October 31st, 2011
of all the preseason basketball magazines, the one that i think is head and shoulders above the rest is Blue Ribbon. Its not cheap, but its reports on every team are detailed and, for the most part, accurate. You cannot buy it on the newsstand, but you can order it online.
I wont detail everything Blue Ribbon says about the 2011 version of the Rainbows, but here is a summary.
First, Blue Ribbon provides a grade in four areas. Back-court; Bench/Depth;Front-court; and Intangibles ( coaching, etc). Hawaii's grades are, respectively, A-: B;B+: and B+. Pretty darn good.
The article mentions some of the off-season issues, such as the " investigation, ( still not reported publicly), the recruiting issues with four recruits not admitted, and the hold-up on the contract, but it has generally very positive things to say about the team's prospects for this year.
It states that Hawaii could finish in the top half of the league. It discusses Zane Johnson, Vander and Stokes as keys to the team, along with Miah. It quotes Gib as talking about the depth at Guard with backups Miles and Tavita, and mentions the strong Asia trip for Thomas and what everyone hopes is a change of attitude.
It predicts replacing Amis will be difficult ( no question), but states once the Hawaii " big-men" get " comfortable" and the WAC season begins. Hawaii could contend as Vander and Johnson will make it hard to defend Hawaii's inside-outside game.
And finally, Blue Ribbon says give Gib a " round of applause " for last year's success, but " demand" more of him this season as Hawaii tries to challenge Nevada, Utah State, and New Mexico State. I think Gib welcomes that challenge.