By Brian McInnis
Make that two captivating summer league performances out of two for UH hoops newcomer Shaquille Stokes.
After going for 27 in his debut on Tuesday, Stokes followed it up with a 24-point outburst Thursday night in barely over a half of action with Wealth Strategy Partners. Stokes, who played for Army on Tuesday, suited up just before halftime with his unexpected new team and put on a show.
The 5-foot-10 freshman point guard from New York went right at former 'Iolani and Washington State standout Derrick Low of Electricians Hawaii, flashing and slashing his way to the basket for finishes several times and or pulling back for deadly 3-pointers. The unbeaten Electricians (6-0) got another win under longtime coach Artie Wilson, but not without surviving a hail of baskets from the plucky Stokes.
He got his pocket picked a couple of times by the veteran Low, but that's nothing to be ashamed of against a player of that caliber. Some of the Harlem native's finishes at the basket — a reversal and twisting shot off the backboard come to mind — were incredible.
"That's East Coast!" UH teammate Joston Thomas crowed from the sideline after a particularly nasty Stokes bucket.
Yes, it's just summer league, but there's plenty to be excited about with what Stokes showed so far. He's fearless going to the basket.
"I wasn't even supposed to play today, they just told me to get a shirt," Stokes said with a laugh. "I just played. I just felt good on the court, body loose. That (aggressiveness) is my game, but when I play with the (UH) guys, my game might be different. Zane (Johnson) can score, Davis (Rozitis). So we're going to be good, pretty good. Me at the point guard and Bobby (Miles), so it's been great."
Tyler McDaniels, the son of UH assistant coach Benjy Taylor, made his Manoa summer league debut tonight. He said he still plans to walk on with the Rainbow Warriors if he can pass a heavy courseload during this second summer session.
McDaniels had four points for National Fire Protection, content to take a backseat while his Fire teammate, Thomas, enjoyed a scoring binge of 37 points in his summer league debut. McDaniels, 6-foot-9, went to the 3-ball a lot. He played unselfish, sometimes looking to break his man down 1-on-1 but generally passing it around instead.
As for California prepster guard Brandon Jawato, who may be joining the team for the fall, we'll have more on him soon.
It was a huge contingent of UH players there tonight: Johnson, Trevor Wiseman, Stokes, Thomas, Jace Tavita, Pi‘i Minns, McDaniels. Others still came to cheer on their teammates: Rozitis and Miles.
Plenty of UH guys will be on display again on Saturday at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at the Manoa District Park gym, including another newcomer, Hauns Brereton.