WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - UNCW freshman point guard Kai Toews’ journey from his home in Tokyo to playing basketball for the Seahawks is a long one, and not just in terms of miles.
Toews left Japan at 16 to play high school basketball in the United States and played his senior season at Northfield (Mass.) Mount Hermon.
“I didn’t have any Division I offers until late,” said Toews. “I didn’t think I would be a Division I player. There were times that I felt that coming over to the States was the wrong decision.”
It proved to be the right decision.
While still an assistant coach North Carolina, C.B. McGrath saw Toews play, and after taking over the UNCW program, he quickly offered Toews a scholarship.
“I knew he had skills,” McGrath said of Toews. “You have a lot of players that you see, and you hope you can get involved. But I was really hoping for what happened.”
Toews has made an impact since Day 1 with the Seahawks, starting all nine games this season, averaging 8.4 points and 7.0 assists per game.
“He’s feeling more and more comfortable being out there knowing what we want,” said McGrath.
Toews’ love of basketball comes from his father, who played professionally in Canada and Germany.
“My dad was a point guard, and he was a good passer,” Kai said of BT Toews. “I have always tried to work that stuff into my game cause at the end of the day, if I am not having fun, I don’t see a point in playing.
“I just want to win and have fun.”
Growing up, Toews battled his father on the court but struggled to come away with wins.
“Even after he retired when I was a kid, we would play one-on-one a lot,” Kai said. “He would beat me down every day, 11-0, 11-1. He would never let me win so the first time I beat him was a big moment for me because I knew he was always trying.”