Early outlook by position

August 25th, 2012
By

To quote Gene Hackman in "Hoosiers," let's see what kind of hand we've been dealt here.

Gib Arnold added two players this week — forward Ozren Pavlovic of Croatia and guard Aaron Valdes of La Jolla Prep in California — which should finalize the 2012-13 Hawaii roster.

The team's got its full complement of players in school and has initiated open gym sessions. UH also updated its online roster with this year's jersey numbers (listed in parentheses below). Let's break it down, with the caveat that we're at a very early stage and players' roles could change drastically by November.

POINT GUARDS

Senior Jace Tavita (1) is the clear frontrunner to fill Miah Ostrowski's shoes despite being on the shelf for game action for the last season and a half, when he transferred out from Utah in the middle of the 2010-11 season. Some combination of junior Brandon Spearman (32) and freshmen Manroop Clair (33) and Michael Harper (24) will be expected to provide backup ball control duties, or possibly by committee; none of those three is a pure point guard. Kamehameha graduate Dyrbe Enos (10) could also get some spot looks at the position as a freshman walk-on. Junior Keith Shamburger (0) was a solid pickup for Arnold but he will be out this season as a transfer from San Jose State, so he will strictly be a practice player for 2012-13. purposes.

SHOOTING GUARDS

With the loss of Zane Johnson (who was only UH's single-season and career 3-point leader), the Rainbow Warriors will be looking to replace a large chunk of their offense. Junior Garrett Jefferson (2) and redshirt freshman Brandon Jawato (3) offer vastly different skill-sets at the position (one defensive- and slashing-minded, with the other shoot-first). The aforementioned platter of Spearman, Clair and Harper will get run at the 2-spot, with the emphasis on Spearman. Late pickup Aaron Valdes isn't yet on the official roster but could compete for minutes.

SMALL FORWARDS

This position is owned by senior and returning starter Hauns Brereton (21). He'll be expected to expand on his 7.7 ppg role he had as a junior, and possibly shoulder some ball-handling duties as well. Brereton took on a gunner's mentality in the recent college summer league, so look for him to continue that and be one of the team's top 3-point and scoring threats, albeit to a much lesser extent than his ridiculous 40-point scoring outbursts against that competition. Junior Christian Standhardinger (34) is more of a power forward but in a larger lineup could slide over to this position. Freshman Ozren Pavlovic (23) has the shooting game of a typical European big man. He could see minutes behind Brereton, especially if the incumbent's shot isn't falling.

POWER FORWARDS

Standhardinger, with his hustle and energy game, will be expected to come up with the production the team is losing from Joston Thomas turning pro (13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg). But look for freshman Isaac Fotu (42) to be increasingly handed responsibility in the post as the season progresses. He already looks polished and should complement the center position well when the two are on the floor together. Freshman Caleb Dressler (25) isn't as game ready as Fotu at this stage and might be a redshirt candidate as many players are straight out of high school. However, big men tend to be more foul prone and Dressler could get looks if UH's frontcourt depth is tested.

CENTERS

UH fans rejoiced when Vander Joaquim (15) returned for his season, and rightfully so. There's no reason he shouldn't put up a nightly double-double in the Big West. The biggest question will be if Joaquim can be the 'Bows' top offensive threat game in and game out; he split that role with Johnson and Thomas last year. Is it reasonable to expect another leap similar to the one he made from his sophomore to junior season? Hard to say yet, but UH's season could hinge on it. Junior Davis Rozitis (13) is a solid backup for Joaquim at a legit 7 feet, and brings plenty of entertainment value in and out of games.

10 Responses to “Early outlook by position”

  1. al:

    eleven players who will hit the court as first timers attired in a hawaii jersey will be something to behold.

    its gonna take some time this time.

    but, hey the fabulous five arrived all matriculated to the beach at waikiki the same year didn't they.

    it'll be fun.
    it'll be amusing.
    it'll be interesting.
    it'll be a test in patience for all. coaches, players, and fans.


  2. K-Bay:

    Thanks, Brian

    Good Start on Gib's "Chess Game" of getting the right guys in the right combinations...

    Although very deep at 4 & 5, I think it's notable that for a Euro-Pro, Oz seems able to play 2, 3 & 4 surprisingly able to at least slow down, tie-up or distract Christian Standhardinger as well as anyone in the summer league. That surprised me and I suspect the Vander- Standhardinger - Fotu - Hauns - Oz - Rozitis - Dressler front-court may be driving the Big West crazy with mostly Long Beach and next year San Diego State able to mount a strong front line challenge.

    Ah, but can the backcourt hold up in the wing-rich Big West?


  3. warriorrebel:

    It'll all depend on the point guard position, UH hasn't had good point guard play in a long time.


  4. fan4mb2:

    Shooting % dictates w's !


  5. Think2much:

    For many fans, I think its hard to "bond" with the team since so many players are new. In that sense, it sort of like baseball or volleyball where you enjoy the game more when you know the players and that takes about a year or more. Hopefully, this group will stick around, show us an education first attitude, and play hard individually but harder as a team. If players continue to leave en masse, then it may be symptomatic of a problem with the program and that starts with the head coach.


  6. pocho:

    gotta see the "D". That'll win Games for yah


  7. poorboy:

    pocho, yeah it is rah rah, you are right,

    Gib will make sure D first, then can translate to early offense, exciting runouts, fastbreaks, lobs and flush, spot up 3's , etc. 6,7 D stops in a row, you can win a lot of games at SSC and on the road..DEFENSE..same with Norm's Football team, if they have good kicking game, special teams and Defense, they can stay in ball games, and win some!!

    DEFENSE MBB!!


  8. al:

    ozzie looks like he could compete at the 2 offensively.
    but, can he defend the 2?


  9. chawan_cut:

    can't wait for the midnight/twilight/ohana hoopfest to see them in action together.


  10. ALLAN:

    AFTER 3 YEARS, TIME FOR ROZITIS TO BE A 6TH MAN OFF THE BENCH, IF NOT A CONTENDER FOR STARTING ROLE.