Archive for April, 2012

More on Spearman // Recruiting update

April 24th, 2012

One out of four isn't bad, if it's the one you had your eye on all along.

The UH men's basketball team secured a commitment from only Indian Hills CC combo guard Brandon Spearman among the four recruits who visited the islands over the weekend. Indications are that two of the others — ex-Texas Tech guard Cameron Forte and Pasadena City College guard Givon Crump — are no longer in UH's sights. (Crump is believed to be bound for future Big West opponent Cal State Fullerton.)

The player believed to be UH's primary target at this point is Bullard High (Fresno, Calif.) 6-4 shooting guard Aaric Armstead. Armstead, another Chicago native, is on good terms with Spearman, and is a strong candidate to take a visit during the remaining weeks of the signing period.

The final player who visited, Pasadena High swingman Blake Hamilton, is apparently still a possibility to end up at UH. However, he also has Cal State Northridge and Northern Arizona as suitors, schools that likely offer a greater opportunity to play right away.

But, as UH coach Gib Arnold says below, Spearman was the primary target all along. He was the fourth UH signee overall for the 2012-13 season, and fifth new player if you include San Jose State guard Keith Shamburger, who is transferring and must redshirt a year. UH has one or two more scholarships to hand out for next year, depending on how Arnold assigns them to returning players.


Here's what Arnold had to say once Spearman's paperwork came through:

Q: Coach, what can you say in general about adding Brandon?

A: Brandon, with that group that came in last week, was our top choice there. We were pretty happy with when he told us he wanted to come. I just felt that he's a combo guard, he gives us a lot in that position. He gives us great leadership, great character, and the kid can play. He's athletic, and he brings a lot to the table. So we were really pleased.

Q: What was it like having Spearman and the other recruits work out with the team during their visit?

A: There's a new NCAA rule that allows us to work them out, so we (did). All the (visiting) guys were able to play with our team. We got great feedback from all the guys, but it was unanimous that they felt that Brandon could help us the most. And we (the coaches) definitely listened.

We got a couple scholarships left, and the group of guys we have right now are high-character guys, hard-working guys. We want to make sure we bring in those caliber players, and we got one of those. ... The feedback was unanimous that Brandon was a great fit. It solidified what we thought coming in, and after those two days there was no doubt that he was the right one. When he told us he wanted to come, that was great news for us.

Q: What are your remaining needs for next season?

A: I still think ... there's a couple guys that we're still involved with who we really like, who fit that mold of being athletic shooters. I think Brandon's a guy who can play 2-1, and we're involved with a couple players who can move up the chain a little bit, to 2-3-4. Those are the guys we're involved with now, who can really shoot it and also have a little more size than Brandon at that guard spot. That's something I want to get deeper at the wing position. Brandon obviously really helps us with that.

Q: Coach, a lot of guys put up big numbers at the JUCO level. As for Brandon (JUCO statistics: 11.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg) no one thing jumps out. Was that a product of him being on a winning/championship-level team (33-4)?

A: The one stat that blew me away was 33 wins and 4 losses, which is the best stat you can have. He was a leader on the team that was ranked No. 1 in the country for three months. Was the leader and best player. You can go to any JUCO and put up big numbers, but I want guys who come out of programs that win, and (he played for) the No. 1 team in the country. That's the most important stat to me. He won a state championship in Chicago, kid played on a big (Simeon) team that was really good. ... To me, if you're trying to build championship teams, then you'd better have guys who've won championships, that know how to do that. We've had a few guys here who've been able to put up numbers, and there are times where you bring in guys like that. But you also need to look at guys who know how to win. So, you say he doesn't have any stats that stand out? I beg to differ. ... I think (33) speaks for itself.

Q: Will more recruits visit this weekend?

A: Not this weekend, we're not going to have any guys in this weekend. But we do have a couple other guys who we've been involved with for quite some time. And we're working on having them come out in the next little while. And then I was involved with some kids overseas as well, kind of waiting on academics and stuff with that too.

Q: Anything else you can add about the recruiting outlook?

A: The guys we're still involved with have great range and are all very good athletes.

And those are guys, if we do feel we need to use that last scholarship, and if not, if we don't find the right, perfect fit, we'll save it for next year or later on in the summer or something.

One of the main, main focuses is that we bring in high-character guys that fit into where we want to go with this group. And so we're going to be very, very specific in that and really take a look at that when we make a final decision on the use of this last scholarship.


Oh, don't forget those of you who bought tickets, the UH basketball banquet is Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Ballroom.

At least 3 visiting

April 19th, 2012

Three known basketball recruits are taking official visits to the University of Hawaii campus this weekend, in what could be a pivotal time in shaping next year's team.

The prospective Rainbow Warriors flying in are ex-Texas Tech small forward Cameron Forte, Pasadena (Calif.) High senior swingman Blake Hamilton, and Indian Hills Community College sophomore guard Brandon Spearman.

A fourth player, Bishop Alemany (Calif.) high senior point guard Max Guercy, was originally slated for an official visit this weekend as well but is no longer, according to messages on his Twitter account.

It appears by targeting Forte (6-7) and Hamilton (6-5), UH is looking to get considerably more dynamic at the swingman spot — an element missing over the last couple of years. Forte is unproven at the college level, but still has four years of eligibility and could provide an immediate scoring punch (he averaged 30-plus points as a high school senior at McClintock high in Tempe, Ariz.). Hamilton is lean but could provide that lanky athletic presence UH missed out on last season in Dillon Biggs.

The 6-3 Spearman has a solid build and could bolster what UH lost in the backcourt.

That's three that are known — there might be more, and others on future weekends. UH coach Gib Arnold has been in Europe since the Big West Conference meetings last week, and is expected to be back in time to show the recruits around this weekend.

Will provide updates on the recruits when I can.

Shamburger speaks

April 9th, 2012

Former San Jose State point guard Keith Shamburger was looking for a change, that much was clear. Now he explains why.

A few days after news broke that he'd be transferring to UH, the one-time UH recruit answered a few questions about his impending move to Manoa. He averaged 13.1 points and 5.2 assists per game in 2011-12.

Q: What happened after your sophomore season at SJSU?

A: A couple days after the season, I asked for my release. I really didn't know which school I wanted to go to. I just wanted to sit down and just worry about school for a couple weeks. ... I just wanted basically to get away. To go as far as possible. I mean, Hawaii's a good fit, Hawaii has good coaches.

Q: That's interesting, because when you picked SJSU over UH, a lot of it had to do with being closer to your family, right? Now it sounds like you want some space?

A: I think it's best for me to get away, and I want to get away. I'm still going to be able to play at home (Los Angeles), with the Big West schedule that we have.

Q: What was it like being on the other side of things and playing UH from that standpoint for two years?

A: Being on the other side, I always talked about, when I came to Hawaii, how good the fan base was. How they support the team, and how Coach Arnold wants his players to fight. He wants to win games. I like that. I want a coach that's going to push me, make me work. And I feel Coach Arnold and his staff there will do that, and make me into a better player. All that came into consideration. When I was being recruited out of high school, I knew he could do that out of high school for me. But I was just too scared to go all the way to Hawaii for college when I was 17. Now I'm matured and ready to go out there on the island, play basketball and go to school.

Q: How do you think you'll handle sitting out games during the redshirt/transfer year?

A: I'm not worried about that. Pepperdine called me up a couple times, asked me to come back home ... Pepperdine was going to try to get me to play (immediately) because my grandma had just died, and move me back closer to home. I could have tried to get a year (exemption) to play next year right after I transferred. But I'm not worried about it. I'm looking forward to sitting out this year. I'm going to practice with the team, get used to the system that they have. I'm going to get used to playing with the players. This year is going to be a good year for me to just sit out, and watch, and learn and get better.

Q: When do you expect to get into the UH system and arrive here?

A: I'm going to be out there for summer school in July.

Q: How would you sum up this past season at SJSU?

A: It was real frustrating. I'd never been on a losing season like this before. I really felt a lot of things, being on the other side of the losing. I'm glad I saw it now and it's not too late to make a change. I don't even know what to say, why we had the losing season (9-22, 1-13 WAC) that we had. I know last year I played through a back injury the whole season. I'm not going to use that as an excuse why I had my low numbers and shooting percentage (33.7) and all, but I know I can do better at my shooting percentage. I'm working on getting my back checked on now. I'm going through that, and everything should be good.

Miles follows Thomas out

April 5th, 2012

To the surprise of few, sophomore point guard Bobby Miles became the second early departure from the UH men's basketball team this spring, after Joston Thomas.

There was speculation about this going around for the last few weeks, but it was tough to nail down 100 percent until tonight. It might have even been accurate to report it sooner, but in this line of work you're not supposed to take that chance until you know with total certainty. And that moment didn't happen until Wednesday night, when coach Gib Arnold gave the go-ahead for a UH press release.

Miles had the occasional bright spot in his two-year UH career, including the 10-assist game against Chicago State as a true freshman. He was lauded by Arnold as one of the most consistent and dependable players on the "Warriors to Asia" tour in August, leaving the possibility that Miles would start in the backcourt for the regular season.

He did get the starting nod in seven games this season, but the progression in D-I play the UH coaches hoped for didn't translate over. Ultimately, Miles' playing time was generally capped at about 10 minutes in any given game. Once he fell out of favor late in the season, his PT disappeared entirely.

He had his limits — shooting and speed among them — but he could still contribute, particularly on the defensive end, where he was underrated. He also generally took care of the ball, boasting an effective, if limited, assist-to-turnover ratio.

Miles has an affable personality that should help him blend in wherever he lands. If he is truly interested in finding a program closer to home (L.A.), a Big West school would make a lot of sense. We may not have seen the last of him in the islands.

Arnold now should have three scholarships to work with for the spring signing period. Picking up another point guard with one of those slots would seem to be a must now. Going into UH's first season of Big West play with just two point guards — Shaquille Stokes and Jace Tavita — would be dicey.