By Brian McInnis
From any perspective, Isaac Fleming's first action in the College Summer League left something to be desired.
From Fleming's point of view, more minutes on the court for Clark Hatch Fitness. For the spectators in the old Manoa Valley gym, sharper play out of the new Hawaii guard that some surely came to see specifically.
Fleming had a couple of nice drives to the hoop on Saturday night in the rickety, old Manoa Valley gym, displaying an explosiveness off the dribble that could add a new dimension to the Rainbow Warriors' attack in the coming season.
But he also seemed to force the action at times, perhaps aware that he needed to show something in his brief time on the court to remain there.
In about 10 minutes of action off the bench, Fleming scored six points on 2-for-6 field goals and 2-for-2 free throws, with two rebounds, one assist, one block and one turnover.
"It wasn't kind of tough (to get into a rhythm), it was more so me getting comfortable," Fleming said. "I felt I couldn't get comfortable because it was like I was in there a short period of time. I felt like if I could get comfortable it would have been a whole different type of environment."
The 6-foot-3 combo guard from the Massanutten Military Academy (Va.) wasn't in for the game's decisive stretches when Clark Hatch closed out a 98-95 win over National Fire Protection. Chaminade alum Leon Ballard scored 29 points to lead the way.
Taking a secondary role was a new experience for a player used to being a focal point. It probably doesn't help that as the only member of UH's 2014 signing class in action here this summer, he might shoulder elevated expectations.
"It was OK. For me, knowing myself, I know I can do twice as much as I did today," he said. "But I just felt like I didn't get a chance. It was always something. I don't know. I just didn't think I had the chance. So, I don't know, it's something I'll have to talk over with Coach Gib about this league and if problems continue to come up out there. I know I'm a high-caliber player, getting average-player minutes."
He brightened up when it came to discussing some of the open gym sessions between the on-island newcomers and returnees, with some veterans thrown in.
"The open gyms are great," Fleming said. "We get some good run in. Earlier, we had open gym with Christian Standhardinger, Derrick Low, a lot of good guys. I showed them that I could play. It was more so me just not being comfortable tonight with the opportunity I know I should get."
Fleming will likely return for more summer league action. Whether it will be with the same team — Clark Hatch has a pretty tight-knit core — remains to be seen. Teams swap players all the time.
"I feel totally confident. This never dulled my confidence," Fleming said. "It's something players go through. I'm not really tripping about it. I know what I can do and I know what I bring to the team."
The lone UH returnee in for summer school from the mainland, Michael Thomas, would have been in action on Saturday for National Fire. But he explained he was feeling sick, and would be in action on Thursday.
In Saturday's nightcap, Solar Universe edged Wealth Strategy Partners, 89-86. Aukai Wong bombed some deep 3s to score 30 points in the victory.
As I tweeted on Friday, UH's Jan. 3 home game vs. Florida Gulf Coast, initially on the UH schedule release, is now a no go. UH is attempting to fill the hole. This is a disappointing turn of events for anyone hoping to see the residuals of Dunk City from two years ago. FGCU was still competitive last year, winning 22 games and making the NIT. And that's one fewer team that made the postseason last year on UH's schedule ... and the schedule wasn't exactly rife with those to begin with.
Hearing UH might be close to finalizing Senque Carey as its new assistant, filling in the position Scott Fisher vacated. Carey coached at Loyola Marymount last season, and Fresno State before that. He also has some high school coaching experience.