By Brian McInnis
Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!
After beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday, most of the 5-0 UH basketball team spent their turkey Thursday at coach Gib Arnold's house. This morning, the Rainbow Warriors were back at practice in preparation for their first road trip of the season.
UH leaves for Cal Poly on Sunday night. They play Wednesday in San Luis Obispo — no easy place to get to. The team arrives in Los Angeles early Monday morning and must bus for about 4 hours north.
The Mustangs (2-2) beat UH soundly in Honolulu last year in the annual BracketBusters game. But this season CP-SLO has lost to both a Division II team (Cal State Monterey Bay) and Montana State, which UH defeated in its season opener.
UH follows against No. 23 BYU on Saturday, Dec. 4 in Salt Lake City.
No Anthony Salter at practice today. It was not immediately apparent why he wasn't there, but he met with Arnold following the session. Will update when I can.
UPDATE: Arnold said Salter "was working through some personal things," and that he was not being disciplined. He was unsure if the junior point guard would return for tomorrow's practice.
Some final thoughts from the EA Sports Maui Invitational:
>> Great tournament overall. It was a coming out party for Connecticut and its junior point guard, Kemba Walker, who leads the country in scoring. Walker played out of his mind all three days to lead his team to the title. His dynamic scoring ability — he put up all kinds of floaters, pull-up jumpers, and step-back shots — was a pleasure to watch.
>> Those Kentucky fans are hardcore. The noise they generated was something to behold in the tiny Lahaina Civic Center.
>> For the first time all season, the Wildcats looked like they missed Enes Kanter. Kanter, a top draft prospect, was ruled ineligible shortly before the season for receiving improper benefits with his Turkish team. In UK's first four games of the season (and first two on Maui) freshman forward Terrence Jones seemed ready to make up the difference. That is, until UK met UConn. Besides Jones, no one looked anything special for the Cats.
>> Chaminade and its diminutive point guard, Steven Bennett, deserved to win a game at the tournament. The Silverswords played well most of the way, and taking down Oklahoma is a great feat after nearly knocking off No. 2 Michigan State on the first day.
'Swords coach Matt Mahar had a great line to close his postgame press conference after beating OU: "I'm just glad to be part of a press conference longer than 20 seconds."
Women's basketball fans, don't forget that the Rainbow Wahine play today at 7 p.m. against North Carolina Central in the first round of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown.
The other games in the eight-team tournament are already underway today. No. 15 North Carolina (not to be confused with N.C. Central) crushed Washington State 93-55 in the tourney opener.
Check out Jason Kaneshiro's story in today's paper for more information.