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Opening night preview: Montana State

The joys of youth will be on display tonight, when the Hawaii basketball team opens the 2010-11 season by hosting Montana State.

The perils of youth could show up as well.

Which team experiences the joys and which the perils remain to be seen.

The Warriors host the Bobcats at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center tonight — the opening night of the three-night, four-team Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

The Warriors will bring a whole new coaching staff – led by head coach Gib Arnold – and a roster that features 10 new players, including four freshmen and five sophomores.

“We’re not exactly where we want to be in terms of learning everything and having everything in,” Arnold said. “But the guys are ready for this. They’re excited for it, and that counts for something, so we’ll give it a run.”

Montana State has a roster that features seven freshmen, including five who are expected to contribute immediately. The Bobcats finished 15-14 last season, including 10-6 in the Big Sky Conference.

Their top returning player is Bobby Howard, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound senior forward. He averaged 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season, and was an all-conference pick. Another top returnee is Erik Rush, a 6-5 senior guard who averaged 11.1 points per game last season.

“Great players, very smart, good athletes, great shooters,” said Hawaii associate coach Walter Roese, who scouted the Bobcats on video. “They’re going to spread the floor. That’s something that’s going to be a good test for us … they execute their offense. Primarily, they like to go half-court offense.”

The Warriors will likely go with a starting lineup of Hiram Thompson at point guard, Zane Johnson at shooting guard, Joston Thomas at small forward, Bill Amis at power forward, and Vander Joaquim at center.

In essence, neither team knows what to expect.

When asked what he knew about Montana State, Thomas responded: “Absolutely nothing. That’s what makes it more exciting.”

Hawaii should have the height advantage, led by the 6-10 Joaquim and 6-9 Amis. Seven-foot senior Douglas Kurtz is expected to share time with Joaquim.

The Bobcats’ biggest player is 6-10, 270-pound junior Cody Anderson, and their other post players are 6-7 or shorter.

“They’re a solid team,” Hawaii’s Johnson said of the Bobcats. “They run their sets down deep into the shot clock so we have to be prepared to play the whole 35 seconds of the shot clock.”

Arnold said he expects to have 10 healthy players available for tonight’s game. In addition to Kurtz, other Warriors expected to see significant action include point guard Bobby Miles, shooting guard Bo Barnes and forward Trevor Wiseman.

Junior point guard Anthony Salter (foot) and sophomore forward Dominick Brumfield (knee) were able to practice on Thursday, but Arnold does not expect either of them to be ready to play. “They might suit up just to get a feel for the game, but I don’t think we’ll be able to use them in a game situation,” Arnold said.

The Hawaii-Montana State game is the first of a Rainbow Classic doubleheader. Cal State Fullerton will face Central Michigan in the second game, around 9:30 p.m.

The tournament will continue on Saturday and Monday. The Warriors will play Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. Saturday, then Central Michigan in an ESPN game at 11 p.m. Monday.

(Photo by Brandon Flores)

11 Comments

  1. barring further injuries…is coleman going to redshirt this year?

  2. Looks like he could use the extra year to put some weight on. Seems to jump well.

  3. There is no talk of Coleman redshirting this season. At least not yet.

    With a small roster, not sure if the coaches can take that chance. You never know when injuries might happen and a guy like Coleman could be called to action any time.

    Spidah is right. Coleman is a great athlete — if there were a team dunk contest, he’d be one of the favorites. But he is also far behind in the strength department.

  4. Tonight’s game is on PPV. Are all of the games going to be PPV? What happened to K5?

  5. I mean, for the season.

  6. There are going to be three PPV games for men’s basketball — tonight, tomorrow (vs. Cal State Fullerton), then Nov. 24 vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff.

    Mpst of the other home games will be either K5 or one of the ESPN stations. There will be a few home games that will not be televised due to conflicts with baseball or other sports.

  7. Good news. I was worried that BBall would go the way of Football.

  8. Just checked. $25 for PPV. Not bad.

  9. No mo’ cable box.

  10. A bit sloppy, but good win by the Bows.. Probably not a post-season caliber team yet, but definitely one to be excited about!

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