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. 

UH Men’s Basketball: 2024 Offseason Recruiting/Transfer Portal Tracker

UH Men’s Basketball: 2024 Offseason Recruiting/Transfer Portal Tracker

UH Men’s Basketball: 2024 Offseason Recruiting/Transfer Portal Tracker 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED APR 8, 2024 UPDATED JUNE 8, 2024

The 2024 offseason presents a big remodeling of the UH men’s basketball program, losing six seniors and injured sophomore center Mor Seck to the transfer portal. In all, Hawai’i lost the top five point-producers from last season with the graduation of 1,000-point scorers Noel Coleman and Bernardo de Silva, all-Big West selection Justin McKoy, sharpshooting 8th-year guard Juan Munoz and late-clock magician & prime table-setter JoVon McClanahan. 

The quintet of Rainbow Warriors leave many holes on the roster to fill for head coach Eran Ganot and staff to fill. Hawai’i returns promising young prospects in 6-foot-5 guard Tom Beattie and 6-foot-9 forward Akira Jacobs while looking to soon-to-be juniors Kody Williams and Harry Rouhliadeff to take a leap in production. Ryan Rapp, the sweet-shooting guard from Australia that started 18 games in 2023-24 for Hawai’i, is also expected to return next season. The ‘Bows also have signed 6-foot-3 guard Aaron Hunkin-Claytor and have early-enrollee high-flying wing AJ Economou ready to join the fray entering next year. 

Since contact with recruits/transfers has been permitted, the UH men’s basketball staff has been on the road hard at work to help fill in the missing puzzle pieces for competing for the Big West in 2024-25. Below, you can find an up-to-date list on the latest in ‘Bows basketball recruiting from rumors to offers to commitments. 

Dutch guard Van der Knaap signs with Hawai’i (COMMIT)

(JULY 3) Hawai’i received a commitment from Dutch guard Jacopo Van der Knaap, 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. 

Van der Knaap is the first player in program history with roots from Italy or the Netherlands, adding to the 23 other countries that have donned the green and white previously.


 

Hawai’i lands prized Xaiver transfer forward Gytis Nemeikša (COMMIT)

(JUNE 28) The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team got a boost to the roster on Friday as former Xaiver Musketeers forward Gytis “Nemo” Nemeikša announced his commitment to the Rainbow Warriors for his final year of eligibility. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward appeared in 34 games (20 starts) in his lone season at Xavier, averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.5 minutes of action each night. 

He was ranked as the 5th-best remaining player in the portal as a 4-star transfer by EvanMiya CBB Analytics. He is the highest-rated forward to join the Big West via the transfer portal this offseason. 

Nemeikša is the third transfer to commit to the Rainbow Warriors this offseason and fifth player overall. The forward provides another starter for a Hawai’i team that lost four starters and seven total rotation players this offseason between graduation and the transfer portal. There are still believed to be four open spot for the ‘Bows 2024-25 roster.


 

Hawai’i receives commitment from Mater Dei shooting guard (COMMIT)

(JUNE 20) Southern California is a hot bed for future ‘Bows.

After AJ Economou joined the ‘Bows last spring, Hawai’i has returned to Southern Cali for another recruiting snag in ’24 Mater Dei guard Scotty Belnap. The 6-foot-6 shooter announced his commitment to the Rainbow Warriors on social media on Thursday, six days after decommitting from Utah Tech. The guard will take a 2-year LDS mission before joining the ‘Bows as a preferred walk-on in 2026.


Hawai’i in contact with experienced 6-foot-7 double-digit scorer (INTEREST/RUMOR)

(JUNE 5) The Rainbow Warriors are on the hunt again, checking on former Sacramento State guard Zee Hamoda in the transfer portal as Hawai’i works to fill out the remainder of the roster after the graduation of six seniors. Already receiving commitments from guard Marcus Greene and center Tanner Christensen, the 6-foot-7 Hamoda would play on the wing for UH men’s basketball after averaging nearly 12 points and four rebounds per game last season for Sacramento State.

Hamoda began his career at Utah State, appearing in 62 games off the bench for the Aggies across two seasons before transferring to Sac State for his junior season. The 6-foot-7 wing eclipsed double-digit points in 22 of 34 games last year, including a 15-point, 6-rebound showing in a 10-point loss at Big West tournament champion Long Beach State on December 2. Hamoda has also heard from UMass, San Diego State and UC Santa Barbara among many others since entering the transfer portal.


 

St. Thomas More (CT) springy forward Roy Igwe commits to Rainbow Warriors (COMMIT)

(MAY 10) The 2024 high school recruiting class for the Hawai’i men’s basketball program just got a bit more athletic.

Roy Igwe, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound wing that grew up in Japan, announced his commitment to the Rainbow Warriors on Friday, May 10. After graduating from school in Japan, Igwe spent a season at Connecticut prep school St. Thomas More while preparing for chance at the next level and now is expected to join the ‘Bows as a walk-on with four years of eligibility.

Igwe played against Hawai’i during the Rainbow Warriors’ international trip to Japan in August of 2023, catching the eye of coaches ahead of his prep season in Connecticut after showing off his strength and athleticism against some of the more veteran players on the UH roster during a scrimmage against the Tokyo Samurai. He is the 2nd UH men’s basketball commit with Japanese ties in the last two seasons, joining rising sophomore Akira Jacobs on the Rainbow Warriors’ roster.

He becomes the second member of UH’s high school recruiting class for 2024, joining three-star guard Aaron Hunkin-Claytor.


 

Former Mr. Basketball winner visiting Hawai’i as ‘Bows continue backcourt remodel (NEWS)

(MAY 6) Hawai’i hosted former Minnesota Gophers guard Braeden Carrington on Monday, multiple sources confirmed to HSRN. The 6-foot-4 sophomore from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota was a high school standout that originally decided to stay home and suit up for the Gophers following a senior year that saw his team go 31-1, capture the school’s first state title and the guard himself get named as the 2022 Mr. Basketball honoree in Minnesota. His recognition as Minnesota’s “Mr. Basketball” followed a two-year run of future top-5 NBA Draft selections Jalen Suggs (’20) and Chet Holmgren (’21) and Carrington became the first honoree to stay home to play for Minnesota in six years (Amir Coffey, ’16).

Carrington averaged 4.6 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per contest across 29 appearances (10 starts) for Minnesota in 2023-24, becoming a defensive standout at times for the Gophers on the perimeter. The guard is a strong athlete with a good frame (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) who does damage in transition, at the rim and on the left side of the floor. The UH men’s basketball program has already received commitments from former Utah Tech center Tanner Christensen and former Houston Christian guard Marcus Greene from the transfer portal, joining AJ Economou and Aaron Hunkin-Claytor in the 2024 recruiting class for UH.

****UPDATE: Carrington announced his commitment to Tulsa on Saturday, May 11****


 

Greene joining Rainbow Warriors, becoming 2nd offseason transfer addition (COMMIT) 

(MAY 2) Hawai’i’s backcourt rotation for next season received a boost on Thursday as Houston Christian transfer Marcus Greene committed to the ‘Bows, via the guard’s Instagram account. The 6-foot-2 junior became the 2nd college transfer to commit to UH this offseason and should be an immediate contributor for the Rainbow Warriors after averaging 15.1 points per contest for the Huskies during the 2023-24 campaign, shooting 42.7% from 3-point range and dishing out three assists a game. 

The guard spent his freshman season at Sacramento State before spending a year at Panola College (TX), transferring out from the NJCAA program to HCU after helping lead the team to a top-10 national ranking and a regional final in his lone season. Greene visited the University of Hawai’i campus last weekend, meeting with the team and coaching staff as he mulled over his next college home before eventually landing on wearing the green and white for his last year of eligibility. 


 

Bows set to host VT’s Camden, Houston Christian guard Marcus Greene for official visit (NEWS) 

(APRIL 26) Eran Ganot’s recruiting efforts continue over the weekend as Hawai’i hosts 6-foot-8 Virginia Tech transfer John Camden and Houston Baptist 6-foot-2 point guard Marcus Greene for official visits. 

Camden would fill a similar mold to recent Hawai’i standout forwards Kamaka Hepa and Justin McKoy, transferring into the Hawai’i program after seeing limited action with Power 5 programs with a chance to take a leap into a larger role. The forward from Downingtown, PA started his college career at Memphis before transferring to Virginia Tech. After dealing with a variety of injuries, Camden struggled to get in a rhythm and find playing time for a steady Hokies team. He was a top-100 recruit and ranked as highly as 4 stars by Rivals coming out of high school. 

Greene averaged 15.1 points per game last season for Houston Christian, starting all 28 contests for the Huskies and is one of the top 3-point shooters in the portal after drilling 42.7% of his 3-point attempts last year. The 6-foot-2 guard is considered a 3-level scorer and can create his own shot. 


Hawai’i checks in on Division II standout point guard from CSUSB (INTEREST) 

(APRIL 19) Chris Mitchell, a 6-foot-4 guard from Oceanside, Calif., has received check-ins from multiple Big West programs during the transfer process he told @ThePortalReport. The former Cal State San Bernardino standout helped lead the ‘Yotes to the NCAA Division II Final Four, averaging 16.1 ppg on 49% shooting from the field while snagging 7.4 rebounds per contest. 

Other than the ‘Bows, Mitchell has heard from UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton from the Big West. In all, the junior combo guard has heard from over 20 schools across the nation. 


SWAC Player of the Year hears from Hawai’i, various Power 5 programs (INTEREST)

(APRIL 18) Jackson State guard Ken Evans, the 2023-24 SWAC Player of the Year, has recently heard from Hawai’i during his recruitment process. The 6-foot-5 scorer is a hot commodity in the portal, receiving calls from West Virginia, Louisville and Nevada among many others. 

Originally from Mississippi, both Ole Miss and Mississippi State have reportedly contacted Evans. The reigning SWAC Player of the Year averaged just under 19 points per night last season while starting 32 games, dropping 25 points in a late December game versus Gonzaga. 

****UPDATE: Evans Jr. announced his commitment to FAU on Monday, June 10****


UH hosting NJCAA D1 All-American guard for weekend visit (NEWS)

(APRIL 12) Hawai’i continued a heavy pursuit of former Casper College guard Darius Robinson over the weekend as the 6-foot-1 shooter visited the islands for a multi-day stay, the Chicago native posted on his Instagram story. Averaging more than 18 points per contest on 42% 3-point shooting, Robinson helped his Casper (Wyo.) team to a 24-9 record in his sophomore season with creative playmaking and elite long-range shooting and was named an NJCAA Division I All-American honoree.

Robinson was the 2nd-best free throw shooter in NJCAA D1, hitting at an 89.3% clip from the stripe. His 111 3-point makes ranked fifth-most in the country among JUCO shooters while there were only 15 players in the NCAA from Division I, II and III to hit more threes than the Casper guard in 2023-24. The visit to Hawai’i for Robinson continues a prolonged courtship from the Rainbow Warriors with first reported interest and contact between the two coming back at the end of February.

****UPDATE: Robinson announced his commitment to Oral Roberts on Tuesday, April 30****


 

Rainbow Warriors, other Big West programs check up on Idaho guard EJ Neal 

(APRIL 9) Former Idaho Vandals guard EJ Neal has heard from Hawai’i, Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara out of the Big West since entering the transfer portal, he told @ThePortalReport on X on April 9. The 6-foot-5 junior guard appeared in 29 games for Idaho this past season, starting eight of them. 

Before his transfer to Idaho, Neal was a two-time 1st team Coast North honoree and two-time All-Defense player at City College of San Francisco. The guard was the 2023 Coast North Defensive Player of the Year and went 61-5 in two years at the JUCO level. Neal has also heard from high-major programs such as UCLA and USC while Washington State and St. Bonaventure have also checked in with the defensive standout. 

****UPDATE: Neal announced his commitment to Sacramento State on Saturday, April 13.****


 

Former LA prep guard, Montana State three-level scorer hears from Hawai’i 

(APRIL 9) Former Montana State freshman guard Jaqari Miles heard from Hawai’i and a bevy of other schools, he told @ThePortalReport on April 9. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 10 points in his collegiate debut before suffering an injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the year. He received a medical redshirt for the year and holds four years of eligibility still. 


 

Hawai’i in the mix for former 4-star, 6-foot-8 wing out of ACC (OFFER/RUMOR) 

(APRIL 3) UH has been in contact regarding the transfer process of Virginia Tech redshirt sophomore John Camden, ESPN college basketball insider Jeff Borzello reported on April 3. The 6-foot-8 forward was rated as a 4-star recruit by Rivals and was ranked as high as the 90th-best recruit in the class of 2021 when he committed to the University of Memphis.

Camden dealt with injuries early in his college career that sidetracked the shooter, slowing development at Memphis before deciding to transfer to Virginia Tech (LSU was also in consideration until the end). After two seasons with the Hokies, Camden re-entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining. 

**** UPDATE: Camden announced his commitment to Delaware on Monday, May 6. ****


 

Christensen becomes first to join Rainbow Warriors’ reload (COMMIT)

(APRIL 1) Tanner Christensen, a 6-foot-10 center from Spokane, WA, was the first UH commitment of the offseason, coming to the islands via the transfer portal on Monday, April 1 after spending the past two seasons in St. George playing for Utah Tech in the Western Athletic Conference. 

While suiting up for the Trailblazers, Christensen started 63 out of 63 possible games and increased his scoring average into double digits by his second season. The UH men’s basketball program has been eyeing the big man for a long time – 2024 is the 2nd transfer of Christensen’s career after spending two seasons at Idaho – and finally got their guy in a sturdy, mature 24-year-old with a polished offensive game and a knack for swatting shots. 


 

NJCAA D1 National Champion 6-foot-7 wing offered by the ‘Bows (OFFER)

(MARCH 26) Barton Community College wing Lajae Jones was offered by Eran Ganot and the UH men’s basketball program, the left-handed shooter announced on his social media on March 26. After the offer, Barton went on to win the NJCAA Division I championship to cap off a 36-1 year as Jones led the team in points per game (15.4), 3-point percentage (42.2%) and field goal percentage (54.0%) in his sophomore season. 

The lanky forward showed off impressive athleticism and a soft 3-point stroke in a well-rounded offensive game while flashing creation ability for himself and untapped potential as a distributor. According to his social media, Jones holds offers from Stephen F. Austin, Samford, St. Bonaventure, Murray State, Eastern Kentucky, tournament-darling Oakland (MI) and others. 

****UPDATE: Jones announced his commitment to St. Bonaventure on Saturday, April 27.****


 

Hawai’i interested & active in Casper guard, top JUCO shooter’s recruitment (RUMOR/INTEREST) 

(FEB 22) Casper College (WY) guard Darius Robinson is a name to keep an eye on during the offseason transfer cycle for Hawai’i after the sophomore guard finished his second season at the NJCAA Division I program. Via Rising Ballers & JUCO Exposure Networks on Instagram, the 6-foot-1 guard from Chicago, Illinois has heard from the Rainbow Warriors among many other schools as he looks for a home among the NCAA Division I level. 

Robinson started all 33 games for Casper in 2023-24, averaging 18.4 points per game, second-most on the 24-9 Thunderbirds’ roster. The guard is an elite shooter, hitting at a 41.9% clip from behind the 3-point arc on eight long range attempts per contest – even ranking 2nd in the nation from the free throw line (89.3%). He hit 111 3-pointers in total last season, 44 more than Juan Munoz’s UH-best 67 made triples in 2023-24 and 5th-most among all players the NJCAA Division I level.