LAWRENCE (KSNT)- Kansas shortstop Maui Ahuna is batting .405 and getting on base at a rate of .485.
The sophomore from Hawaii just keeps hitting. When asked what makes Ahuna so special, second baseman Tavian Josenberger answered with just one word.
“Everything,” Josenberger said.
Kansas head baseball coach Ritch Price noticed Ahuna early in his career.
“I saw him as a sophomore and he had tremendous skillset.,” Price said. “He had everything coaches are looking for.”
Ahuna didn’t have to wonder whether Price was interested or not.
“Oh [Coach Price] wanted me,” Ahuna said. “He wanted me. He called my dad and everything. He called my dad he was like ‘Hey, I want Maui.'”
Price turned out to be correct. Ahuna hit .314 as a freshman and broke out stronger as a sophomore. His average after Week 10 ranks him second in the Big 12 and top 20 in the nation.
“[Ahuna’s] been a great teammate, he’s been a great leader and he’s been a guy that represents our program on and off the field in a first-class manner,” Price said.
Ahuna came a long from home to play for the Jayhawks. He found a new family in his coaches and teammates at KU.
“[My teammates are] great dudes,” he said. “All these guys are all great dudes. They have my back, I’ll always have their back. The relationships we’ve built over the years, you know, they’re brothers to me now and I love them.”
Lawrence is not the last stop for Ahuna. Coach Price says his big league dream is looking more like reality each day.
“He’s a young man that’s got potential that could be a five-tool player and could play ten years in the big leagues,” Price said. “I fully expect him to be a first round draft pick next year.”
Ahuna even led the country in batting average briefly in April. Naturally, this drew attention. He has to play one more season of college ball before he can go pro.
With Kansas currently in last place in the conference, fans might wonder if Ahuna will consider hitting the transfer portal. On Thursday afternoon, the talented 20-year-old from Hilo, Hawaii, put that discussion to a halt. Will he be a Jayhawk next year?
“Hundred percent,” he said. “I love skip. Skip’s a great guy and I’m fully committed to him. I got one more year hopefully, and I’m going to be a Jayhawk for life.”
Ritch Price is in his 20th season coaching at Kansas. He has spent time with some talented players. Where does Ahuna rank?
“I’ve coached 75 guys or so that have signed pro contracts,” Price said. “We’ve had six or seven guys play in the big leagues since I’ve been here. He’s got a chance to be the best player in program history.”