The Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic meant something a little different to Negus Webster-Chan than the rest of his Hawaii teammates.
NWC, who is redshirting as a transfer from Missouri, got to reconnect with a few old friends who play for New Mexico State, UH's opponent tonight in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-off Marathon.
Webster-Chan, of Scarborough, Ontario, got to meet up with NMSU's native Canadians Daniel Mullings and Renaldo Dixon, and brothers Sim and Tanveer Bhullar.
"They're like my brothers. Not even just basketball, outside of basketball too," Webster-Chan said. "I've seen them every day (out here)."
But Webster-Chan said he wouldn't be torn on whom to root for come game time. He won't be suited up as a redshirt player, but he'll be planted firmly at the end of the UH bench.
"I'm used to facing people I know," he said. "There's Canadians everywhere. So, it's not any different to me. Off the court, we're still family. On the court it's just strictly business."
NMSU has had a strong pipeline from Canada for a while now.
Mullings' triple-double against UH in Las Cruces, N.M., in 2012 might have been a good thing for the 'Bows in the long run. UH coach Gib Arnold said he changed up his recruiting plans because of the Canadian guard's prowess.
"Very athletic, very good player," Arnold said of Mullings, who is now a junior playing tonight. "I was telling our guys the reason Negus is here is because of Daniel Mullings. After seeing him play, I said we gotta get to Toronto and start recruiting Toronto. We really did. We went up there … and were able to run into some of Negus' people."
When the 'Bows take on their old WAC foe in the Aggies, some of UH's past — and possibly a big part of its future in Webster-Chan — will be on hand in the Stan Sheriff.
It's a "Blackout" game, so if you're able to stay up and make it out to the game tonight, don't forget to wear black.
Senior guard Brandon Spearman continues to make progress back from his high ankle sprain. He won't be suited up tonight, but he might make the trip to Missouri later this week — and might actually play there.
Christian Standhardinger was named the Big West Player of the Week on Monday. Here's the breaking news item posted today.