By Brian McInnis
Hey guys, here's the second Rainbow Warrior Q&A from the preseason. Reminder: just six days left until the Chaminade exhibition. And have a happy Halloween, everyone.
Today's player is sophomore forward Joston Thomas.
Q: What was your journey like coming to Hawaii as a junior college player?
A: I was kind of prepared for it. The College of Southern Idaho got me a lot better, though. It was a very humbling experience going to a junior college. Coming here with Coach Gib (Arnold), me and Coach Gib known each other for a long time. He’s been recruiting me since February, so I felt very comfortable coming in with him. I felt like this is a good program for me, because everybody is rebuilding. We got the freshmen coming in, they’re buliding theirself up. Get their name up in this program, along with everybody else. Coach Gib, a first-year coach, is building his name up. And we’re trying to turn UH basketball around from last year. I feel like this is a good opportunity for me and my teammates, along with the rest of the coaching staff.
On improving his game:
It’s all about behing humble and wanting to get better. If you look at every situation like you’re better than that situation, then you’ll never get better. You’ll stay at the same rate. That’s one thing that me and Coach Gib got together and talked about. I shot 46 percent from the 3-point line at the College of Southern Idaho. And I thought that was pretty good, almost 50 percent from the 3. Almost every other 3 is going in. First thing he (Gib) said, he want to better that. And he’s making me more versatile. I’m very versatile in a sense of playing both the 3 and the 4. He wants me to be solid at both positions. It;s very hard to do, but he’s giving me the opportunity to do that. And the only thing I can do is work hard. It’s just a work-hard experience for me.
What are your thoughts of being at UH so far?
I just like the program, period. I come here every day. Seven o’clock in the morning, working hard, in the afternoon, working hard. With all my teammates, cheering each other on. That’s what we taking it from.
How good do you think this team can be?
We’re very good in every position. We got three good point guards. Hiram (Thompson), he's experienced, Anthony (Salter), he was one of the top point guards in junior college. Bobby (Miles), he was nominated to be a McDonalds All-American. Zane (Johnson) went to the Sweet 16 (at Arizona) while I was still in high school. So he’s very experienced. You got Bo (Barnes), he’s shooting from 30 feet, consistently. Me, Bill (Amis), everything inside the 3-point line, Bill can shoot those with his eyes closed. Vander (Joaquim), very versatile, many moves in the post. Doug (Kurtz), 7-1, strong, rebounding machine. Setting screens. You go to the bench, you got Jordan (Coleman), extremely athletic. We really talented. We just gotta bring everything together. We bring everything together, we going to be a force.
On playing on a talented Montrose Christian (Md.) team that included Kevin Durant and Greivis Vasquez:
It was very intense. Very intense. You had no choice, but to go hard or get embarrassed. (laughs) So I mean, that was it. You were going to get embarassed that day, or you were going to go hard that day. You’d better come with a go-hard attitude.
I was a sophomore and he (Durant) was a senior.
He’s gotten tremendously better since he got in the NBA. He was very good in high school though. He was the No. 2 player in the country in high school. The thing with Kevin, he’ll tell you, basketball’s his life. When you come in there, he wants you to go hard and get better as well, as well as pushing you to get better. Greivis Vasquez is the same way. First mess-up, Greivis is down your throat. Kevin was kinda like, he was real humble, didn’t say that much. He just like showed them with his actions. But being around that type of talent, it just shows you how to carry yourself at a professional level and when it’s time to go on the court, it’s time to go on the court and play basketball. Nothing else matters, just basketball. And that’s what we did.
On adapting to Hawaii:
It’s different. It’s very different. The people is a lot friendlier. I like that. I love it out here. I love the fan base ... I love them. I’m just trying to please. I’m working hard to please the fans.
On Arnold's coaching style:
The way Coach Gib coaches, it fits my game to a tee. There’s a lot of things I can do out there. I can come off screens for the shot, I can come off screens to the basket. I can post up. I can knock down the open jump shot. And that’s the way he plays, the way he wants us to play. That’s what he coaches. Along with everybody else. Everybody else can do the same thing. So I think, he is the coach for me.