By Brian McInnis
The Hawaii basketball team is looking to add to its stockpile of ex-Missouri players.
Former Tiger forward Stefan Jankovic (not to be confused with current Rainbow Warrior Stefan Jovanovic) is inbound to make an official visit to the Manoa campus. Should he commit, he'll follow in the footsteps of Negus Webster-Chan, who is redshirting at UH as a Division I transfer from MU. Like Webster-Chan, Jankovic is from Ontario, Canada. Like Jovanovic, Jankovic was born in Serbia.
He has two years of eligibility remaining after a mandatory year of sitting out games.
The 6-11 sophomore Jankovic played less than a minute in UH's 92-80 loss to Mizzou last month, grabbing a single rebound. He saw action in three games and fell out of the rotation after putting up nine points and five rebounds in the Tigers' season-opening win over Southeast Louisiana.
For his total freshman season of 2012-13, he averaged 3.0 points and 1.4 rebounds, shooting 36.5 percent from the field, 31.6 percent on 3-pointers and 90 percent on free throws while playing mostly at small forward. He started two games, but was a reserve for most of the season on a talented NCAA Tournament-bound team alongside Webster-Chan.
He was mostly lauded for his shooting ability.
Jankovic said this in a statement when it was announced he'd be transferring on Nov. 22: “I want to thank everyone at Missouri, my teammates, the coaching staff, the administration and the fans. This was a tough decision for me, and Missouri will always hold a special place in my heart, but this was about having the opportunity to find a better fit where I could play a larger role on the court. I am looking forward to my next opportunity and want to wish everyone at Mizzou all the best this year.”
You can bet Webster-Chan will try to sway his former teammate into making the trip out here a lasting one.
I'll have updates on Jankovic's status as they become available.
UH (7-2) is coming off a 94-84 win over Chaminade on Kauai and plays Boise State (8-2) to open the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Sunday.
Missouri is 10-0 and was ranked No. 23 in this week's Associated Press Top 25. I voted them 23.
Tuesday's UH practice took a brighter turn with the 'Bows breaking in their new practice jerseys. They're brightly colored green and white in the fashion of the Boston Celtics, but with the "H" logo emblazoned on the front.
"It's a definite improvement," guard Michael Harper said. "We had similar jerseys last year. I think these are better material. Actually, I think these are a lot better. ... (The old ones) were a bit thicker, a bit more uncomfortable. I think these fit better as well.
"I think a few people knew they were coming, just whoever went into Coach (Gib Arnold's) office. But I think we all forgot about it. So it was a nice surprise today."
"We always get a second set of practice jerseys," Arnold said. "We call these ones the NBA ones. ... So guys like them. Kind of keep them until this time of year, and we bust out the second pair. And you know, they go through them. They wear them out. So you need to do that or you're going to have strings flying everywhere. They're a great-looking jersey, I like them."
In Rainbow Wahine basketball news, UH returned from its two-game road trip to Oregon State and Pacific. The Wahine (6-4) got a valuable split by winning at Pacific, 81-70, after rallying from an 18-point first-half deficit and another 10-point hole early in the second half.
UH was bolstered Tuesday by junior center Kalei Adolpho's first practice coming off volleyball season. The 6-2 post player will be an important member of a team in serious need of size. She had some trouble shaking off the rust jumping from one sport to another last year, so it will bear watching how she fares in that aspect this time.
The Wahine resume play on the road on Saturday at coach Laura Beeman's former school, USC.