By Brian McInnis
While many fans wait for the 2013-14 Hawaii men's basketball players to arrive in the coming week and showcase their skills in the College Summer League, two players already in action are hoping to latch on with the Rainbow Warriors as walk-ons for the coming season.
Malik Fields of Jackson Community College (Mich.) and 2011 Moanalua graduate Wesley Armbrust (most recently of Division II North Greenville in South Carolina) are eager to showcase their skills for a chance at the Division I level.
Fields, playing for Clark Hatch Fitness, confirmed he met with Gib Arnold and the other UH coaches on Tuesday prior to his game against Central Medical Clinic. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Fields plays small and power forward. He averaged 9.8 points on 46.4 percent shooting with 7.4 rebounds in 26 games as a freshman at JCC. He said he ended up in Honolulu because he heard about UH's meteorology program and is enrolled in summer school.
Fields said he was invited to the UH players' open gym next Tuesday and would receive further feedback from there. "It was pretty good," he said of meeting the coaches. He didn't seem blown away by the coaches' reception — it's clear he will have to prove himself — but said "my confidence stays the same."
Armbrust, the younger brother of former UH football player DJ Armbrust, said he hadn't received an open gym invitation yet, but believes he has what it takes to make the team.
The 6-foot-1 guard didn't record any official statistics (that I could find, anyway) at North Greenville before he came home. From what I've seen so far in summer league, he's got decent speed and rebounds well for his height and position.
Both players would have three years of eligibility in the event they latch on at UH or elsewhere.
Before the current UH players arrive, Central Medical Clinic and National Fire Protection have the early league lead at 3-0 apiece. CMC got 26 points from Kyle Pape and 24 from Bill Amis to rout Clark Hatch Fitness, 95-71. The nightcap was a much closer affair, with Jeff Greer leading NFP to a 85-79 win over defending champion Solar Universe. Kalaheo graduate Josh Ko had the go-ahead basket in transition in the final minute.
Fields went up against 6-foot-9 Amis for some of the first game. He held his own at times, but also picked up a couple fouls on the taller Amis late in the game. Fields managed six points in a blowout loss.
Armbrust had a few pretty plays for eight points for NFP, including a coast-to-coast drive for a layup.
I'm hearing from a couple places that the possible extra game against Akron on UH's 2013-14 schedule isn't going to happen. The teams had been trying to work out a game on either side of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic but it apparently isn't going to work out.
This could mean an extra road game for the 'Bows around one of their announced trips at Missouri or at Northern Arizona.
Who knows, UH could still meet LeBron James' hometown team in the DHC.