Looney is loco for defense, earns Pac West honor for 3rd time

February 27, 2017

Connor Looney basketball

Connor Looney

Whether he’s taking charges, making steals or forcing turnovers, Connor Looney of Palmer is all-in on defense.

He can’t help it. That’s the culture at Hawaii Pacific.

“We take pride in getting stops and making teams work for their points, then turning those stops into points on the other end,” Looney told me.

The senior guard has been a two-way terror for the NCAA D2 nationally ranked Sharks, who have won 26 of 28 games and already clinched the Pac West Conference regular-season title.

“This year has been really fun. To be a part of a historic year and the first team to win a PacWest championship at HPU has been something special,” he said.

Looney, of Palmer High fame, was selected as the Pac West defender of the week for the third time this season after leading Hawaii Pacific to victories over Dixie State and Chaminade in which
averaged 17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocked shots.

The 6-foot-2 starter ranks second in the Pac West with 64 steals and 2.3 per game.

“I think I’ve been so effective this year because my coach has really trusted me and given me the freedom on defense to make plays and go for steals when I see the opportunity,” Looney said. “Other than getting steals, my favorite play on defense would be taking charges. Beating the player to the spot and making the energy play for the team is a great feeling.”

His play on both ends of the floor is why Hawaii Pacific leads the league in scoring offense [87] and defense [67].

“Offense is the easy part, everyone has energy for that right?” Looney said with a laugh. “But again, the coaches have really given me freedom to play my game and make plays on offense as well.”