Welcome: Economou and Hunkin-Claytor

Incoming freshmen AJ Economou and Aaron Hunkin-Claytor signed their letters of intent last November and hope to add depth to the Warriors’ backcourt. (graphic courtesy UH Athletics)

The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team lost six seniors to graduation and Mor Seck to the transfer portal (Fresno State). But just as veteran players depart, new players arrive.

Prep guards Aaron Hunkin-Claytor and AJ Economou (E-kahn-oh-mo) signed their National Letter of Intent to join the Rainbow Warriors last November. 

Economou, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound shooting guard, actually enrolled at Manoa in the Spring semester and practiced with the team throughout the Big West Conference season after a post-graduate year at the Southern California Academy — one of the elite prep schools in the country.

In two years there, he competed with and against some of the nation’s top players and programs. Southern California Academy has been ranked Top 5 nationally among post-graduate schools, while sending nearly three dozen players to NCAA Division I schools in the past three years.

Economou previously attended Santa Monica (Calif.) High School. As a junior he was named to the All-California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 2A team, while leading his squad to the a league championship and a spot in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Economou, who has impressive athleticism and shot-making ability, also was an elite lacrosse player before deciding to concentrate on basketball. 

“AJ is a highly-skilled guard who can play multiple positions with his size and athletic ability,” UH coach Eran Ganot said. “He’s a gifted shooter and is a true two-way player that takes pride in guarding multiple positions. Playing at Southern California Academy has given him the opportunity to compete against and alongside some of the top competition in the country. We’re extremely excited to welcome AJ to Hawai’i.” 

It will be a homecoming for Hunkin-Claytor, a 6-3 point guard who grew up on O’ahu before spending the past two seasons in Northern California at Salesian College Prep (Richmond), the alma mater of recent UH all-conference guard JoVon McClanahan. As a junior, Hunkin-Claytor was named Tri-County Athletic League Rock MVP after leading Salesian to 26 wins and an undefeated record in conference play (10-0).

Prior to moving to the Mainland, Hunkin-Claytor was a standout at ‘Iolani School, earning a spot on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Fab 15 All-State team as a sophomore. Known for his versatility, ball handling, passing and defense, Hunkin-Claytor turned heads while playing for the San Francisco Rebels and Jalen Green Elite on the club circuit. 

“We’re excited to welcome Aaron to the Rainbow Warrior ‘ohana,” Ganot said. “He’s one of the top point guards and floor generals in California and comes out of a great program in Salesian High School. His play-making ability, along with his winning mindset, will be a great addition to our program’s culture. He has strong ties to Hawai’i and we’re excited to have Aaron return home.” 

Both freshmen have family basketball ties: Hunkin-Claytor’s father, Mario, played at UH Hilo and his sister Maya was a senior guard at Alcorn State. Economou’s father, Greg, played college basketball at UConn and professionally in Greece, while his older brother Rip played for Seattle. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Theme Blog Explorer by Kantipur Themes