Toews primed for a first-year breakout

McGrath: “We just hope he keeps progressing.”


Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Kai Toews (10)

Noah Powers, Assistant Sports Editor

With last year’s departure of starting point guard Jordon Talley, UNCW head coach C.B. McGrath begins his second year in Wilmington in search for a new leader on the floor.

After the performance put up against Clemson in the hurricane relief exhibition on Oct. 27, McGrath’s attention has turned to a freshman in Japan native Kai Toews.

Toews was a member of the 15U and 19U Japanese National Teams as well as the Olympic qualifying Japan National team. He spent his junior and senior year of high school in Northfield, Massachusetts where he averaged 10 points, five assists and three rebounds as a senior at Northfield Mount Hermon School.

Toews was the first of the 2018-19 recruiting class to commit to UNCW where his camaraderie with the team led him to select Wilmington as his new home.

“I came on an unofficial and an official visit,” said Toews. “Both times I felt really connected to the guys. I knew right away that I could consider this my home.”

After missing summer practices while spending time on the Japanese National team and missing several more weeks during Hurricane Florence, Toews had to play a serious game of catch-up. That said, the true freshman has worked hard in his short time at UNCW, focusing on his leadership abilities.

“Coming into a role where I have to lead,” said Toews. “I think my main improvement since I’ve been here is my leadership skills.”

In the Seahawks’ charity exhibition game against Clemson, Toews had five points, five assists and one rebound. Despite the missed time with the team, McGrath was impressed following the freshman’s performance against the Tigers.

“I like what he did,” said McGrath. “I thought he did a lot of positive things out there for a true freshman.”

Toews is one of several players on the roster competing for the starting point guard spot. Whether or not he gets the starting spot, he feels that he can have a big impact with his contributions to the team.

“I think it’s anybody’s to take,” said Toews. “I think I’ll play a lot. I don’t know if I’ll start, but I’ll definitely be a big contributor to this team.”