By Brian McInnis
The Hawaii men's basketball team returns from the Valley Isle today riding high from its largest victory margin of the season in the 86-57 win over Chicago State on Maui.
However, the status of senior point guard Hiram Thompson is still unknown (he fell hard on his back going for a steal on a lofted inbounds pass). A team official said Thompson was scheduled to have an MRI today.
If Thompson cannot play against Florida State to open the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Wednesday, UH (7-2) will have only one ball-handler — freshman Bobby Miles. Against CSU (3-10), Miles had the first 10-assist game by a UH player since the 2007-08 season, when Matt Gibson had 11 against New Mexico State.
Miah Ostrowski won't be able to provide relief at the point until after the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.
After the game, UH coach Gib Arnold said he'd be in favor of playing games on neighbor islands in future years.
"I liked it. It was different," Arnold said. "The timing was difficult in that it was finals (week) and there were a lot of other things on our mind. But the idea of coming to a neighbor island, I think, is a great idea. And we really enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing in front of a new crowd and I thought the thought was fabulous. They were in the game, and they were knowledgeable, and it was a lot of fun for our guys. We appreciated it."
After the game, the Rainbow Warriors waved thanks to the crowd (announced officially at just under 1,000, but there appeared to be more as most of the 2,400-seat gym was full) and signed autographs.
Arnold was asked if coming to a neighbor island for a game was something he'd want to do on a yearly basis.
"Yeah, I think so," he said. "As a university and as a staff, I think it's important we go out and play in the neighbor islands. Get out there and let our fans come and see us live whenever they can. I'd think we'd rotate among the neighbor islands, but Maui would definitely be one of our first priorities, because the Civic Center here is a great venue. But again, we'd probably think we could do it at some of the other neighbor islands as well."
I could see why he'd want to return. Great crowd overall, and the tightness of the Civic Center really amplifies the noise. It wasn't on the level of say, the EA Sports Maui Invitational, but that was to be expected. Potentially the start of something good there.
Speaking of other neighbor island games, the UH women's basketball team (4-4) takes on No. 9 UCLA (8-0) tomorrow at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo tomorrow. The game will be on KKEA, 1420-AM. The Wahine follow against East Carolina (4-5) on Monday.
Congratulations to senior forward Bill Amis, who officially graduated today.