Like Father, Like Son - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Like Father, Like Son

By Russell Yamanoha

KANEOHE (KHNL) - Ikaika Alama-Francis was highest player from the University of Hawaii to be selected in Saturday's NFL draft.

The former Warrior Defensive Lineman was taken in Round 2 by the Detroit Lions.

Ikaika's father, Joe Francis, a former NFL star himself. Has been instrumental in his son's gridiron success, and through his guidance, Ikaika is now headed to the bright lights of the National Football League.

"The work starts now," said the elder Francis.

He should know.

Joe Francis has football in his blood, having played for the Green Bay Packers in the late 50's.

However until recently, his son didn't even have football on his radar.

"Three years ago, i would've never thought that," said Ikaika. "Three years ago, i can tell you, i was dreaming about the NBA."

An All-State basketball star at Kalaheo high school, Alama-Francis began his UH career with the Rainbow Warrior basketball team in 2002, before following in his father's footsteps and making the difficult transition to football.

"I think that for a person that has only a limited experience in football, he's come a long, long way," said Joe. "I'm so happy for the guy."

Though the 6-7 Alama-Francis may have taken a while to see things dad's way, eventually he did. So as his football career takes off, he's knows dad was the launching pad.

"I just want to be just as good as he was," said Ikaika. "I know I'll never be on his level because he was such a great individual that's supported me all his life and I would never be where I'm at if it wasn't for him."

The former Kalaheo standout will now take his show on the road, going from Honolulu, to the team in Honolulu blue.

A route that began on draft day, a day Ikaika will never forget.

"I was so happy, when I saw the excitement (my dad's) face. It really hit me you know. He's been there for me and I love him to death. He's number one. He's incredible and I love him."

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