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.