Archive for July, 2012

The Commit That Wasn't ... Yet // Fotu vs. Standhardinger

July 30th, 2012
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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.

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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."

The 'Roop Appears

July 26th, 2012
By



It's been a long time coming, but Manroop Clair finally made his College Summer League debut on Thursday night for league leader Flipbooks Hawaii.

It probably wasn't the introduction to his long-range skills any UH fan had in mind in the 128-93 blowout of Central Medical ... but at least the UH freshman guard got on the court. Some. Clair, by my count, went 1-for-7 for three points (a lone swished 3) in about 9 minutes of total play time. He was obviously being worked in gently coming off his ankle sprain that's shelved him almost since he arrived at the start of July.

The freshman understandably declined an interview after his brief showing, but his Flipbooks teammate Christian Standhardinger (32 points) was more than happy to speak for him.

"Manroop is an amazing player. Very good point guard. He's just gotta get used to those rims here," Standhardinger said. "His shot always looked good, it was just off 1 inch or something like that. In another time, they all drop. He makes shots from all over. He just started (in workouts/open gym) two days ago. He did pretty well. He brings great energy, and what I really do like is his intensity, playing hard, which I like to play with."

Standhardinger, not one to let what he perceives as a missed call go by even in a 40-point summer league blowout, earned a tech for his trouble late in the game. He was ejected from a game for getting into it with another player a couple weeks ago, as well.

"I gotta gather my emotions and that's what I will work on and not do in a Division I game, because there's just too much on the line," he said.

Chaminade's Leon Ballard added an impressive 31 points in the win for Flipbooks (8-1) which has locked up the top seed in next week's playoffs going into its regular season finale vs. National Fire Protection on Saturday. Brett Caldwell, also of Chaminade, added 22 points with several high-flying dunks.

UH senior Hauns Brereton had 28 for CMC (3-6), which was again with a bare-bones roster of five players. He had to force up a bevy of tough shots in defeat.

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There was a bizarre finish to the first game, a 108-107 overtime victory for Wealth Strategy (2-7) over Grantco Pacific (5-5). Grantco led by one in the game's final moments with the ball, but called timeout ... when they had none remaining.

No, Chris Webber was nowhere to be seen in the building.

William Broadus (44 points) of W.S. stepped to the line and made both technical shots for the game's final points, and Grantco was unable to muster a winning shot in the final seconds.

The UH tandem of Garrett Jefferson (26 points) and Brandon Jawato (19) helped W.S. to its second win.

UH alum Geremy Robinson led Grantco with 44 points of his own. Caleb Dressler added 25 in the loss.

Wealth Strategy and Central Medical cap off the regular season with the 7:30 game on Saturday.

Summer League Tuesday Lite

July 25th, 2012
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I'll say up front I wasn't able to get to the Manoa District Park gym until the second half of the second College Summer League game tonight, so my observations were limited.

The first game was an absolute shootout, won 131-129 by Central Medical Clinic over Solar Universe. However, CMC had only two or three players at the start of the game and had to borrow a few from Solar ... which ended up costing Artie Wilson's team a win. Very generous of them, though, to accommodate a game instead of forcing a forfeit; it's more about getting games in and less about the records, anyway.

Big man James Williams (formerly of Long Beach State) rumbled for 35 points, UH senior Hauns Brereton scored 30 and UH team manager Nick Milan added 27 for CMC (4-4). Of those three, only Brereton is actually a CMC player. Nahshon George scored 26 in the loss for Solar.

Solar Universe ended its regular season at 4-6 and will play in the first round of the playoffs next Tuesday. The other five teams in the league still have games to play Thursday and Saturday; Solar requested its byes at the end of the regular season.

In the second contest, Grantco Pacific defeated National Fire 109-103 behind 29 points from Geremy Robinson and 25 from Ryne Holliday. UH forward Caleb Dressler added 19 and UH guard Michael Harper 13.

Will have a more detailed report on Thursday, for Grantco Pacific vs. Wealth Strategy and league leader Flipbooks Hawaii vs. Central Medical. Hopefully CMC can field a full team this time.

Iron Men of Summer League

July 21st, 2012
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It was surely coincidence. And it's definitely happened before, here or there. But having back-to-back games at the College Summer League played with one team suiting up just five guys ... well, it was at once unfortunate and remarkable.

Particularly in the first game, when Grantco Pacific played without two of its best players — Julian Sensley and Geremy Robinson — and still beat Solar Universe 111-101.

"Bit of a surprise," quipped freshman UH guard Michael Harper after he hit four 3-pointers and dropped 24 in the win. "We still managed."

Grantco's win to snap a three-game losing streak, with two of its best guys away in Las Vegas no less, was pretty inspiring. UH freshman center Caleb Dressler had perhaps his best outing with 28 points and Harper spaced the floor well with his shooting. UH alum Ryne Holliday started lighting it up from long range and finished with 25, and Chaminade's James Francisco should be commended for keeping his team running the whole 40 minutes. Coach Gilbert Hicks was ecstatic and animated on the sidelines.

Solar cut a 13-point Grantco lead to one in the second half, but the resolve of Grantco (5-3) was unwavering this time. Solar (4-5) was coming off a 46-point rout of National Fire two days prior, but couldn't muster the late-game shooting it needed.

"I was scared (of the comeback) but we worked well as a team at the end," said Dressler, who through these games and UH's workouts appears in better shape than when he arrived at the start of the month. "They came in the game thinking they would destroy us."

Instead, it ended with the crowd at the Manoa Rec Center gym giving the upset winners a nice round of applause.

"We just tried to get defensive stops, hog the ball, milk the clock," Harper said.

There's an art form to conserving energy with such a short (in this case, nonexistent) bench. Grantco dropped back on almost every teammate's free throw and made smart use of its timeouts.

"Any points we could slow down ... we'd stay back and catch our breath," Dressler said. "(My conditioning) is getting better. It's nowhere near what I want it to be, but it's 100 percent better."

It was frustrating for Solar, which missed a golden chance to post a winning record with only one regular-season game left. Bobby Nash scored a team-high 28.

"They came to play," said UH junior Brandon Spearman, who finished with 12 points for Solar in the loss. "Caleb's been playing real strong (in open gym) this week. Mike too. ... (Going against an outmanned team) you just play it like every game. But you gotta give it to those guys."

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Amazingly, it was more of the same in the second contest.

Central Medical Clinic momentarily dropped to four players when Brad Anderson went out with a sprained ankle against National Fire Protection. Derrick Low, watching after playing for Solar in the first game, was conscripted from the sidelines to suit up for CMC ... and it worked for a time.

But Isaac Fotu was the reason there would be no back-to-back wins for five-man teams.

National Fire kept lobbing the ball inside to the incoming UH freshman, and he delivered time after time to finish with 31 points in a 114-109 NFP victory.

Fotu has been a reliable presence in the league. When his teammates are looking to get the forward the ball inside, something good almost always happens. The 6-foot-8 New Zealander has exhibited a deft touch around the basket, both receiving passes and dishing back out when necessary. He capped off his night with a tip dunk in the final minute to ice the win.

"I had my size advantage against them and I tried to use that," Fotu said.

As for the hands ... (which are massive, by the way)

"People say I have soft hands," he said, smiling and holding a huge mitt up for inspection. "It's a good compliment to have. But I wouldn't be able to do it without those good passes from my teammates."

UH senior Hauns Brereton scored 42 for CMC (3-4) in a losing effort. It was his third 40-point game of the summer. Kyle Pape added 24 for CMC.

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The summer league regular season concludes next week with two games each on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (6 and 7:30 p.m.) The playoffs happen the following week.

Solar Eclipse

July 20th, 2012
By



It was heading for an underwhelming night of College Summer League action at the Manoa District Park gym on Thursday night.

The first game, Flipbooks Hawaii's 101-94 defeat of Wealth Strategy, was ragged the entire way and would have drawn boos from a harsher crowd. The second contest was a 124-78 blowout of National Fire Protection by Solar Universe that was decided about 10 minutes into the game.

Solar was unstoppable on this night. Dyrbe Enos (14 points) came off the bench and hit several 3s to help build a lead, and Brandon Spearman got in on the act with 22 points, showcasing a shooting touch not seen in previous summer league games.

But it was the unexpected shooting spree of UH team manager Nick Milan that had the crowd excited. Milan splashed a few triples through consecutively in a torrid first half and finished with 16 points. He helped salvage an otherwise forgettable night of competition.

"Bringing me back to my intramural days. I made the first one, Bobby (Nash) gave me this weird look because he knew it was a bad shot. ... I just kept on shooting them, and they just kept going in," said Milan, a Kaimuki High alum who attended Orange Coast College. He's been Gib Arnold's manager since Arnold got the head coaching job here.

Solar Universe has the most overall talent in the league but struggled early in the summer season. They evened their record at 4-4.

"It pretty much was (the best we've shot.) We had 80 at the half. I thought I had a lot of 3s (three) but Dyrbe did the same thing. Rashaun (Broadus) hit a couple, Bobby hit a couple. The whole team was lighting it up."

So is Milan going to be able to keep it up?

"Probably not," he said with a laugh. "To be realistic that was probably the best game I could play."

Incoming freshman forward Isaac Fotu had another impressive game, tallying 20 points in a losing effort. His activity around the rim is sound and he usually makes the right basketball play, even if that means passing out of the post when the opportunity to pad his numbers was there. He was about the only thing National Fire Protection (3-4) had going right.

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In the first game, league leader Flipbooks (7-1) prevailed despite the absence of Christian Standhardinger, who was ejected in his previous game. It was a ragged game, and the other two UH players suited up — Garrett Jefferson and Brandon Jawato for Wealth Strategy (1-7) — didn't play particularly well. Jefferson had some calls go against him early (including a tech for hanging on the rim and slapping the backboard on a dunk), which limited his effectiveness the rest of the way.

Jawato was making his summer league debut, and he played sparingly off the bench while coming back from an ankle injury. He did hit one of his two 3-point looks, however, and looked leaner than when he redshirted last season.

It was hoped freshman guard Manroop Clair would make his debut for Flipbooks, but he's still dealing with his own ankle troubles.

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More on Saturday, when Grantco Pacific meets Solar Universe (6 p.m.) and National Fire plays Central Medical (7:30).

Fotu, Spearman step up

July 14th, 2012
By



After resting his shoulder and playing light minutes in National Fire Protection's previous College Summer League game in Manoa, Hawaii freshman forward Isaac Fotu came back with a vengeance on Saturday night.

Fotu went right at fellow frosh Caleb Dressler of Grantco Pacific, spinning around him several times to score inside on his way to a game-high 26 points. With Julian Sensley out of the lineup for Grantco, there was no interior answer at the other end and NFP (3-3) won in a 109-89 blowout.

Dressler, meanwhile, struggled to five points.

"I was jet-lagged all last week, but I'm feeling better now with all the (workouts) getting in and playing over here," Fotu said. "I'm used to playing against Caleb in practice ... I want to play with that aggression all the time now. Aggressive around the basket."

Late in the game, a clearly confident Fotu stepped out to hit some 15- to 17-foot jump shots.

"Once I got my confidence, I got out," he said. "(I play) mostly around the basket, but I've been working on my midrange a lot. I want to use it more ... it was feeling good. I just want to get better over this (summer). I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I'm working with Coach Gib Arnold over the summer to get better and hopefully have a big impact on the season."

Freshman walk-on Michael Harper picked up the scoring load for Grantco with Sensley out and had his best game, a 26-point outing. But despite 25 apiece from Geremy Robinson and James Francisco, Grantco (4-3) could not keep up and lost its third straight.

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In the nightcap, junior guard Brandon Spearman put together his best outing in four games for Solar Universe (3-4), scoring 29 points and hitting the game-clinching free throws with 4.5 seconds left in a 109-104 win over Central Medical Clinic (3-3).

Spearman was at his all-around best, hitting a couple 3s, driving to the rim and throwing down a dunk or two. He got in the passing lanes defensively to collect a few steals.

"I've been kind of comfortable playing with the guys on Solar Universe, these are good guys," Spearman said. "And Coach (Artie Wilson) is a really good coach. I just came out here and gave it my all."

UH senior swingman Hauns Brereton was coming off back-to-back 40-plus scoring games for CMC, and not surprisingly had a target on his back. Summer veteran Derrick Low put the defensive clamps on Brereton and made him work for most of his 18 points.

"I told Hauns he wasn't going to score 40 on me," a grinning Spearman said. "I'm sorry, I got too much pride for that."

'Iolani and Colorado School of Mines alum Kyle Pape (35 points) trimmed the deficit to three late, but Solar closed it out with a solid defensive possession on which Spearman grabbed the board and was fouled to put the game away.

"On the defensive end we came out and showed everybody we could play defense," Spearman said. "We've been lacking on the defensive end ... we picked it up near the end."

Low added 24 points for Solar. UH point guard Jace Tavita showed off some range for CMC, hitting three 3-pointers straight at one point in the second half, and finished with 20 points.

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The next summer league games aren't until next Thursday, 6 and 7:30 p.m., as usual at the Manoa District Park gym. UH's Manroop Clair and Brandon Jawato could shake off their ailments and be back in action then. Enjoy your weekends all.

Haunslaught at Summer League

July 12th, 2012
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Anyone who remembers this video will recognize the fact that Hauns Brereton ate a proverbial extra scoop of poi for Central Medical Clinic before Thursday night's College Summer League game against Grantco Pacific.

Brereton erupted for 47 points in a comeback 101-97 win, his second 40-point-plus outing in two games since arriving for summer school on July 1.

With the UH senior swingman the focal point of the CMC offense, senior point guard and UH teammate Jace Tavita continually looked to set Brereton up for buckets. The Haunslaught lasted right to the end, as he hit two free throws with 0.1 seconds left to cap off his impressive night (even considering summer league defensive standards).

"It's been real fun," Brereton said. "Been able to work on the things Coach (Arnold) has asked me to, and been able to work with Jace and the good players on my team. ... Coach told me he's going to need me to be able to handle the rock and bring it up. So I've been able to do that, Jace has been giving me some time to do that."

Brereton shrugged about his second straight scoring binge. He was efficient while he did it, connecting on over half of his shots and draining six 3-pointers. When he wasn't pulling up, he was driving and piling up the and-1s.

"That's what my team needed me to do today, so Jace set me up multiple times," he said. "Over half my points were directly from his assists. I'm glad he's on my team."

Tavita is built like a linebacker, and showed off a willingness to guard players at any position by D'ing up on freshman forward Caleb Dressler. His main job, though, was acting as a facilitator for Brereton, Kyle Pape (17 points) and the rest of the CMC crew.

"The biggest thing is to get back into game shape," Tavita said. "(Before these summer league games) I haven't played in a game since last summer league. They put me and Hauns together for a reason, because we'll be in the (UH) games together. It's just good getting used to where he's at. He's a great shooter, he likes it in certain places, so I just try to get him open."

Tavita wasn't known as a great shooter when he came in from Utah a year and a half ago, but it's something he's been working on. He connected on a couple from deep Tuesday.

"Just staying aggressive with my shooting," Tavita said. "Defense, I try to guard different positions. Working on my offensive game and my conditioning."

Brereton said his other goal for the summer was getting in the habit of winning. He's done a good job of that so far CMC improved to 3-2 for the summer — including 2-0 with Brereton. That was despite a double-digit deficit early in the game.

"We just said one bucket at a time, one stop at a time," Tavita said.

UH alum Geremy Robinson led Grantco Pacific (4-2) with 26 points, while Julian Sensley chipped in 19 and Dressler 15.

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In the first game of the night, league leader Flipbooks Hawaii (6-1) held off Solar Universe 103-101 despite losing forward Christian Standhardinger to a first-half ejection.

Standhardinger got tangled up with HPU's Kawika Smith and the two had to be separated. Both players will miss their teams' next summer league game. Kaunaoa McGee stepped up for Flipbooks with a game-high 30 points.

Derrick Low had a 3-point attempt to win it for Solar Universe (2-4) just before the buzzer, but his shot hit back iron.

Also on the court at the end of the game was Kamehameha graduate Dyrbe Enos, who showed off some range by drilling three 3-pointers in the second half.

Enos will be expected to play point guard when he walks on with UH this fall.

"It's a confidence booster to be ready for the fall," Enos said around a "Dyrbe Enos!" shout-out from Solar teammate Bobby Nash. "Just trying to play my best defense ... (tonight) I was open, I was trying to shoot it and make it. Other than that, I think my role is more of a point guard. Run the offense and pass the ball."

Had a chance to do that with this team?

"That's what Coach Artie (Wilson) is trying to tell me to do. Penetration. Trying to work on that now, we'll see how it goes from there."

Behind a strong first half, UH guard Brandon Spearman led S.U. with 22 points, while Nash added 19 and Low 17.

Standhardinger strikes back

July 10th, 2012
By



Christian Standhardinger and his Flipbooks Hawaii teammates got some sweet payback on Tuesday night in the College Summer League in Manoa.

Burned by Julian Sensley's game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer on Saturday for their first loss, a pissed off Flipbooks team (5-1) came out with a vengeance in the rematch — resulting in an 111-83 torching of Grantco Hawaii (4-1).

Standhardinger was the catalyst, hustling for 30 points (don't tell him it's just summer league) and requesting the defensive assignment on Sensley this time ... and holding the veteran pro to a modest 15.

More and more, it's becoming obvious that Standhardinger's energy will be a driving force (if harnessed correctly) for the 2012-13 Rainbow Warriors. He was all over the glass on both ends and found angle after angle to score inside.

Summer league veteran Kaunaoa McGee complemented him with outside shooting and drives to add 30 of his own.

"That was a devastating loss with the buzzer 3, losing by one," Standhardinger said. "It was important for our self confidence and my self confidence to get them back, and we did. Everybody hustled."

Chest bumps were doled out aplenty among the Flipbooks teammates during timeouts.

"I'm blessed that I'm on a team where everybody wants to win. Because of that, everybody plays with a lot of effort and energy. If everybody plays with a lot of energy, you want to play with even more energy because you don't want to let your teammates down, because you see how hard they work. It kind of goes around."

It clearly wasn't the first time the German was asked about his frenetic style of play — several times he looked to lead the fast break himself after snagging a rebound or loose ball — so it shouldn't come as a surprise he's prepared in talking about the subject.

"That's what you can do every night," Standhardinger said. "Sometimes you will miss shots, miss layups. Sometimes you have a bad day, but you can play hard. That's what you can do every time. Give everything you got. Hustle plays. Go to the board every time to get the second shot at the ball."

After scoring 24 in his summer league debut, incoming UH freshman Caleb Dressler couldn't get it going this time for Grantco, finishing with only eight. Still, his potential was obvious; he hit a couple of impressive 10-foot hooks while barely looking at the basket. Walk-on Michael Harper overcame some early struggles to score 11 in the loss.

Unfortunately, these teams won't meet again until a potential showdown in the summer league playoffs. (quarterfinals are July 31, semis are Aug. 2, championship is Aug. 4). Have a feeling it will be closer if/when that happens.

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In the first game Tuesday night, Wealth Strategy (1-6) picked up its first win of the summer with a 108-102 upset of Solar Universe (2-3), which features summer league staples Derrick Low and Bobby Nash.

An encouraging sight for UH fans was Garrett Jefferson hitting a few key free throws late in the game, allowing W.S. to hang around and ultimately steal it. Jefferson's been working on his 'throws, and you can tell. Incoming guard Brandon Spearman had his moments but was mostly quiet in the loss for S.U., as was walk-on-to-be Dyrbe Enos off the bench.

Nash scored a game-high 32 in a losing effort.

Summer League Saturday recap

July 7th, 2012
By



Hoops fans at the Manoa District Park gym were treated to quite the contest on Saturday night between the league leaders of the 36th College Summer League, unbeatens Flipbooks Hawaii (4-0) and Grantco Pacific (3-0).

The infusion of current UH players this week for summer school undoubtedly helped spice things up, but leave it to one of the old guard to have the last word on the matter.

UH alum Julian Sensley put the exclamation point on a back-and-forth affair, taking an inbounds pass with about 3 seconds left, up-faking then hitting a 30-footer at the buzzer to give Grantco a 105-104 win.

The game was also remarkable for the performances of UH players Christian Standhardinger (team-high 28 points for Flipbooks) and Caleb Dressler (24 points in his debut with Grantco). Walk-on Michael Harper also showcased some ability in limited minutes, hitting his first two 3-point attempts off the bench.

The 6-foot-10 Dressler helped Grantco come back with a big 17-foot baseline jumper with about 5 seconds left. After Flipbooks converted one of two free throws, Dressler cleared the rebound and his team called timeout, eventually setting up Sensley's shot.

"That last 7 minutes everybody pulled together and contributed," Sensley said. "Seems like everybody's picked up more players now. The league actually got better today. Teams look a lot bigger than they did the last couple weeks. The UH guys came back. We play (Flipbooks) again Tuesday and we gotta come ready to play. But it's good fun. It's good for me, I look forward to this during the summer. It's a good way to stay in shape and see all my old friends."

Sensley was asked when his last game winner was.

"He hasn't had one, because he didn't have a poker face after he hit it," chimed in fellow UH alum and Ryne Holliday, poking fun at Sensley's celebratory swagger. "He was like a kid in a candy store."

"Actually I hit one this last season in Puerto Rico," Sensley said. "But I'm not one of those guys who hit very many. I probably had three my whole life, four maybe."

The past year was a whirlwind pro season for Sensley — but one he considered his best overall since he finished playing at UH in 2006. He went from Greece to the NBA's D-League, to Puerto Rico, to Venezuela.

"It was definitely a crazy year, but ironically my best year as a pro," Sensley said. "I have no idea yet (what I'm doing next). I have some options on the table, but right now it's a waiting game. Us guys overseas, it's a year-to-year basis. For me I always try to sign late and see what happens. By early August I'll know what's going on."

Sensley clearly enjoyed playing alongside Dressler for the first time, finding the young big man for several easy baskets inside.

"He's young, but he's skilled for a guy his size. He showed that he can extend his range and shoot 3s. It was the first time I'd seen him play, but he hit big shots for us. Next to my game winning shot, I'd say the biggest shot was the one he hit on the baseline. He's going to be all right, a freshman coming in, 18, 19 years old. He's going to do well for UH."

Dressler, who arrived from Washington late Wednesday night, said he's been trying to shed about 10 to 15 pounds that he gained from weightlifting after his senior year at Evergreen High.

In the meantime, his introduction to NCAA summer league play was highly memorable.

"That was really intense," Dressler said. "Probably my first game against real competition, and I thought I actually did really well for how I thought I was going to do. (The finish) was fantastic. I can't wait to play in this league, it's going to be really fun."

On playing with Sensley, he said, "I'm learning from him, asking him questions. I'm just trying to get different things going from him. Learn new tactics, like a sponge. He's great, a really good shooter and facilitator. ... I just keep my hands up in the paint (to catch passes). If he finds me, it's great."

He's candid that the college game will be a work in progress.

"(At Evergreen) I would sit in the middle of a zone and play defense from there, I would never actually move around and play actual defense. I'm learning pretty much from square one, everything."

It certainly wasn't bad for a first look in the summer, though.

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Standhardinger, an extremely competitive player, won't be forgetting that result anytime soon. Even if it's only summer league.

"Everybody played good, but at the end the had the certain edge of luck you need to win certain games," the German said. "We'll take this pain to work harder next game. I'm confident that we will win the next game."

Umm, so about that competitiveness ...

"Every game," the 6-foot-8 forward said. "If I play Monopoly with my friends. If I play mini-golf with my mom. Bowling with my friends. I always want to win. And summer league is a very good opportunity for that. I give everything to just win, and I think that's what our team is about next year. Winning."

He offered up his thoughts on his new UH teammates who played in the game. He was surprised and impressed with Dressler's 3-point range — the big man sunk a couple deep set shots when left alone.

"He never shot those 3s (in open gym). Caleb's a very good asset for our team. New coming in, he's a big body down there. I talked to him a little bit, a very very humble guy. Willing to listen, wanting to learn from everybody. Coaches, older players. I think that's amazing, and his best skill. With his body, there will be not a lot of people who can hold him. Just a question of time.

"Mike is a tough player. He really wants to win. He has a very high motor ... He can shoot the lights out from 3-point range, and cuts very well. Just never stops. I heard he runs the mile in 5 minutes, so that's a guy with a motor, and big support for our team next year."

Harper said of his outing, "I was definitely looking for my shot, but looking to pass as well. Pretty good game all around, I reckon."

Freshman guard Manroop Clair would have made his debut for Flipbooks, but he was out with a sore ankle.

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It was unfair to expect the second game of the night to live up to the first — and it didn't. The nightcap, between National Fire Protection (2-3) and Wealth Strategy (0-6), was a 113-91 blowout for Nat'l Fire.

UH junior Garrett Jefferson scored 23 points in a losing effort. His W.S. teammate Brandon Jawato did not play because of a nagging injury. Newcomer Isaac Fotu played sparingly for National Fire to rest his shoulder after an impressive outing on Thursday.

"Feels good to finally get playing in Hawaii," Fotu said. "Been a long time coming, but it feels good. Just have to get back in shape with all the workouts. ... I want to work on my moves a bit, work on the new style of basketball in America. Get ready for the season. The athleticism over here is a bit better than New Zealand. Just gotta work hard."

Jefferson likewise has been working hard this offseason on his offensive game, and on this night he certainly looked more comfortable around the perimeter and at the free-throw line.

"This offseason I've been working on a lot of spot-up shooting, and definitely my free-throws," Jefferson said. "I'm trying to make it transfer over to a game. Get the confidence down. I just want every shot to feel the same."

He added a couple high-elevation dunks to add some flavor to the blowout.

"Hopefully we get a couple wins. We gotta win a couple games. For me, I just want to work on the stuff I've been working on in the gym during the game. Find the spots where I can shoot, and knock down free throws."