By Brian McInnis
Isaac Fleming's first game in the College Summer League was a frustrating experience. His second was a painful one.
The incoming Hawaii freshman got some meaningful playing time for Clark Hatch Fitness on Thursday night, in contrast to some sparse minutes in his debut. He even got to go head to head against UH teammate Brocke Stepteau, who was showing his stuff in the league for the first time.
But that came to a crashing halt with about two minutes remaining in the game, when Fleming ended up on the wrong end of a truck-like screen by ex-UH hooper/footballer walk-on Tyler Brown.
He yelled out a few times and was down in pain for several minutes while being attended by league staff. His right (non shooting) arm was placed in a makeshift towel sling. But he was reasonably composed and on his feet in the moments after the game.
"He (Brown) was setting a screen, and I don't know if he did it on purpose but he threw his shoulder (into me)," Fleming said. "I talked to him after the game, he apologized. I respect him for that. He's a good guy. It was just one of those things where, accidents happen. No love lost. I love everybody here, I'm just happy to be here.
"(My shoulder) felt like it moved back. When it hit, it felt like it moved and I lost all feeling. That right there, I just went black and I got so scared, because I just want to be healthy this year."
It was surmised by one person on the scene that Fleming has a stinger, and not a dislocated shoulder, but Fleming was to be examined by the UH trainers on Friday.
Fleming said Friday morning: "I'm feeling better just a little sore I'll be good."
Fleming finished Clark Hatch's 92-86 victory over Grantco Pacific with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. He shot 5-for-13 from the field and 5-for-6 at the foul line, with one steal and two turnovers. His slashing game was on full display until his setback.
In general, Fleming seems optimistic heading into the season.
"I'm feeling good. I'm getting used to the islands, getting used to the type of environment," he said. "I'm getting my feet back under me. I'm getting there. It's going to take some time, but I see progression every day. So, I'm ready to be at the peak of my game."
Stepteau's line for Grantco was OK for a reserve playing with a brand-new set of teammates. He had six points on 2-for-7 FG, 1-2 FT, with two rebounds, an assist, a steal and two turnovers.
"It felt really good to finally get out here and play with my team," Stepteau said. "It was first game, I never played with any of those guys and they never played with me. Coach (Alan Silva) hadn't seen me play. But he said he liked what he saw, and I felt I played pretty good, nowhere near as well as I could play. I missed some shots I normally make. But all in all, it's just a good first game."
He and Fleming guarded each other for several minutes of the game. Fleming has a good few inches on Stepteau, but Stepteau possesses some quickness with the ball.
"It's been good. We've been going at it in open gyms and practices the last couple weeks, giving each other a couple bruises and stuff," Stepteau said. "But he's definitely a really good player, and it's fun going up against him in this setting."
Stepteau reacted with worry when Fleming, his roommate, went down.
"He was screaming, so I thought it was something really bad, a dislocated shoulder or something," he said. "Hopefully it's nothing. He seems to be pretty good now (after the game). But yeah, I was worried. He's my roommate, so you know we've been getting close together. And you don't see anything like that happen, so hopefully he's good."
Will he miss time in the summer league? It seems quite possible, but it's too early to know for sure.
Kaunaoa McGee led Clark Hatch with 28 points, while Leon Ballard added 22. Christian Standhardinger kept up his average, going for 40 points in the loss for Grantco.
Bill Amis approached triple-double status in Chosen Few's 90-85 win over National Fire Protection. He had 25 points, at least 10 boards and about eight blocked shots. Poor National Fire remains winless at 0-5.
Michael Thomas was to make his summer season debut for National Fire on Thursday, but Thomas can't seem to catch a break. He missed the previous game because of an illness, and missed the most recent game because he burned himself and is on the mend from that.
"Yeah healing it now ... I should be back to full play by the end of the weekend so you'll see me in Tuesday night," Thomas said in a message.
It's all added up to disappointment for those looking to see the next wave of UH players at an early stage. With mishaps for Fleming and Thomas, Sammis Reyes not here as he attempts to work out his admission to UH, Roderick Bobbitt still recovering from a broken arm, and most of the rest of the team spread around the world, that aspect (UH participation) of summer league has been a dud thus far.