UH athletes share different college advice, same team spirit


UH basketball player Davis Rozitis and softball player Jori Jasper share their athletic journeys with high school journalists at the Journalism Day event at the UH Mānoa campus on Saturday, September 8.

Jaylin Kekiwi

By Landon Ballesteros, news writer

Whether it be hopping to another island or flying halfway around the world, it is all about the fun and bond that drives two UH Mānoa athletes to success. Senior softball player Jori Jasper and senior basketball player Davis Rozitis spoke about their athletic journeys at the Journalism Day sports press conference at the UH Mānoa campus this morning.

Jori Jasper played softball, volleyball, and basketball at Kauaʻi High School, where she graduated from in 2009. She started attending the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa that fall, continued to play softball, and was named an NFCA scholar-athlete for two straight seasons in 2010 and 2011.

“Athletics shaped my whole character. I mean, from a small age where learning leadership would make up what it means to be a team, and learning communication skills. It teaches you a lot about life,” Jasper said.

Jasper is currently triple-majoring in marketing, international business, and entrepreneurship. She says she has become adept at time management in order to balance her academics, athletics and social life. “Being a student comes first,” she said. “I didn’t want to be the girl that took five years [to graduate].”

Her diverse background inspired a lot of the audience. One tip that she had for high school athletes was, “Don’t burn yourself out.” She says that it’s the bond with her teammates, coaches, and fellow students that keeps her going.

Davis Rozitis, a 7-foot basketball center, is originally from Cesis, Latvia. He started to learn English in the third grade by watching American movies, reading books in English, and listening to music with English lyrics. He graduated from Cesis State Grammar School in 2009.

Majoring in international relations and political science, Rozitis is often nicknamed “Da Beast,” due to the common mispronunciation of his first name. His laid back attitude really humored the crowd of high school student journalists.

He actually attended the University of Southern California in his freshman year. “Honestly… USC gave us more gear,” he said, earning tumultuous laughter from the crowd.

He said that the sport of basketball differs between the United States and Latvia because the game is more team-oriented in Latvia, while it’s more individual, physical, and based on athleticism in the USA.

Both athletes have one similarity: they don’t get to actively play out on the court or the field as often as others might. Rozitis said that newer athletes can generally be on the bench in the first one to two years of college. “There are guys that are bigger, stronger, and more experienced,” he said.

Jasper said that it helps to set goals — both short-term and long-term.

Rozitis, on the other hand, said, “It’s [organized athletics]  just intended to have fun. Overall, it’s just a game.”

One major thing that both athletes agreed on was that it is ultimately the bond with teammates and the fun times that make everything worthwhile. To both, college is a great experience, made even better with the commitment to their favorite sports.

Jasper is set to graduate from UH Mānoa this winter. Rozitis is expecting to graduate in the spring of 2013.