Archive for June, 2011

Familiar faces in draft

June 23rd, 2011
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While critics have disparaged this year's NBA Draft as watered down, and many of the top 10 picks were unrecognizable foreign players to the average hoops fan, a remarkable statistic emerged as the names were called today.

Of the first 18 players chosen for the 2011-12 NBA season, eight appeared in games played in Hawaii over the last two seasons, including picks 8 through 12.

Here's a breakdown:

No. 2 pick: Derrick Williams, So. PF, Arizona, to Minnesota Timberwolves. Hawaii tie: 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational. Performances: 25 pts, 8 reb vs. Wisconsin; 11 pts, 9 reb vs. Colorado; 9 pts, 4 reb vs. Vanderbilt.

No. 8: Brandon Knight, Fr. PG, Kentucky, to Detroit Pistons. Hawaii tie: 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational. Performances: 13 pts, 3 ast vs. Oklahoma; 24 pts, 4 reb vs. Washington; 6 pts, 5 ast vs. Connecticut.

No. 9: Kemba Walker, Jr. PG, UConn, to Charlotte Bobcats. Hawaii tie: 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational. Performances: 31 pts, 3 stl vs. Wichita State; 30 pts, 4 ast, 3 stl vs. Michigan State; 29 pts, 6 ast, 2 stl vs. Kentucky.

No. 10: Jimmer Fredette, Sr. PG, BYU, to Sacramento Kings. Hawaii tie: Nonconference home-and-home series against UH in 2009 and 2010. Performances: 20 pts, 8 ast at Hawaii; 16 pts, 2 ast vs. Hawaii.

No. 11: Klay Thompson, Jr. SG, Washington State, to Golden State Warriors. Hawaii tie: 2010 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Performances: 28 pts, 4 reb, 2 stl vs. Mississippi State; 20 pts, 4 ast, 3 stl vs. Baylor; 31 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast vs. Butler.

No. 12: Alec Burks, So. SG, Colorado, to Utah Jazz. Hawaii tie: 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational. Performances: 11 pts, 6 reb vs. Gonzaga; 19 pts, 4 reb vs. Arizona; 13 pts, 4 reb vs. Chaminade.

No. 16: Nikola Vucevic, Jr. PF, USC, to Philadelphia 76ers. Hawaii tie: 2009 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Performances: 10 pts, 8 reb vs. Western Michigan; 15 pts, 7 reb, 2 stl vs. Saint Mary's; 7 pts, 7 reb vs. UNLV.

No. 18: Chris Singleton, Jr. F, Florida State, to Washington Wizards. Hawaii tie: 2010 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Performances: 6 pts, 12 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl vs. Hawaii; 28 pts, 9 reb vs. Butler; 17 pts, 10 reb, 2 ast, 3 blk vs. Baylor.

Others who appeared later in the draft who played in Hawaii sometime over the last two seasons were Butler's Shelvin Mack, No. 34 to the Wizards; Maryland's Jordan Williams, No. 36 to the Nets; Wisconsin's Jon Leuer, No. 40 to the Bucks; Kentucky's Josh Harrellson, No. 45 to the Hornets; College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock, No. 46 to the Lakers; Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins, No. 53 to the Magic; and lastly, Washington's Isaiah Thomas, No. 60 to the Kings.

That's 15 of 60 (25 percent) of the draft. The vast majority of their appearances is thanks to the combo of the well-established Maui Invitational and the young-but-promising DHC bringing in solid teams.

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Also, former UH forward Bill Amis should be poised to sign with a team (most likely in Europe) in the near future. Stay tuned for that.

Asia trip spots still open

June 21st, 2011
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Panda Travel originally forecast about 100 seats available for the "Warriors to Asia" tour with the Hawaii men's basketball team in August, with payment due today.

But turnout hasn't been quite what was hoped to this point, with about 30 booked for the official tour group, a representative of Panda said.

The deadline for placing orders for trip has been extended at least a week. The cost for the full tour, which follows the team on every stop starting in Shenzhen and ending in Osaka on the way back (Aug. 5 to 21), is just over $5,000. Some of that cost goes toward fundraising for the team's expenses.

So if you have that cash to burn and you're on the fence about going, there's still some time. Call John DeFreitas at 738-3573 to place an order.

UH all in for NCAA summer league

June 12th, 2011
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Fans of the annual NCAA Summer League at the Manoa District Park are in for a treat this year. The Hawaii men's basketball team's participation is heavy with at least one current player on each of the six teams' rosters. Not everybody on the 2011-12 team is in, but it's most of them. There are also several former Rainbow Warriors of recent vintage, including Julian Sensley, Bobby Nash and others.

The league starts up on Thursday, but keep in mind that all of the UH players haven't arrived yet for the 2011-12 season. Many will be coming in closer to the July 5 start date of the second summer school session, and will join their teams at that point.

My colleague Cindy Luis received a copy of the rosters. Here's the breakdown:

Army: Gerry Blakes, Hauns Brereton; Central Medical: Vander Joaquim; Electricians Hawaii: Zane Johnson, Trevor Wiseman, Pi‘i Minns; Kainoa Chu*; Grantco Pacific: Davis Rozitis, Bobby Miles; National Fire Protection: Ronnie Stevens, Joston Thomas; Wealth Strategy Partners: Dillon Biggs.

* possible UH walk-on

Trip prices set

June 8th, 2011
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Panda Travel has announced its prices for the Hawaii men's basketball "Warriors to Asia" tour in August, which is open for fans to accompany the team through several locales in China and Japan.

Prices are a bit higher than initial projections, but the following includes airport tax and fuel surcharges and the $175 China entry visa. These appear to be set, but the latest itinerary indicates that these prices and the itinerary are still subject to change.

Current pricing for the full tour, Aug. 5 to 21, comes out to $5,143. That includes two practice games against international World University Games teams in Dong Guan, and six full-fledged games for the rest of the tour through Shanghai, Beijing and Osaka. Looks to be plenty of sight-seeing time along the way, with stops like the Great Wall, Tiananmen's Square and the Forbidden City.

There are two variations of a half tour from Aug. 5 to 14. One has five total games and ends in Shanghai (total cost $3,666) and the other has four total games and ends in Hong Kong (total cost $3,420).

These costs include airfare, hotel accommodations, some meals, all game admissions and ground transportation to major stops on the itinerary. An English-speaking travel guide is included.

Per Panda Travel, a $500 down payment (non-refundable) is mandatory with all orders. Final payment to Panda Travel is due by June 21. The tour cap size is about 100.

All travelers must have a valid U.S. passport good through at least six months beyond the return date. Contact John DeFreitas (who has been most helpful through this process as everything came together) at 738-3573 to inquire about orders.

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As for UH coach Gib Arnold's contract, nothing appears to be imminent. A source indicates that, though the target date for the new contract to go into effect is still July 1, the contract could be finalized after that date and be made retroactive to start July 1 anyway.

Trip update

June 1st, 2011
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The Hawaii men's basketball team's upcoming trip to Asia is still a lock, but parts of the travel itinerary (scheduled between Aug. 9 to 21) may change. That's why Panda Travel has yet to announce its travel packages for fans who wish to accompany the team through China and Japan on most or all of those dates.

Panda Travel estimates the cap size on the tour group at 100 or just over that. The ballpark cost estimate is between $3,000 to $4,000, but that's all it is at this point — an estimate. It could be higher in the final package. Reservations haven't been taken yet, but it sounds like things are close to finalization.

In other words, if you plan to go, stay frosty. Those spots could fill up quickly; there's been a lot of interest.

Remember, to see a general outline of the trip schedule (which could change), go to www.warriorstoasia.com.

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As for UH coach Gib Arnold's new contract, indications are that most of the major points of negotiation (salary, contract length) are close to being wrapped up, and the dealings at the moment are in the numerous smaller points (boilerplate language) that exist in coaches' contracts.  The idea is for Arnold's new contract to go into effect on July 1.