Rainbow Warriors ink Hawai’i state player of the year

Jessiya Villa

HONOLULU –University of Hawai’i men’s basketball coach Eran Ganot announced the signing of two guards to national letters of intent. Jaaron Stallworth, a junior college transfer with three years of eligibility, and Jessiya Villa, the 2017 Hawai’i boy’s basketball state player of the year, have committed to join the Rainbow Warriors.

The 6-1 Stallworth played this past season for Yuba College in California where he averaged 13.8 ppg and 3.2 apg. He shot 40 percent from the floor, 41 percent on three-pointers and 77 from the line. He enjoyed his highest scoring game versus North Idaho when he poured in 28 points. Stallworth was the second-leading scorer and top assist man in 13 games for Yuba before having his season abbreviated due to injury. Yuba ultimately finished 28-3 on the season.

“We really look forward to what Jaaron will bring to our program,” Ganot said. “He’s fast, athletic, and can really shoot. He comes from a solid family and his personality and leadership qualities make him a great fit here. Jaaron’s excited to be a Rainbow Warrior and we’re equally thrilled to welcome him to our ‘ohana.”

Prior to attending Yuba, Stallworth was a standout player at Consumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove, Calif. As a senior he averaged 20.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 2.2 apg and earned all-metro honors from The Sacramento Bee. During his four-years as starting point guard he helped lead Consumnes to a 97-24 record and four conference titles. Following Consumnes, Stallworth spent the 2015-16 season at the US Naval Academy Prep School, where he served as team captain.

Stallworth was also an all-star and team captain for the Consumnes football team and his cousin, Drake Stallworth, is an incoming freshman wide receiver for the Rainbow Warriors. His brother Keoni plays football at San Diego State.

Villa also joins UH after completing a decorated 2016-17 season for Kahuku High School. The 6-0 point guard led the Red Raiders to a state championship while averaging 17.1 ppg, 6.2 apg and 4.8 rpg. He earned state player of the year honors from USA Today and The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He was also named the Gatorade State Player of the Year and the Oahu Interscholastic Association East Player of the Year.

Villa is the second Red Raider to join UH along with Samuta Avea, who signed with the Rainbow Warriors in November.  Villa graduates from Kahuku on Thursday and will embark on a two-year mission before suiting up for the Rainbow Warriors.

“We’re excited to welcome Jessiya to the Rainbow Warrior ‘ohana,” Ganot said. “He had a phenomenal high school career and was the driving force on a state championship team. He’s a winner, a leader, and comes from a great sports family. We can’t wait to have him back in Hawai’i once he returns from his mission.”

Beside leading Kahuku to a state title, Villa also helped the Red Raiders to a third-place finish at the ‘Iolani Prep Classic— the highest finish by a Hawai’i team in a decade— after upsets over Mount Vernon (N.Y.), De La Salle (Calif.) and Southwind (Tenn.). He scored 27 against Mt. Vernon and 26 vs. De La Salle.

Born and raised on O’ahu, Villa played his previous three years at Martinsburg High School in West Virginia. As a junior he was named player of the year in the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference and gained first-team all-state honors in Class AAA as Martinsburg made a second straight appearance in the state quarterfinals.

Villa’s father Kahi, played basketball for BYU-Hawai’i and professionally in the Philippines.

2017-18 Men’s Basketball Signees
Samuta Avea,  G/F, 6-6 , Hau’ula, O’ahu (Kahuku HS)
Jaaron Stallworth, G, 6-1, Elk Grove, Calif. (Yuba College)
Jessiya Villa, G, 6-0, La’ie, O’ahu (Kahuku HS)


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