Reports: Maui Invitational to be played in Honolulu

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas head coach Bill Self, third from the right, is pictured with the other 2015 Maui Invitational coaches as they gather for a photograph following a press conference on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 outside the Sheraton Maui. At left is Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt, Chris Mullin, St. John's, Tom Crean, Indiana, Danny Manning, Wake Forest, Eric Bovaird, Chaminade. Right of Self are Dave Rice, UNLV and Steve Alford, UCLA.

The status of the Maui Invitational has long been in jeopardy, ever since widespread wildfires in early August ravaged the Hawaiian town of Lahaina that traditionally plays host to the college basketball tournament.

Now, the question of where the competition will take place appears close to a resolution. The Messenger and The Athletic reported Tuesday morning that the tournament is expected to take place on the University of Hawaii’s campus on the island of Oahu, with The Messenger highlighting SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center, the Rainbow Warriors’ 10,300-seat basketball arena, as the likely venue.

Kansas plays the Division II host school Chaminade in the opening round of the tournament on Nov. 20.

The Maui Invitational traditionally takes place at the Lahaina Civic Center, an intimate 2,400-seat venue that was largely spared from the fires, unlike the town it sits just outside.

The tournament was moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2020 and Paradise, Nevada, in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than selecting another location in the Las Vegas area for 2023, however, organizers “are determined to hold this year’s event in Hawaii to help the state’s economy and spur fundraising drives,” Seth Davis wrote for The Messenger.

Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird had previously told Spectrum News in late August that he was “99% sure” the tournament would take place in Hawaii.

KU is playing Illinois in a charity exhibition on Oct. 29 to raise money for Maui wildfire relief, as will Michigan State and Tennessee. Besides Chaminade, KU and Tennessee, other teams in the Maui field include Gonzaga, Marquette, Purdue, Syracuse and UCLA.