By Brian McInnis
Hawaii coach Gib Arnold made a rare after-season appearance on KKEA 1420-AM's Call the Coach Show on Tuesday amid several offseason happenings for his program.
Highlights include Arnold saying he has two scholarships remaining for next season; stating that a game against Pittsburgh on Maui before the EA Sports Maui Invitational was likely; and saying his contract situation still has not been resolved.
Here's a sampling of Arnold quotes on some of the topics discussed, with questions asked mostly by host Gary Dickman and a few by fans calling in.
On signees Isaac Fleming and Roderick Bobbitt: "Both of them are really big athletic guards, something we haven't had since we've been here. They're both combo guards, but Roderick Bobbitt is more of a point guard."
On scholarships available: "I have two scholarships remaining for next year."
On what he needs to fill out the 2014-15 roster: "I always like best player available. I'm not a big guy on positions. ... If you look to where we're the thinnest … we're thinnest at the bigs."
On Negus Webster-Chan: "He's put on almost 20 pounds of muscle since he's been here. ... He could play the point for us. I have no problems with him doing it … but we're looking at him more at small forward."
On Keith Shamburger's departure: "You know, i'm just grateful for what he did for the program here. he played a big role in us winning our 20 games this year, which doesn't happen very often. He had some big games for us… that UC irvine game he made that miraculous shot. He did have some ups and downs throughout the year but overall I thought he was really consistent. ... He's looking for something a little different and I support him."
On player movement in college basketball: "There's a lot of reasons. … for everybody it's a little different. It's an epidemic. It's something everybody is affected by. ... Utah State … lost their entire team. It happens. I think it has to do with the culture. Very few players play for one high school anymore."
On scheduling Pitt for a game on Maui in 2014-15: "Jamie (Dixon) and I have agreed to it. It's just a matter of getting it done. … We've agreed to a date and time. I think everything's a go there. … We still have to put the contract together. We've talked about a home-and-home with Pittsburgh as well (the following year)."
On trying to schedule Kentucky: "We talked to Cal (John Calipari) about coming out here … he wanted to do it. He wanted 40 rooms. … it was something we wanted to do, but … you do the numbers, we'll have to play at Aloha Stadium to break even."
On Wichita State and Colorado playing in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: "I'm a big Wichita State fan. I just love what they've done there and how they've done it. ... Colorado's made a name for themselves and done a great job in the Pac-12. I'm exctied. I'm looking forward to those games."
On the NCAA's proposal for unlimited meals for student-athletes and what that might cost schools: "I got no concern. I understand that we gotta figure out how to raise some money, and we gotta go out and make it happen. ... These student-athletes should have a great training table and they should be fed the right food. Our guys unfortunately sometimes skimp by a little bit …. We gotta just find a way. We will. These guys need to be fed, and they need to be fed right."
On his unresolved contract situation: "You know, I have not signed a contract. We have a lot of meetings and … I thought we were in an agreeable place. ... As of this time, I have not received anything written or anything across my desk. ... I would like to sign a contract, you bet I would. Of course I would. I've got five kids. I would like to stay here.
On whether his contract comes up in recruiting: "Every time. Every time. It's a big deal. … Every single home visit. That's a big topic. There's coaches out there who can use that against you. ... But I'm confident that what we agreed upon earlier will make it. I don't know with whom it's at. I don't deal with that. ... I don't want to get into a situation where you fight over this or that. I just want to a coach."
On his philosophy fouling up three in the Northridge loss in Big West tournament: "It does change a little bit depending upon a number of variables. I don't think there's any one way. ... Coaches go back and forth on it. You gotta look at a couple things. One, have they been hitting shots. … Are they hot, have they been knocking down 3s. The second thing is, do you have free throw shooters that once you (inbound) … can those guys go down and knock down two free throws. This year I had free throw shooters. I'd like to get it into to Keith and to Garrett (Nevels). ... In the past, on a couple of times, my worst free throw (shooters) were my point guards."
On having players who appeared to be worn down at the end of recent seasons: "I did feel that we have worn down. One of our mantras going into the next year is 'finish strong.' ... I do think we need to, all the decisions I'm making early now are so we finish strong. I think we need to get deeper into the bench. ... I think you're going to see more guys play for me next year. I want to make sure we don't wear down. ... Even though the travel is not quite as far (as the WAC), we still travel by far more than anyone else in the country."
On whether Aaron Valdes will receive a scholarship next year: "I've given Valdes an academic goal, and if he hits that he will be on scholarship."
On the ongoing NCAA investigation: "You know, I'm really not allowed to talk a whole lot on that. … But I can reiterate from before, we did find something that didn't look right. When I found out about it, I immediately called Ben Jay. ...We went through the process. ... Once we found out a mistake was made, we did everything we were supposed to do. ... We found out now it was against the rules. We invited (the NCAA) in and opened up our books and records. When they come in, it's not like a little chat. You're getting interrogated over one thing. ... It's a new thing for me. ... They told me it will be taken care of shortly."
On reflecting on last season: "You know, just really proud of this team. Again, to win 20 wins was a big deal for us. I liked how the seniors stepped up and became leaders. Liked the development of the young guys. My guys continue to rip it up in school ... setting academic records. I was pleased. It was one of those years I really felt good every time we went to practice. ... I think we have a really good program right now and our goal is to go from good to great."