Archive for April, 2011

aloha means goodbye

April 20th, 2011

well, all good things must come to an end. With recruting season just about over, and the basketball banquet thursday night, its time to say goodbye to this year's edition of hoopstalk. Its been a blast.

I have tried to keep the blog current, fun, and fair. I know that some of my opinions and comments were not universally accepted, but i never claimed i would be a total " homer". What i strived to do was give you my thoughts and invite you to weigh in. I almost never censored any response, no matter how critical, so long as it was not personal.

Tonight, Jackson and i completed our last Hoopstalk radio show. A show dedicated to reviewing hawaii's recruting class. First, i want to thank Gib for breaking away from his daughter's birthday dinner to participate. Secondly, Jackson and I tried to give you a balanced opinion on each recruit based upon national recruting services and contacts in the coaching community. Did we provide the negatives along with the positives. yes, and i would hope you would expect no less.

My final grade for this year's class is a b- with a potential to be a b+ depending upon who makes their grades, etc.. I think its a solid class with significant upside potential. Are there things that each recruit needs to improve on. Yes. Are there legitimate issues with one or two based upon past history. i believe so. But give Gib and staff lots of credit for their tireless recruting efforts. And in the final analysis, my opinion is just that. Gib and his staff believe they have a very good class, and have the first hand knowledge to make their opinions the most important ones. In the end however, all that matters is how well these recruits play come next November. There are several big holes to fill, and they will need to hit the floor running.



It was a very good year for Hawaii basketball. 19 wins, post season, renewed excitement leading to more butts in seats, all made for a fun year. And now its time to get Gib a contract with a salary and term committment that reflects the success of this year.

For the final time, i want to thank all of you who took the time to read the blog, provide comments ( pro and con), and stopped me on the street to tell me how much you appreciated the blog.

Hopefully Hoopstalk will be back next October. I want to thank the paper for the opportunity.  ALOHA.

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Random Thoughts

April 18th, 2011

1. Did you ever notice how most of the kids who tranfer average under 3 points per game ( talking nationally).

2 UNC is a lock to be preseason number 1 after the announcement today that Harrison Barnes has decided to sat in school. With almost the entire starting line-up returning, and a great recruting class, you can pencil the Tarheels in for a trip to New Orleans for the Final Four.

3. Joe Lunardi and Bracketology have already started their predictions for next year's " 68". Of interest, he has only one WAC team. New Mexico State, and one Big West Team, Long Beach State, in the dance and both at number 14 seeds. Shows you how poor both of these conferences are in basketball

4. Just to clarify my role as a blogger in response to an inquiry about " my paper", i am a free-lance blogger. I am not employed by the Star-Advertiser, not do i have any influence over their sports pages. They allow me the opportunity to blog and write columns from the Final Four, and I appreciate the opportunity. I think it works for both the paper and me.

5. Speaking of North Carolina, it has been announced that they will play Michigan State on Veteran's Day in San Diego on an aircraft carrier. Should be something .

6. For all of you who assisted me in voting for the Jimmer as the Wooden Player of the Year, we did good. He won. I voted Walker second which is where he ended up. Not sure the results would not have been reversed had the votes come after the Tournament.

7. Jackson and I will host a special one hour basketball recruiting show this Weds on ESPN 1420 at 7 pm. It will be the final edition of Hoopstalk. We hope to have Gib either in the studio, if he is back from the Mainland, or by phone. We will provide an " honest assessment" of this year's class, and we will take a look at the prospects for the team in its last season in the WAC.

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8 plus 5 minus 1 plus? minus?

April 15th, 2011

ok, so i didnt see the barnes departure coming ( although i found out about it very early today). He sets the freshman record for three's and now he's gone. Is he leaving because he"s homesick? wants to play closer to home? or because other than the ability to shoot the three, he didnt have the other skills necessary to play 2G?

Surprised some of you are on me for not picking correctly the barnes departure. At least i raised the issue of too many players and not enough scholarships. Who else did?

I dont think we have seen the end of players leaving. its simple math. That and the matter of are there " better" players out there than the players we have now? There are still two reported verbal committments and other names are in the recruting rumor mill.

There are two schools of thought about the philosophy of rotating scholarships. One school believes you get the best players you can and if someone already here has to go, so be it. The other is if you sign someone, you stick with them unless they prove to be a discipline or academic problem.

Frankly, most big time programs essentially believe in the former. Its not new to Hawaii, just maybe a little bit more evident right now. You tend to see it more when a new staff comes in late and has to recruit late, like UH last year. You expect less of this after two recruting classes, when you have a full year to find the " right" players and have the opportunity to cultivate high school juniors.

So stay tuned. Math class is still in session.

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Recruiting Math

April 14th, 2011

You are allowed 13 scholarships. The Bows have 7 scholarship players returning plus one who sat out last year, Davis Rozitis, the USC transfer. That's 8. They announced five signings. Biggs,Blakes,Stevens,Brereton, and Mitchell. There at least two verbal committments out there, one being Tyler McDaniels, Assistant Coach Benjy Taylor's son. By my count you already have 13 scholarship players and possibly two on the way. So what does the math tell me?

It tells me that one or more of this year's players will not be coming back. Who are the candidate?. In my view, at the top of the list, is Dominick Brumfield. If i had to guess on another, and its simply a guess, it could be Miles or Wiseman, both of whom had some academic issues this year.

Remember that Miah is not on a basketball scholarship and the Utah transer, Jace Tavita, will " walk-on" in December. If he has any talent, he is going to want a scholarship somewhere along the way.

We are told that the staff is still out recruiting. Interesting. Another interesting fact is that apparently, some of these guys signed without ever taking a visit . Hopefully they know enough about the program , the school, the community, and their team-mates that it wont be an issue.

The recruiting sites say many of the 5 signed recruits have significant upside potential. Some have real weaknesses that will need to be addressed. Stevens turned down a number of Big West schools, and Brereton turned down BYU. Its good to see three high school kids in the group .

Not sure this class has addressed the point guard needs, but with Miles, Biggs, and Miah( who wont play until the football season is over), its a start.

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Recruting Bulletin

April 13th, 2011

Reliable sources tell Hoopstalk that guard, Deshawn Mitchell, has verbally committed to UH. Mitchell comes to UH with a great reputation as a player, but a questionable reputation as a team player.

Here are the facts as I know them. Mitchell from Newark, New Jersey, was averaging 23 points per game at Snow College in Utah when he was kicked off the team for reasons that have not been disclosed. However there is a quote on an ESPN radio web site out of Las Vegas from his coach calling him a " bad team-mate". He went to High School at Oak Hill, in Virgina, where many prominent high school players are " parked", averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds in his senior year, then went to Monmouth Academy in New Jerseyfor one year where he averaged 24 points and 8 rebounds per game. He then signed with UNLV where he averaged 1.6 points per game in 21 games. He asked to be released from UNLV and he signed with Rider College. He sat out a year and never played for Rider, landing at Snow ( a Junior College) where he played for almost two years.

He has tremendous talent, but the circumstances of his travels in basketball so far and the circumstances of his departure from Snow have left many college coaches wary of his recrutiment. Hawaii will be the third Div 1 program he has attended, after two post high school stints. Before his problems at Snow, he was allegedly being recruited by BYU and Utah , among others.

I am not making any judgements on the kid, just reporting the facts. Everyone deserves a second or third chance, and his troubles appear to be basketball related, not criminal or even academic ( although you cant discount that possible issue, he must be eligible). Perhaps with the right coach and team, his attitude towards his coach and team-mates will improve, and he will allow his talent to shine thru. We will see.

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Betting Scandal- Is anybody surprised?

April 11th, 2011

It was just a matter of time before another college basketball betting scandal erupted. ESPN is reporting tonight that a former University of San Diego star player was indicted today, along with another player and former asistant coach, of attempting to fix college basketball games, including a USD game in Frebruary of last year.
According to the report, Johnson now plays for the Dakota Wizards, a development team for the NBA Memphis Grizzlies. USD plays in the West Coast Conference.

The question is this the tip of the ? Sports betting is such a huge industry that you knew something like this was going to happen, and its doubtful that only one game was involved.

The other player named is Brandon Dowdy who played at USD in 2006-2007, but finished his career at UC Riverside ( 2008-2010). Riverside is a member of the Big West, the Conference UH Basketball will join in 2012. There is some indication that a fixed game may have involved Riverside, which would be bad news for the Big West.

Stay tuned. This could get very ugly.

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Where in the World Is Coach Arnold

April 7th, 2011

If you listened to the final Hoopstalk show last night, you heard that Gib was supposed to join us. He called around 6:55 to say he was at the airport. Why? It seems he had gotten a phone call about an hour earlier from a coach about a recruit who had just decommitted from Iowa State and might be available if Gib could have a " face to face". So where was Gib going last night at 7 pm? Why, back to Houston which he had just left three days ago after being in Europe for ten days.

You say it might be fun to be a coach. Consider this event and rethink it.

One of things that I heard from just about everyone in Houston was what a great recruiter Gib is. He is willing to go anywhere at anytime to talk to a recruit. What he needs is a Division recruiting budget, somthing he doesnt have and the prior staff never had. Fortunately for UH, Gib doesnt let that get in the way of finding the best talent he can for this program. More to come

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No Winner

April 6th, 2011

Back from Houston. Sorry to say no one won our contest as no one had UCONN beating Butler. In fact, only one person had both UCONN and Butler in the final and that person had Butler winning.

If you read my column in the paper, you know my thoughts on the final game. Not much more to say about it. It was terrible. But what a season and Tournament it was. Nothing like college basketball.

Tonight is the last Hoopstalk on ESPN 1420. Hoping to have Gib on, maybe even in the studio. We will talk about recruiting and how next season looks for the Rainbows.

Only another blog or too this week before we shut down the blog until October. I hope you have enjoyed it. I know I have. I particularly want to thank all of you who took the time to respond. We might not always have agreed with each other, but that's what this blog is all about.

If you would like to see it back next season, let me know. They say for every person who responds, there are many many more who are reading it. I do have the program from the Final Four. What i will do is take everyone who responds to this email and put there name in a hat ( Final Four 2010 Duke)., I will pull one name. Good luck.

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The Worst Ever

April 4th, 2011

I hate to write it, but Butler's performance tonight was the worst i have ever seen in a Final Four. And UCONN was nothing to write home about. Walker did just enough and Oriakhi totally dominated the paint. Add lamb's second half, he almost outscored Butler by himself, and add in the dismal night for Matt Howard and Sheldon Mack, and it will hopefuuly be along time until another final like this. After a great tournament, this was a major disappointment. If it was a fight, they would have stopped it long ago.

This should not dimish what Butler did this year, but unlike last year when its last second shot didnt drop, this was a massacre. Credit UCONN's defense. Either Lamb or Oriakhi should be the MVP. Meanwhile, Cinderella will have to wait another year to find her prince

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Mack and Howard missing in action

April 4th, 2011

With under 6 minutes to play, Mack and Howard have not scored a point in the second half. Butler has made 9fg for the game. that's right, for the game. This game is over, mercifully

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