Archive for September, 2011

Hoopfest // Open tryouts

September 30th, 2011

Everyone remember the Hawaii men's basketball coaches and players performing a Polynesian dance on the Stan Sheriff Center court last year for the Ohana Hoopfest? Yeah, I thought so. No one could forget that if they tried.

Well, UH coach Gib Arnold pledged the hoops kick-off event will be back, this time in conjunction with homecoming weekend for UH football.

The "Ohana Homecoming Hoopfest" will be on Oct. 21 at the Sheriff, following the Wahine volleyball game against Utah State, and the night before the football team's homecoming contest against New Mexico State on the 22nd.

Unlike most "Midnight Madness" events around the country (on Oct. 15, when practices begin), the Rainbow Warriors will have full practices for nearly a week before the fan festivities.

Arnold wasn't coming clean — yet — with what events he has planned this year, but the look on his face promised something good.

"There will definitely be activities. There will definitely be a show," said a smirking Arnold.

Dana Takahara Dias' women's basketball team will also be involved.


For the second straight year, Arnold authorized open tryouts for UH students to try to make the team.

No one was added from the tryout last year, but who knows? Maybe there's a diamond in the rough out there.

This year's tryout is Sunday at noon at Gym 2. Those interested must complete a medical clearance form prior to the tryout. To fill one out/sign up, call director of basketball operations Scott Fisher at 956-6501 or e-mail Tryouts must be enrolled full-time at UH.


The Hawaii women's basketball team has been busy with workout sessions/open gyms as well. Takahara-Dias' squad will start official practices on Monday, almost two full weeks before the men are allowed to start. (The NCAA changed the rule before last season to give women's teams across the country a head start.)

The logical pick ...

September 19th, 2011

So, what to do when one of your assistant coaches decides to pick up stakes and move out with less than a couple months before the start of the season, as former UH coach Walter Roese did ?

You could hire from the outside, sure, and force yourself into a quick arrangement with somebody who'd have to get accustomed to everything from the players to the facilities to the trainers.

Or you could promote someone from within, someone with familiarity with all of the above and itching for a chance.

The logical pick is the team's director of basketball operations, Scott Fisher.

Fisher has considerable coaching experience in Australia's pro league and was never shy last season about voicing his input during practices when he thought it warranted — and was usually given Gib Arnold's blessing to do so. The UC Santa Barbara alum's booming voice is hard to ignore, and players would stop and listen.

The NBL (Australia's National Basketball League) Hall of Famer has the recruiting ties Down Under to justify the promotion, should he get it. He was essentially a third full assistant during the Warriors to Asia tour (which Roese missed), anyway.

Should it happen, expect Arnold to bump his most experienced assistant, Benjy Taylor, over to the No. 2 job as associate coach.

Will Arnold do it? We'll see — the official posting period for the job closes today (Monday), meaning a hire could be made anytime now — but the logical pick is right outside Gib's office.

Where's that sked?

September 8th, 2011

So what's the holdup with the Hawaii men's basketball team's schedule? We're roughly two months out from the start of the college hoops season, without anything to show for it.

The delay is basically this: Filling out the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic has been problematic, to say the least.

All assurances from Lower Campus are the schedule will be released, one way or the other, but it could be missing that key element longtime fans are used to. Yup, the long-running tournament may or may not take a one-year hiatus from the slate.

Granted, it is nothing like what it used to be, an eight-team event that — at one time — featured brand-name opponents. It went to a four-team, round-robin format at the start of the season two years ago with the advent of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

The teams originally slated to play in this year's Rainbow Classic (besides Hawaii) were apparently South Alabama, Illinois-Chicago and San Diego. At least one of those teams pulled out, however, causing the others to eventually follow suit and forcing UH to restart the process sometime last week. South Alabama is also out as UH's opponent in the ESPN College-Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, but the late-night game at the Sheriff is expected to remain at the same (11 p.m.) time against another opponent.

There is still some hope to have the Classic. Even at this late stage, there are still teams looking to complete their schedules. (Some smaller schools hold out for paydays from larger schools.) But UH is obviously not one of the latter, and attracting teams to come out to the islands for three games in early November has proven difficult.

Thus, the Rainbow Warriors may have to be flexible in how they put the finishing touches on the slate. A heretofore unplanned nonconference road trip might be in the cards.

So might a second Division II opponent (instead of the usual one). This season, the WAC  gave all its teams its blessing to schedule two D-II opponents in the regular season, if they wished, because of the WAC's drop from 16 regular-season games to 14 with the departure of Boise State. UH may take that route, as well.

So let's just sit tight, not panic, and see what the UH coaches serve up.


UH coach Gib Arnold said he'd be leaving in the coming days for recruiting in the next contact period, during which home visits are allowed. In addition to his usual stomping grounds in Los Angeles and the West Coast, the coach said he'd make an unspecified foreign stop and visit the U.S. Midwest and East Coast.

As of now, UH is expected to have two scholarships to replace: those of senior guard Zane Johnson and forward Dominick Brumfield, who will not be rejoining the team. That's also assuming Gerry Blakes and Dillon Biggs arrive after stints in prep school.

"We don't have a lot to replace, but we still are covering our bases," Arnold said.


Word was that Brigham Young-Hawaii star guard Jet Chang might leave early to play pro in China, but BYUH coach Ken Wagner confirmed today that Chang would return for his senior season.

Last year's D-II national runner-ups wouldn't be quite the same squad without Chang, who was offered unspecified terms by a Chinese Basketball Association team. Chang averaged 21.2 points on 46.1 percent shooting as a junior, and sizzled in the NCAA D-II tournament in carrying the Seasiders to the title game.

"They offered him ... they said it was a good offer. But he turned it down," Wagner said. "It's nice to have him back."