By Brian McInnis
Tyler Brown, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound power forward from Honaker, Va., will walk on with the Hawaii men's basketball team next season. The freshman out of the IMG Academy in Florida could provide the team with a little extra muscle and hustle down low in the wake of the news that freshman-to-be Ronnie Stevens will not be joining the team due to academics.
Brown's started open gym workouts with his new Rainbow Warriors teammates in preparation for their upcoming trip to Asia next month.
"I like to play in the post, I'm probably a 4 or a really short 5," Brown said. "I'm more of a post player, I feel like I've got a pretty good hook shot. ... I can hit the 15-foot jumper when I need to, I prefer to battle down low. I'm usually a rough player, physical."
"(With the UH guys) it's went well, I'm usually more of the hustle guy. You know, the one that grabs the rebounds and tries real hard, sets the screens. I really like setting screens and the pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll. I set pretty good screens."
After averaging about eight points and six rebounds in 15 minutes per game as a senior at Honaker High, Brown decided to go to the IMG Academy for a year before going out for college.
"I was going to go to a local Division II school, but I figured I'd give it a try at Division I and see what I got, so here I am. I called the coaches and they told me to come on down. Once I got down here, they said I might as well stay and go China with them."
"Hawaii is a place I always wanted to go," Brown added, noting he'd never been here before. "When I was a senior in high school I always used to joke about, it'd be nice to go to school in Hawaii. ... (At IMG) the more I thought about it, the more I thought I'd like to try it. I really like the weather here. Florida was really nice, and I probably couldn't make it anywhere else."
Though UH has lost two 2011-12 signees to academic ineligibility, UH is putting together quite the walk-on crew. Last year's walk-ons, guards Pi‘i Minns and Jace Tavita, are joined by 'Iolani graduate Kainoa Chu (who is rehabbing a recent leg injury) and Brown. Shooting guard Brandon Jawato may or may not be promoted from walk-on to a scholarship player, and forward Tyler McDaniels, the son of UH assistant Benjy Taylor, is questing to be a walk-on by clearing some summer school classes.
Some unexpected good news: I was recently informed the paper has committed to sending me to China and Japan for the team's Asia tour on Aug. 5 to 21. Looking forward to providing the readership with coverage from afar.
It's becoming a pretty intimate tour group — it seems an earlier figure of "about 30" fans going on the Panda Travel package was generous. That figure is down to about 13, though there is an unknown number of fans going on their own travel plans.