By Brian McInnis
By now most of you have probably heard about Aaron Valdes, the La Jolla Prep guard/wing who supposedly committed to play for UH starting with the upcoming season.
Word of this spread when two of the more prolific college hoops recruiting twitterers, Josh Gershon of scout.com and Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop, both tweeted about the commitment almost simultaneously on Sunday afternoon.
Valdes confirmed to the Star-Advertiser he intends to commit to UH ... but after more digging, it was discovered that the situation is nowhere close to a done deal. I was compelled to re-word the breaking news on the Star-Advertiser website. Gershon later took his tweet down.
Can Valdes, an athletic slasher with some shooting ability (and a fantastic water polo player to boot) still end up at UH? Yes. Will we have to wait to find out? Yes. But he's not the only option for UH out there right now, so fans hungering for recruiting news should prepare themselves for multiple scenarios in the coming weeks.
The final day of the College Summer League regular season was hit or miss on Saturday night. Christian Standhardinger and Flipbooks Hawaii continued their dominant play with a 97-80 rout of Isaac Fotu and National Fire Protection, while Garrett Jefferson and Wealth Strategy Partners edged Hauns Brereton-and-Jace Tavita-less Central Medical Clinic 89-86.
Brandon Jawato of W.S. and Manroop Clair of Flipbooks were also missing in action on this night, so if you went to sate your thirst for UH hoops, Fotu vs. Standhardinger was the unquestioned highlight.
Tuesday's quarterfinal matchups are set: Third-seeded Grantco Pacific vs. sixth-seeded Central Medical Clinic, 6 p.m., followed by fourth-seeded National Fire Protection vs. fifth-seeded Wealth Strategy Partners. Flipbooks and Solar Universe received byes to the semifinals on Thursday.
Fotu continued his strong play in the loss, scoring 25 to Standhardinger's 29 for Flipbooks. It was an entertaining battle on the occasions the two UH power forwards matched up against each other — an occurrence that will be repeated every day in practices this fall. Fotu has a deft touch in the paint, while Standhardinger has a knack for outworking opponents. Both players had a degree of success against the other.
The two newcomers already have a bit of a feel for the other. Fotu laughed as he described their head-to-head meeting.
"In open gym we match up quite a lot," Fotu said. "But (Saturday) we played against each other and it's really fun playing with him. Defensively, he tries to flop on me. But it's good because that's the standard we're going to be playing against in college. Going up against some better defensive players.
"Christian can do quite a lot," he continued. "Outside, inside. I'm definitely getting a feel for everyone on the team. I know what their strengths and weaknesses are. ... He's always getting on the freshmen. On defense if you let your man score, if it's your responsibility he lets you know. But that's good, that's what we need."
Has Fotu enjoyed the summer league?
"Yeah, definitely. Getting back into shape, and the playoffs are coming, so it's time to go hard or go home."
Jefferson (14 points) went hard late in his game against Central Medical, helping his team leapfrog CMC for the fifth playoff seed. He had the go-ahead free throw with just under a minute left and got a steal on the ensuing CMC possession.
"It's always nice to see improvement on stuff that you've been working on," Jefferson said. "(The win) gives us confidence. We hadn't won two in a row ... it was just good for the team."
Jefferson also said he's enjoyed his summer league experience.
"It's been fun. You get to run up and down, play. I mean, there's nothing better than that."