By Brian McInnis
Over the last two days, two new names have surfaced to join the Rainbow Warriors — one for the coming season and another (possibly) for 2014-15.
Jack Hackman of Jesuit High (Ore.) and the Elite 24 AAU team tweeted an announcement of his pending arrival for 2013-14 and Daquan Phillips of Bishop McDevitt High (Pa.) did something similar for 2014-15 in conjunction with retweeted congratulations from UH fans.
I haven't received confirmation of their arrival on the UH side of things yet — and their would-be scholarship/walk-on status — but at this point consider the Hackman news a bit more reliable than Phillips'. College hoops guru Fran Fraschilla congratulated Hackman personally (via tweet, anyway).
Phillips is a 5-10 guard, while Hackman is in the 6-4/6-5 swingman range. Hackman's also a redhead, so bonus points there.
More on these two as it becomes available. Pickings are pretty slim right now.
UPDATED: Hackman is confirmed as a member of the team for 2013-14 as a preferred walk-on, and will be in town later this month. Phillips, from what I was told, will not be coming. He is pretty much unknown to the UH staff, so there was obviously a mix-up or bad information on someone's end. Phillips has since taken down some of the tweets indicating he's UH-bound.
As for Thursday night's College Summer League action, we had one upset and one exciting comeback. Wealth Strategy Partners, blessed with the presence of summer mercenary Llewellyn Smalley (23 points), bested first-place Solar Universe 106-87 in the first game.
Take into account that Solar was without Negus Webster-Chan, Derrick Low and Zane Johnson on this night. Still it, knocked them down into a tie with Central Medical Clinic at 6-3, with the deciding game for first place between those two coming on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The absence of those players allowed UH redshirt freshman Dyrbe Enos to get some expanded looks. He scored 18 in the loss and ran the point for most of the game, showcasing some of the improved handle he's focused on since becoming a Rainbow Warrior.
"Coach told me to work on my ball-handling. I think I can shoot. People say I can shoot. So I got that," Enos said. "But he wants me to work on my ball-handling and coming off screens. So that's what I'm trying to get my mind to work on. ... It's tough. I think I just gotta get used to it. Just gotta go."
His redshirt year meant showing off his shooting touch in practice to only a handful of spectators as a scout teamer. If the UH first team left him open, he'd almost certainly make them pay.
"Developmental year," he said. "Just developing all my skills, getting used to the pace, the speed, everything of college."
Does he think he's there now?
"Not to that point, but I'm getting used to it. I'm almost there."
Enos might have had some opportunities to play in 2012-13 had he not redshirted, especially once Brandon Spearman went down with an injury late in the season. He acknowledged he felt he could have helped the team during some of its leaner offensive moments last year. Should that happen again, the Kamehameha product stands ready.
"That's what I'm hoping for. Just trying to do my best out there, give it my all."
His older brother, Rykin, played for Bob Nash as a walk-on, and offered his sibling at least one pointer.
"He just said to play. Don't worry about what people think. Just play."
Game 2 went to National Fire Protection in a 105-99 comeback over Grantco Pacific.
National Fire, playing without UH players Garrett Nevels and Isaac Fotu, had to rally from down 12 points at halftime to finish its regular-season record at 5-5. Grantco was flying high but some poor shot selection in the second half doomed it to a 2-8 finish to the season, and one of the playoff play-in games next Tuesday at Maryknoll.
Speaking of that, all three playoff days (Aug. 6, 8, 10) will be at the Maryknoll Spartans' gym, it was announced Thursday.
UH walk-on hopeful Wesley Armbrust keyed the comeback with 36 points, while UH freshman center Stefan Jovanovic added 20, including a surprising throw-down on a fast break over the outstretched arm of Aaron Valdes, who came from the side to contest the dunk. People oohed over that one.
Valdes scored 23 in the loss. His UH and Grantco teammate, Caleb Dressler, was not present.