By Brian McInnis
As bright an early signing period as it was for the Hawaii men's basketball team, news on the personnel front wasn't all positive.
Morningside (Calif.) High graduate Gerry Blakes will not be able to join the Rainbow Warriors over the upcoming semester break, as he continues to focus on academics at Citrus College in California. UH coach Gib Arnold was previously optimistic he could arrive midway through the season.
Right now, the combo guard is greyshirting and is not playing for Citrus' basketball team. An option is having him redshirt next season at Citrus in working toward an associates degree and joining UH down the road. It's believed UH is still at the top of his list, but he's been tantalizingly close to coming for what seems like a year and it's not happened yet. He could theoretically still arrive at Manoa with all or most of his years intact, but it will be more "wait and see" on this one for the foreseeable future, it seems.
If there's a silver lining, it's that even had UH managed to get Blakes in during December, it would have been extremely unlikely that he'd play in games this season.
It also seems that would-be walk-on Tyler McDaniels, the son of associate head coach Benjy Taylor, will not join the team at semester break, either.
However, UH is attempting to get early period signees Orel Lev of Israel and Isaac Fotu of New Zealand in at the semester break, Arnold said, though neither is a sure deal to be admitted by then. If one or both makes it in this season, they would redshirt the rest of 2011-12 as they get accustomed to UH's system.