Dutch guard Van der Knaap commits to Hawai’i ahead of ‘24 season

Dutch guard Van der Knaap commits to Hawai’i ahead of ‘24 season

International guard Jacopo Van der Knaap signed with the Rainbow Warriors for his college choice. | Photo Credit: Hawai’i Athletics

Dutch guard Van der Knaap commits to Hawai’i ahead of ‘24 season

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JULY 3, 2024

HONOLULU – The ‘Bows are swimming in international waters again. 

Hawai’i received a commitment from Dutch guard Jacopo Van der Knaap on Wednesday, who became the sixth member of the ‘Bows 2024 signing class. The 6-foot-5 guard started 25 contests last season, averaging 13 points and three rebounds per game for Tobarra BC. Van der Knaap’s club is in Tercera FEB, part of the professional basketball league system in Spain. 

The 21-year-old will join the Rainbow Warriors with four years of eligibility after serving as a consistent scorer for Tobarra in 2023-24, surpassing the 10-point mark in 17 games. His final season overseas peaked with a four-game stretch of 20-or-more points where Van der Knaap led his club to three wins in four games. He emerged on the ‘Bows radar last summer after dropping 26 points against UC San Diego during the Tritons’ international tour despite meeting with many of his teammates for the first time just before the game. 

“[Hawai’i and I got in contact] through a common friend after [the UC San Diego game] and I thought about going to college,” Van der Knaap said in a phone interview. “I wanted a chance to continue my career as a student and as an athlete and Hawai’i gave me the best opportunity to do it in a good environment.” 

The strong international presence among players stuck out to the half-Dutch, half-Italian guard, discussing the draw of playing with others from different backgrounds internationally. 

“I love playing with people from all over the world,” Van der Knaap said. “It’s like it doesn’t matter once we get on the court, we all have the common language of basketball.” 

The 6-foot-5 guard is a scorer, showing off a nice, repeatable shooting stroke with the tendency get hot from behind the arc. He hit three or more 3-pointers seven times last season from with various shot types, both off the bounce and spotting up off the ball. Van der Knaap shows off the ability to be a three-level scorer, equipped with a quality mid-range pull-up game and the capability to get downhill and all the way to the basket. 

Seasoned with on-court experience and physically ready at 21 years old, Van der Knaap could compete for minutes early in the year with a quality preseason. While he shows potential to initiate with the ball in his hands, Van der Knaap is more suited to be a scoring guard than a true table-setting point guard. 

Born to a Dutch father and Italian mother, Van der Knaap lived in Italy for the first 16 years of his life before moving to Amsterdam. The move progressed his basketball career with chances to play for the Dutch national team, including a 3×3 venture this summer that would provide a bid into next year’s U21 World Cup event depending on his team’s placement. 

College in the US became an option that Van der Knaap would consider just over a year ago. The 6-foot-5 guard said that he had interest from other schools and programs, but Hawai’i stuck out from the group and long was the scoring guard’s top option.  

“I’m excited,” said the incoming freshman. “It will be a whole new experience. It’s on the other side of the world, it’s different style of basketball and with new people. I’m ready for it.” 

The commitment of Van der Knaap brings the ‘Bows recruiting class to six members with three transfers and three high school commitments. The Dutch guard joins Salesian three-star guard Aaron-Hunkin Claytor and prep forward Roy Igwe – along with early enrollee AJ Economou – as players with multiple seasons of eligibility joining Hawai’i next season. 

Stay up to date on Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors basketball recruiting with updates from our recruiting tracker, here.