.
The school has Marianist Catholic affiliations, similar to the University of Dayton, and is named after the movement's founder, Fr. William Joseph Chaminade. Founded as St. Louis Junior College in 1955, it quickly grew into a full graduate institution and graduated its first four-year class the same year Hawaii attained statehood. Like Marquette, its mission is built around a liberal arts education and community service. Chaminade was also the first private college in Honolulu to offer adult education classes. That demographic currently makes up a little over a quarter of the university's total enrollment.
This will be the 24th year that Chaminade will host the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The tournament began the year after Chaminade shocked the nation as the only Division II basketball program to ever knock off the #1 team in the country. On December 23, 1982, the Silverswords beat Virginia 77-72.
Last year, Chaminade finished with a 16-11 record, and the 8-7 mark in the Pac West was good for third place. Chaminade was also picked to finish third in the league this year by the coaches. This year's version of the Silverswords is a veteran group. The team returns six seniors with game experience from last year. Their entire roster features only one underclassman.
"They are very experienced and we know its going to be a really, really tough battle right out of the gate," said Marquette head coach Tom Crean.
The Silverswords lose a Division II All-American and runner up for last year's Cousy Award in guard Zach Whiting. Whiting, who averaged 20.7 point, 10.7 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game his senior season, will play in Europe for the Bayer (Germany) Giants this year.
"We're going to have to try and shift our concentration to more of a post-oriented team," head coach Matt Mahar said on playing without Whiting. "We have good guards coming in, but none of them have stepped up and shown us right now that they are the guyand kind of lead us the right way. So we are going to rely definitely on our seniors, and especially Marko Kolaric and Stu Kussler, to try and help us find our identity right now."
Kolaric, a senior center from Novi Sad, Serbia, is an Honorable Mention Preseason All-American. He averaged 11.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest last year while shooting 48 percent from the field.
Kussler, a senior forward, was an all-conference performer last season, averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Guard Hayden Heiber is expected to contribute as well.
"Hayden Heiber is going to play a little bit longer, a little bit stronger for us this year, and we're looking for good things out of him," said Mahar.
Even though the tournament will take place on a different tournament than Chaminade's campus, look for the Silverswords to have a good student presence for the opening game. The university offers discounted ticket rates and a charter plane for any students interested in attending. And those who show up will get plenty of exposure, as the ESPN networks are broadcasting every tournament game.
"It's really exciting for our university to be able to showcase ourselves like that on a national stage," said Mahar.
Marquette and Chaminade tip off Monday at 9:30 a.m. Hawaii Time at the Lahaina Civic Center.