By Brian McInnis
It was at once impressive and highly predictable on the first night of the College Summer League on Saturday.
Former Hawaii all-conference forward Christian Standhardinger barreled into the paint again and again. Everyone knew where he was headed — to the right — and yet he kept drawing fouls, kept getting the ball up on the rim. Enough of those dropped for him to accrue 40 points and lead Grantco Pacific over National Fire Protection, 103-95 in the nightcap of the summer doubleheader opener.
"I play my game, no matter where. It's always the same ugly game," Standhardinger said. "But you know what, it's efficient and it's like I'm married to that game. I'm not gonna change my game for a better-looking game because my game was very good to me for the last years and I'm just going to crash the boards, play hard, hustle plays and that's it."
An ex-'Bow of a finer vintage, Geremy Robinson, added 24 points in the win.
On a night when no 2014-15 Rainbow Warriors were in action, Standhardinger (and Miah Ostrowski in defending champion Wealth Strategy Partners' 98-90 win over Clark Hatch Fitness in the opener) gave fans a reminder of the recent past. The crowd, as it has been for the last several years, was enough to fill the stands in the Manoa Valley District Park gym.
It was some of Standhardinger's first officiated action since UH's heartbreaking, season-ending loss to Cal State Northridge in the Big West tournament in March.
Summer opponents will get plenty more opportunities over the coming weeks to prepare, but on this night the right-handed layup was out in force.
"Everybody knows!" Standhardinger exclaimed. "Like, who doesn't know it? I dunno why they don't stop it, I'm still waiting for somebody to finally stop it. I dunno."
He's using the summer league to stay fresh for an upcoming professional career in Europe while he finishes up summer school.
"I have some offers from Italy, Spain and Germany," Standhardinger said. "I gotta see where I go and right now I just keep in shape. And summer league helps me to do that. Then I will sign a contract around the end of July, beginning of August. So I just wait and finish up summer school. ... I'm blessed that I can make my money doing what I love the most, and that's playing basketball. I'm going to keep doing that."
Former Chaminade swingman DeAndre Haskins scored an impressive 30 in the loss for National Fire. It seems he will have to be that team's go-to scorer this summer.
Former UH point guard Keith Shamburger was in the house watching most of the second game of the night. He leaves next week for his postgraduate year at Missouri. Expect to see him back in the islands for the Tigers' appearance in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
As for the current 'Bows, the first should be in action on Tuesday when Dyrbe Enos and Solar Universe take on Clark Hatch at 6 p.m.