By Brian McInnis
Hawaii will look to make it a second straight win tonight at 7 p.m. against New Orleans of the Southland Conference at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Our Jason Kaneshiro was on hand for Tuesday's practice, the last full session before the game. Here were some of Jason's observations:
Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold issued a couple of challenges during Tuesday's practice at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Both were answered as the Rainbow Warriors continued preparations for Wednesday's game against New Orleans.
The first was directed toward Mike Thomas after the freshman was a bit lax while setting a screen. Thomas turned up the intensity then tore up the net for much of the remainder of practice, whether slashing to the rim for layups or knocking down perimeter jumpers.
"I was feeling it a little bit," Thomas said with a grin after practice. "Just going out and being aggressive.
"Coach made an issue of not being soft today in practice. … It fueled the fire to keep playing harder."
In the end, Thomas' effort earned praise from Arnold following the workout.
"Mike was great today. We're just starting to see what he can do," Arnold said.
Thomas (6 foot 8, 215 pounds) has played at least seven minutes in each of UH's first five games, averaging 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in those appearances.
"There's room for improvement, but I feel like I'm getting more comfortable out there," Thomas said.
"As a freshman there's nothing to do but be grateful for (his playing time). … I wanted to contribute, I knew it was going to take some work."
Thomas contributed a solid practice for the "green" unit, made up of reserves. Late in the session Arnold barked out that he'd start those five if they won the next drill.
The first teamers responded and rallied to win the spirited period.
"You want teams competing," Arnold said. "You want them to be ultra competitive, that's the central theme of our culture."
The Rainbows (3-2) face New Orleans (1-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sheriff Center. They return on Friday to take on Montana at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of a women's/men's doubleheader. The Rainbow Wahine take on Colorado State at 5 p.m.
Also, Arnold said he hadn't gotten the results of an MRI on Quincy Smith's back after Tuesday's practice. Smith fully participated in practice as the green team's point guard. Arnold said Monday that Smith was still bothered by nagging back pain and would have the MRI as a precaution.
Much appreciated from Jason while I'm on the Valley Isle wrapping up the Maui Invitational.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving all.