Mater Dei wing commits to “dream school” in University of Hawai’i

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JUNE 20, 2024

HONOLULU – Since age four, Scotty Belnap has known that he wanted to play for the University of Hawai’i. 

The 6-foot-6 wing out of Mater Dei (CA) announced his commitment to the ‘Bows on Thursday following a successful senior season that finished with his Monarchs ranked inside the nation’s top 50 high school boys’ basketball teams. After winning 29 games and losing only six during his final campaign, the 2024 graduate will embark on a 2-year LDS mission to Bahía Blanca, Argentina before joining Hawai’i ahead of the 2026-27 season as a preferred walk-on with eyes on earning a scholarship. 

“Hawai’i has been my dream school for pretty much my entire life,” Belnap said in a phone interview. “When [the opportunity to play for UH] came around, I knew what I wanted to do.” 

The lanky shooter spent four years on varsity at Mater Dei, quickly becoming one of legendary coach Gary McKnight’s most trusted players as a lockdown defender and reliable scoring outlet. During his junior and senior seasons, he also served as a captain for the Monarchs. 

While Belnap leaves for his 2-year mission that will include a two-month crash-course on speaking Spanish before arriving to Argentina, the guard assured that he would be able to work and serve at the same time ahead of his arrival on campus in 2026. 

“I’ll be able to work-out in the mornings most times there,” he said of his plans for basketball in the meantime. “Luckily, basketball is also popular in Argentina, so it won’t be like there’s no courts anywhere. There will be some chances for me to still work on my game, too.” 

The initial spark between the ‘Bows and Belnap becoming a real-life pairing came back when the guard visited the island in 8th grade with his school for a basketball trip that included a tour of the Hawai’i campus and a chance to say hello and meet some of the faces among the Rainbow Warriors men’s program. 

One of those faces? New assistant coach Gibson Johnson during his first stint in Hawai’i. 

The two hit it off quickly, creating a bond that would later down the line result in the 6-foot-6 guard committing to Utah Tech last August where Johnson was coaching. Following Johnson’s recent hiring at Hawai’i and Belnap’s recent decommitment from the Trailblazers, the two connected again. 

“I really like Coach Gibson and I love the school. I got a chance [to be on O’ahu] a few days ago and it just felt like everything I wanted was lining up nicely,” the guard shared. 

Belnap enjoyed an incredibly successful high school career, winning 111 games in his four years on varsity while the program posted a winning percentage of .836 during his time at Mater Dei. The 6-foot-6 do-it-all wing improved his statistics every season, averaging 9.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this past year while the Monarchs marched past the competition. Mater Dei had 19 of the 29 victories come by a margin of at least 20 points while 13 wins were decided by more than 25 points. 

“I honestly don’t care if I am scoring [40 points] or if I’m held scoreless as long as when the buzzer sounds, my team is the one who won,” Belnap said of his mindset. 

Keep up to date with the latest in Hawai’i men’s basketball recruiting with Hawai’i Sports Radio Network’s tracker or follow Paul Brecht on Twitter/X (@12brecht) for up-to-date information regarding the ‘Bows.