Archive for November, 2014

Experience Counts

November 18th, 2014

Last nite, or early this morning, High Point, a school from the Big South Conference, led by eleven returning players and 5 starters, outlasted UH as the Rainbow Warriors could not hold on to a 9 point lead in the waning minutes. Two ill-advised threes early in the shot clock, along with 4 turnovers, led to a breakout run for High Point and the Championship of the Rainbow Classic. Hawaii's inexperience reared its ugly head in the last five minutes, while High Point held its composure and won going away.

It was another poor shooting nite for the Bows. Four starters combined for 3-27 from the field. That's right. I would guess it may have set a record for woeful shooting by a starting five. Hawaii shot 17% from three.  If the three games are any indication, Hawaii is going to struggle from the field. Right now, there is no one player who can be counted on to score on any given nite.

On the other hand, Hawaii continued to play aggressive defense, had strong team rebounding, and showed an ability to slash to the hoop for lay-ups or fouls. Those fouls might not be called as often once the team does on the road, but it works at home.

I thought the two " big guys" played well last nite, at least in spurts. Thomas had 14 points ( almost all in the first half) and Jovanovic did a credible job guarding John Brown, the Big South Pre-season Player of the Year. But once again, the lack of depth upfront was evident ( that will change as Reyes is expected back this week).  Also the aggressive defense by the guards. caused both Bobbitt and Fleming to foul out.

For a midnite game, the crowd was exceptional. The students occupied mid court and were rowdy, loud, and organized. It gave the Arena the feel of really big-time college basketball. And for 35 minutes, they were treated to a spirited performance marred by a total breakdown down the stretch. With time, more practice, and experience, hopefully better decisions will be made in tight ball-games ( we saw some of that Saturday nite).

So its hard to be disappointed by the loss. The new-look Bows won 2 games and were in the third game until late. They played aggressive and exciting basketball ( maybe a little too exciting), and should win the remaining non-league home games  outside of the Diamond Head. Tomorrow's they should regroup against little brother, UH Hilo, and then meet the big bad Pitt Panthers from the ACC coached by former Hawaii assistant, Jamie Dixon, on Maui.  Then its on the road to Florida for a three game tournament against mid level competition.

By the time they return in several weeks, we will know much more about this team's ability to compete in the Conference. There is much to be happy about, but there are issues that need to be addressed if the team is to have a realistic chance to finish in the middle of the Conference. One thing is for sure. They will not be boring. Benjy has them flying all over the court. Now if they could only make shots

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We Are Back

November 17th, 2014

Well, I thought its about time to restart Hoopstalk for the 2104-2015 season. What a last few weeks its been for the program. Whatever you think about Gib's termination and Issac's departure, its time to rally around Benjy and the team. As a Regent chairing the Athletic Committee, I have been kept advised of the NCAA investigation and recent developments. All I can say is folks should  with-hold any final judgment until the NCAA Letter has been released and the facts are known. There has been much speculation about the investigation , both in the media and on-line, with some of it simply based upon rumor and leaks that may or may not be valid. I can assure everyone that the University is dealing withy this critical situation with the advice of outside legal counsel, experienced in NCAA matters, and everyone at UH wants the matter to be resolved so the program can move on.

Having said that, it was a good weekend for the team. Two wins, albeit against lower division 1 opponents, but no one really knew what to expect. Tonight's  mid-nite game against High Point should be a more competitive  against the best of the three visiting teams in the Tournament. High Point went to the NIT last year as the regular season champ from its Conference, the Big South, where it lost in the first round. They have the pre-season player of the year in John Brown, who has a future in professional basketball. He is the type of player who will give this year's edition of UH fits. he is strong, can play both inside and outside, and can rebound.

What we seen so far from the Rainbow Warriors is solid guard play, good team rebounding, and aggressive defense. There are still questions in my mind about the frontcourt and scoring, but the frontcourt questions may be answered once the team is at full strength. Reyes is expected back either tonight or Weds against Hilo and Missouri transfer Stefan Jankovic in mid-December.

Two players have impressed me so far. The first is Webster-Chan. He can score and play defense. He may be a little undersized, however, when he is asked to play the 4. And Aaron Valdes is much improved witness his 28 points against Pine Bluff.  Bobbitt has done a solid job at the point with good assists to turn over stats.

On the other hand, Quincy Smith is struggling. Saturday night he had 7 turn-overs and no assists. He is the most experienced point guard and maybe he is just a little slow in coming back from injury. Another guy slow to get it going is the one Senior and team leader, Garrett Nevels.. Garrett has yet to find his shot this year.

The home schedule before the Diamond Head is very weak. It includes two local Division Schools and 5 teams nobody has ever heard of.  Yes there are road games against Pittsburgh ( in Maui) and BYU, along with that Florida tournament with second tier schools, but I predict UH will win 7 of 8 home games before the Big West schedule kicks in.

Folks keep asking me how many games will this team win. Hard to say right now. I think they will be better than some think, but not as good as they might have been with Fotu.  I want to see how they do on the road and against better opponents. But as I said in the beginning, everyone should rally behind these guys. The crowds the first two nights were treated to exciting basketball, the students are attending in record numbers, and the team has shown it has rallied together in spite of all that is happening around them.

See you at midnite

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