By Brian McInnis
The waiting game continues for those looking to see a new Hawaii basketball player see significant action in the College Summer League. In the meantime, some of those Rainbow Warriors have started acclimatizing to their new digs.
Guard Brocke Stepteau has absorbed close to a week of island life and summer school, and his summer team, Grantco Pacific, was in action on Thursday night in the old Manoa District Park gym. But Stepteau said he'd not yet had the mandatory physical to play in the league, so he couldn't suit up.
The incoming walk-on from Dallas Baptist High said he took a visit here three weeks ago to affirm his decision to commit to UH. Unlike Tyler Harville and his quick stop here last week, Stepteau decided he was in.
"I feel great, I love it out here," Stepteau said just outside the Manoa Valley District Park's older gym as Wealth Strategy Partners and Chosen Few battled behind him. "It's going real well. Started working out individually on Tuesday. Tomorrow we're going to run a mile. So basketball and school's going really well right now."
With most of the 2014-15 team still scattered around the world, it's left a group of six on the island — Stepteau, Isaac Fleming, Roderick Bobbitt, Mike Thomas, Zach Buscher and Dyrbe Enos — to get to know one another through training.
Five of the six will participate in the remainder of the summer league. The exception being Bobbitt, who is still recovering from a broken arm from the end of his junior college season at Indian Hills.
"I can't wait to play (next game)," Stepteau said. "I was surprised how many people come out to watch these games. It's going to be fun. Hopefully I can come out here and play the way I'm capable of playing. Just play good, get some wins and have some fun out here."
He expressed some surprise at the relative hustle and bustle of Honolulu after seeing only Maui on a trip when he was younger.
"I was thinking it was going to be quiet (like that). I didn't realize how big of a city Honolulu was. That definitely surprised me, but it made me love it even more out here."
Fleming accompanied Stepteau to Thursday's summer league games.
"It feels great (to have arrived)," said Fleming, of Delaware and the Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia. "I like the environment. We had a couple good workouts this week. I just feel like we're going to have a good season. I love the islands. ... Same vibe from my visit. I just feel like it's stronger now that I'm here. I'm just ready to come and make an impact."
He'll be in action on Saturday with Clark Hatch Fitness.
"It's pretty good competition (in the league)," he said after watching Wealth Strategy's 106-102 double-overtime victory over Chosen. "I feel like I can come in on Saturday and just give everybody a show."
In the meantime, Enos put on quite a show for Solar Universe in Thursday's second game. He drilled six first-half 3-pointers in seven attempts and finished with seven long balls for 21 of his 26 points. But Solar fell, 109-89, as Christian Standhardinger poured in 43 points to keep his summer average at 40-plus.
"Shoot, I don't know, I was just feeding off my teammates because they were setting screens and D-Low (Derrick Low) was passing the ball off the screens," Enos said. "I don't know, I was just kind of feeling it."
The Kamehameha product got some meaningful playing time as a redshirt freshman last season, as UH's third-string point guard. His shooting ability is what could continue to get him minutes in the future.
"I'm just trying to get better, how I can help the team for the upcoming year of UH basketball," Enos said. "Just become a better point guard and continue to shoot the ball."
Unfortunately, Buscher didn't see any action for Chosen Few on Thursday, though he was among the first to stand and cheer for his teammates.
"I'm on a good team, so we got a lot of guys who can play," Buscher said. "I'll be here, hopefully I get a couple minutes a game and try to contribute."
Buscher is coming off a state championship at 'Iolani. When he traded the black and red for the green and white, to borrow a line from the classic movie Anchorman — things escalated quickly. They jumped up a notch.
He seemed to realize it.
"Playing high school ball in Hawaii is a hell of a lot different from D-I," Buscher said. "It's going to take some time to get used to it. Being a student-athlete, getting it done in the classroom first, that's what the coaches want us to do over the summer right now. And on top of that, it's putting in the work and getting stronger, getting faster. Getting shots up."
Buscher helped at least one of his new teammates acclimatize themselves so far. He said he took Fleming out to the Kaneohe sandbar on his family's boat and let the East Coast guard tow-surf behind.
"He loved it. Got it on the first try," Buscher said.