New Rainbow Wahine Kallin Spiller investing in her hoops career for now

·3 min read

Oct. 20—Kallin Spiller turned down a job in finance to attend to "unfinished business " on the basketball court.

Spiller spent a summer two years ago as an intern with Goldman Sachs and was later offered a full-time position as an analyst with the New York City-based investment banking giant.

Instead, with a degree from Columbia secure, Spiller decided to delay the start of her professional career to continue her far-flung college basketball journey at the University of Hawaii.

"For me, work is always going to be there, and this opportunity, especially here at Hawaii, is what drew me back, " Spiller said during media day for the Rainbow Wahine on Tuesday. "I love basketball, I have more to show on the court, and this team has something special."

Spiller is one of nine newcomers on this season's Rainbow Wahine roster and part of a group of four Division I transfers.

A 6-foot-3 forward, Spiller was first contacted by Hawaii assistant coach Alex Delanian as a 16-year-old standout at Lakeside School in Seattle. She opted to sign with hometown Seattle University and was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2018 after averaging 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds with six double-doubles.

But a longing to broaden her experiences led her to transfer to Columbia, where she sat out the 2018-19 season, then played in 11 games in the 2019 season. The Ivy League canceled its 2020-21 sports season due to the pandemic, and after earning her degrees in psychology and business management she sought out another opportunity to play.

While training and coaching at Lakeside, she reconnected with the UH staff and signed with the Wahine as a graduate transfer with two years left to play.

"It was a long road to get there, but I think the experiences I've had in two other programs and now this one have really given me the experience to be the best player I can be right here, right now, " said Spiller, who is enrolled in the marketing management program at UH's Shidler College of Business.

"I feel like it's that perfect mixture of I get to be on the court, I get to go to grad school and have a great fit with the coaches and team."

The Rainbow Wahine have two more weeks of practice before facing Hawaii Pacific University in an exhibition game on Nov. 3 and open the season with road games at San Diego on Nov. 9 and USC on Nov. 11.

'Tark' sighting on campus The last time a Tarkanian was in Manoa, it was in a decidedly adversarial role.

Jerry Tarkanian's Hall of Fame coaching career included a stint at Fresno State and several memorable duels with Hawaii in a heated Western Athletic Conference rivalry with his son Danny on the staff as an assistant.

A member of the storied basketball family will be on the home sideline this season, with Lois Tarkanian, Jerry's granddaughter, joining the Rainbow Wahine as a freshman guard.

"My grandma, who I was named after, has every game of my dad's and that my grandpa coached on video, " Lois Tarkanian said on Tuesday.

"So I would watch when I was younger and it was really cool.

"I definitely heard the stories and it seemed like a great era. I was always told how fun it was to watch his games."

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