Chasing a Dream
Chase Iwata–Bartelme hopes to bring some attention to Hawaiian hoops.
by Sam Riches / @sam_riches
Red Rocha. Cedric Ceballos. That’s it. Those are the only two men to ever take their feet from the sandy beaches of Hawaii to the gleaming hardwood of the NBA. Chase Iwata-Bartelme is hoping to become the third.
At just 14, the 6-0 2-guard is starting and leading the attack for the King Kekaulike (HI) High School varsity team. “I try my best to be a leader, I make sure that I am constantly talking and encouraging my teammates as well as letting them know what is going on in the game,” he says. “I focus on each opponent I face and try to find their weaknesses so that I can use the best of my abilities to execute them.”
It’s that determined focus that Chase is hoping will propel him the next level. He has set his goals high, citing the court awareness of Derrick Rose, the passing of Rajon Rondo and the closing ability of Kobe Bryant to be some examples of the talent he hopes to emulate.
Iwata-Bartelme views his ability to finish around the basket and his on-ball defense to be the strengths of his game, but he knows he has a long way to go to take the next step. His ultimate goal “is to become the greatest basketball player to come out of Hawaii.”
Before he does that though, Chase is hoping to bring King Keaulike a state championship and garner some attention to Hawaii basketball. But he knows he can’t do it alone. “I believe in teamwork,” he says. “And going 110 percent through the entire game.”
Off the court, he carries the same dedication and work ethic into the classroom. He has a 3.8 GPA and hopes to graduate at the top of his class. Hawaii is not known as a hotbed for hoops, but if Chase continues to develop and keep his focus, there could soon be another player shedding the lei and donning the Jerry West.