University of Hawaii basketball team recruits long-distance shooter, Juan Munoz

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Stephen Tsai, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
·2 min read
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Apr. 8—The University of Hawaii basketball team's long-distance recruiting resulted in a commitment from a long-distance shooter.

Juan Munoz, who hit 38.4 % of his 3s for Longwood University (Farmville, Va.) this season, is joining the Rainbow Warriors as a graduate transfer. Munoz, a 6-foot, 170-pound point guard, said he will sign a scholarship agreement next Wednesday, the first day basketball prospects may put their commitments in writing. Munoz will have two years of UH eligibility.

"I've been (at Longwood ) for five years, and I felt it was time for a new experience, " said Munoz, who entered the NCAA's transfer portal two weeks ago. "Hawaii is a great opportunity for that."

Munoz said he has had encouraging conversations with head coach Eran Ganot and assistant coach /defensive coordinator John Montgomery. Munoz's high school coach, L.J. Hepp, worked for Montgomery's father, Mike Montgomery, when the elder Montgomery coached at Stanford.

"Coach (John ) Montgomery was the guy who initially reached out to me, " Munoz said. "We clicked right away when we started talking. And Coach Ganot, me and him, had several great conversations. I felt it was the right fit for me to develop as a basketball player and also as a man."

Munoz grew up in North Carolina, where basketball is widely considered the state's pastime. "Everybody out there loves basketball, " Munoz said. "Everybody out there plays basketball. If you're not playing your best every night, somebody can show you up. So it really brought out the competitive edge, and it made sure you brought it every night."

Munoz did that as a prolific scorer and playmaker for Panther Creek High. He holds the school's career record with 1, 704 points.

But knee injuries short-circuited his first two Longwood years. Two weeks before the 2016-17 opener, Munoz suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. A year later, he suffered another ACL injury to the same knee. But after a second rehabilitation program, this time lasting 11 months, Munoz was medically cleared in September 2018. He hit 43.2 % of his 3s that season, and averaged 10.8 points in 2019-20. This season, Munoz averaged 13.0 points and 3.2 rebounds. He was named to the Big South's second team.

Munoz said he polished his outside shooting during the two rehab years. "I was working on form shooting for such a long time that when I transitioned to 3 and behind 3, it became easier, " he said. "It became second nature."

Munoz earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2020. He said he will complete work on an MBA this summer. Because his master's classes are online, he will be able to join the'Bows this summer. He plans to pursue another master's degree at UH.