Fox Kailiawa is an enthusiastic, cheerful, intelligent young man. I know because I see him five hours a week for 12th Grade Economics at Mammoth High School. He enters the classroom with an unmatched level of excitement for just being present, and he brings with him a certain spirit of the soul that lights up everyone around him. Combine these character traits with the ability to problem-solve and think quickly on his feet, and he makes the ideal classroom student. I enjoy being Fox’s Economics teacher. So it’s for good reason that MHS Head Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Robbie Presson nominated Fox as “Athlete of the Week” representing MHS Hoops.
Fox is one of nine members of the Varsity Basketball Team. The team opened up its season at home with a win against Big Pine on December 3. The Mammoth boys scored three points for every point scored by Big Pine: 63 – 21. Presson said of Fox’s performance during the season opener, “He had 20 points and 19 rebounds. He was playing at a really high level.” In a sport with 10 players on the court at any given time, Kailiawa scored 24% of the total points. The 6’3,” 210 lb. center is the heart and soul of the team. Presson talked about the versatility of his center on the court. “He can post up. He plays inside well, and he can hit outside shots. Fox is kind of a nightmare for whoever we are playing against. He’s a big part of our strategy. He works really hard in summer and the off-season, and it’s paying off big time.”
This is Fox’s sixth consecutive year playing basketball. He started with the team sport his 7th grade year at the middle school, and has only increased the speed, focus, and skill of his game. Fox credits a lot of his improvement over the years from playing pick-up games at Snowcreek Athletic Club. He also recognizes that he has a very competitive spirit. Presson has coached this group of players since Fox began, and the team has grown together both in terms of strength of friendships amongst players and ability to beat teams on the court. Fox’s goal for the team this season is to make playoffs, and win league, having a lot of fun along the way. He said of himself, “I will try to be the best I can, and help my team the best I can.”
Kailiawa is also a member of the MHS Varsity Baseball Team. He’s been playing baseball for most of his life: 13 years. MHS Varsity Baseball Head Coach Scott Luke said of the star pitcher, “Fox is a two-time all-leaguer on the mound for us. He was second team all-league his sophomore year. He was first team all-league last year. We are looking forward to seeing him get a little stronger, and lead the team in spring his senior year.”
Fox loves hoops, but likes baseball even more, and considers himself a baseball player deep down.
Fox is a Los Angeles sports fan through and through. His favorite athlete is Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also admires Matt Kemp’s ability to perform for the Dodgers. In hoops, Fox thinks Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players of all times. He is a big LA Lakers fan.
As for Fox’s focus to climb the ranks of society, Kailiawa has the goal of maintaining steady, stable grades. He has narrowed down his considerations for study at a four-year university to University of Hawaii (Manoa), CSU, Channel Islands (Ventura County), and University of Nevada, Reno. He’s undecided on a field of study or career path, but he really enjoys the arts. Mathematics is also a subject that comes easily to him.
Kailiawa’s advice for you? “Work as hard as you can in practice, and try and help others in sports. Study in school.”
No one sums up Fox Kailiawa better than Robbie Presson. “He is fun to be around. He is kind of a fun kid. He keeps me on my toes.” Fortunately, he does the same to the competition.
The Varsity Boys Basketball Team competes in the Whittell High School Tournament in Tahoe this Friday and Saturday. I bet they return with big, big numbers, and even bigger grins.