By JC MOORE
Coach Steve Kaneshiki is no rookie when it comes to coaching women’s basketball. After a brief two year hiatus from his CCC coaching duties during which he was an assistant coach at Washington College in Maryland, Kaneshiki returns to the team that he coached from 2002-2005 with high expectations for his athletes.
The leading scorer from last year’s team, Jade Ferguson, returns along with fellow sophomore captains Kaitlyn Loftus and Melissa Dunckley. Kaneshiki understands that for his team to be successful he will need his returning players to contribute both on and off the court.
“The one thing I expect is leadership because they’ve been there,” said Coach Kaneshiki. “They know what to expect. All of these other teams want to win too. I’m expecting them to step up and lead this team.”
Having key returning players isn’t the only way to achieve victory. Kaneshiki also knows that he’s going to need his team to give their all every single play if they hope to be successful.
“I expect those kids to work as hard as they can every game,” he said. “I’ll be disappointed if they don’t, even if we win. In life, you can’t just coast. You have to work for everything you get and that’s the thing I’m trying to get across to them right now is that you have to work hard.”
With away games already scheduled in other states such as Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts, Kaneshiki has put his stamp on the program. He is a strong believer that if you are going to play college basketball, playing outside of the state is a great way to gain recognition. He also knows that these road trips are key for a team to come together.
“We just want to be a team. I’m trying to convey to them that everyone needs to shoot. Everyone needs to handle the ball. Everybody needs to work on defense. One person isn’t going to win a game for us. Everyone needs to keep doing what they’re doing, share the ball, and have fun.”
Kaneshiki hopes to get the women’s basketball program back to his earlier years when they posted an impressive 20-7 record. It took time to build that team, but the coach is positive that he can get his team back to that point. Until then, hard work and dedication to playing together is enough for him.
“They just need to understand that we need to work hard every minute,” Coach Kaneshiki stated. “One player relaxes on a play and we could lose by one point. They have to understand that you can’t relax on any play. Once they get that they’ll be fine.”
Even though the playoffs are definitely in the back of his mind, Kaneshiki is fine with taking each game as a separate obstacle. Improving on last year’s 3-13 record is the first order of business for this seasoned coach. After that, he hopes the team can move on to bigger and better things.
“Just work hard. That’s all I’m asking from these kids. After that, then we can start winning some games.”