Archive for October, 2015

A Battle Of Wills

October 30th, 2015

Are you surprised by the latest episode involving Issac Fleming. I'm not.

When Eran Ganot was hired by UH, I silently predicted ( safe that way), that at some point, sooner rather than later, there would be a clash of wills between Ganot and at least one or two players. Why? its simple. Eran publically stated , and privately to me, that he intended to bring a different culture to the program, both on and off the court.  He made it clear that he was going to expect his players to conduct themselves as student-athletes. That included going to class, not breaking team and University rules, and keeping their cool on the court.

A brief review of last year supports an argument that as good as the team was in wins and losses, some of the players were not exactly doing that well in other areas. Example one. In the entire league last year, there were 20 technical fouls . Hawaii alone had 12. That's right, UH had more "T"'s than all the other teams combined. Only one non UH player had more than 1 ( and that was 2). Fleming alone had 5 ( Bobbitt had 3 along with Nevels).

Off the court, we had the pot incident in Riverside in January where the team hotel complained about the odor of smoke and charged UH 500 dollars for a cleaning fee. No big deal according to the UH coach and AD at the time. I beg to differ. And was there any discipline imposed. None publically ( no suspensions, etc.  although maybe some confidential drug testing).

And there was lots of talk about possible academic issues including issues possibly affecting the team APR. Fortunately, those issues were apparently resolved by the end of the semester.

Before Ganot got the job, Fleming was quoted as saying he would leave if Benji was retained. And then after Ganot was hired, he repeated his desire to leave.. Why he didn't  only he knows, but perhaps he never got the " right" offer or the fact that he would have to sit out a year made a difference.

Make no mistake about it. The team needs Fleming's talent on the floor, but at what cost. Ganot has some tough decisions to make. Does he " bend" his rules or alter his coaching philosophy to keep someone like Fleming on the team, at a time where he doesn't really have the talent to replace him. or does he decide that wins and losses need to be balanced against the student in student athlete.

The best of both worlds would be a transformation by Flemings. Bobbitt and perhaps others had some of these issue last season, but at least on the surface, they are buying into Coach Ganot's philosophy  both on and off the court.  All we know from UH today is that Fleming is dealing with " personal issues" and no one knows when or if he will return. Lets hope whatever those issues are they can be resolved, both for the team and Flemings sake. He can make a significant contribution to this year's team, but its up to him.

Your thoughts?


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Hoops Talk Returns

October 28th, 2015

Hard to believe its almost time for a new season. Despite multiple requests, Hoops Talk returns as well.

What an offseason it has been. The settlement of the Arnold lawsuit, the on-going NCAA investigation soon to reach a conclusion, the new regime under Coach Ganot, a new system both on and off the court, and it all leads to the opening game just two weeks away.

The media preseason rankings came out today. Uh is predicted to finish 3rd behind Irvine and Santa Barbara and just ahead of Long Beach State. I agree with these predictions. Uh returns 4 starters on a team that was 5 minutes away from going to the NCAA.  One of those is Aaron Valdes who has been selected preseason All-Conference. One glaring omission from the all- conference teams is Roderick Bobbitt, who lead the Conference in steals and was second team last year.

I expect strong seasons from Jankovic and improved play from Fleming , Thomas, and Jovanovic. Not sure what we can expect from the new guys, but Sai Tummala will have to contribute right away.  At the Green-White scrimmage last week, some things were obvious. The good- a much more disciplined and structured offense; huddles on fouls, more on-court communication, and not unexpectedly, solid defense, although the new emphasis on hand checking will be an issue. Some things that may create some issues- inconsistent outside shooting and a lack of depth in the frontcourt.

Honestly, the schedule is quite weak. Outside of the Diamond Head, likely one of the weakest in Div 1 among decent Conferences. But that should translate into lots of wins out of the Conference, even if they are not fan friendly opponents.

Jackson and I are back with Hoops Talk starting tonight ( weds) at 7 pm on ESPN 1420 and continuing every weds thru the end of the season.  Our first quest will be Coach Ganot. The show this year will expand our coverage of Wahine basketball and Pac West basketball .

As those of you who follow this blog know, and I appreciate all of you,  we try to be as honest as we can, even if folks may disagree. Hoops Talk is meant to be an interactive blog and will only continue to succeed if you folks interact with  your comments. No opinion is censored so long as it is based upon facts and is not defamatory.

Should be a good year for UH basketball, both Men's and Women's. Stay tuned

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