By Brian McInnis
Hey all, hope your springs are sailing smoothly into summers. Been a while since the last entry, so I figure shotgun spread-style updates are in order for UH basketball.
Recruiting is obviously first on the docket. Coach Gib Arnold still has a scholarship to assign for 2012-13, and isn't about to give it away lightly at this point. The primary target of the spring, Aaric Armstead of Bullard High in Fresno, Calif., remains at the top of the list, and UH at or near the top of his. But before the parties can get him signed, Armstead needs a combination of grades and SAT scores to come back in the positive this summer. Essentially, UH is in a holding pattern as far as the shooting guard is concerned.
Those of you holding out for a Gerry Blakes pickup this summer are in for some disappointment, barring a last-minute 180 by the NCAA. It seems he will have to continue along the JUCO route and get his associate's degree to become D-I eligible. So Blakes might still become a Rainbow Warrior at some point — it's just very unlikely it will be anytime soon.
On the bright side, the biggest academic question mark among signed players seems to be moving toward eligibility. Fall signee Isaac Fotu is apparently well on his way to qualifying academically and is expected in during the late summer or fall. Stay tuned on that one.
Kamehameha's Dyrbe Enos is pretty much enrolled and set to join the team as a walk-on this fall. UH is said to have another player (likely a walk-on) coming from Australia. It isn't the son of UH hoops alum Brad Pineau, — though forward Dane Pineau, a senior this fall, is being recruited by UH for the future.
Two walk-ons from last season, Pii Minns and Tyler Brown, both went out for football in the spring. Consider them iffy to doubtful to return as hoops players.
There's been plenty of fan paranoia about Vander Joaquim's future with the team, given the departures of some of his teammates — some expected and some not — and Joaquim's blossoming talent.
The UH coaches have exuded calm about the Joaquim situation and have given indications that they fully expect him back. Until you hear otherwise, pencil Joaquim in as the starting center next year. However, it's a long time until August, and his progress with Team Angola will bear watching this summer.
The 6-10 center was most recently with his national teammates in Madrid, Spain, in preparation for an Olympic qualifying tournament in Venezuela, July 2-8.
It sounds like the 2012-13 schedule is close to being released. (I know, I know, we heard that a lot last summer, but UH seems to be on the ball this time.)
Arnold confirmed again on Friday that the marquee nonconference games are at UNLV and at home against Illinois, and whomever UH gets paired up with in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Arizona, East Tennessee State, Indiana State, Miami, Ole Miss, San Diego State, San Francisco). Don't have any more specific opponents at this time, but Arnold said the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic is completed and will make a return, including another ESPN Tip-Off Marathon game at about midnight local time.
The only game that is still being worked out, he said, is a neighbor island game on Molokai sometime in December that may or may not happen this upcoming season.
"I'd love to have Brandyn (assistant coach Akana) come back home," Arnold said. "And be the first Division I team to play on Molokai. I don't know if it's going to work out this year or next year, but we want to do it."
Arnold said the UNLV game would be the team's lone nonconference mainland game.
The NCAA-sanctioned Manoa Summer League begins June 16 and runs through early August. So far, the current UH players confirmed as playing are Christian Standhardinger and Jace Tavita. So will former 'Bow Bill Amis.
That's all for now. Enjoy your summers all.