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Hawaii at 5-0 gaining popularity

McGarrett, Danno and Kono Kalakaua might want to make some room. Hawaii Five-O is not the only new hit revival show in Hawaii.

The 5-0 Hawaii basketball team is also gaining a strong following after some exciting opening episodes.

Attendance is up around 500 per game from last season, and will likely grow even more as the Warriors continue to grow under first-year head coach Gib Arnold.

“From a fan’s perspective, the feeling is one of what Gib has preached, which is one of hope,” longtime Hawaii basketball fan Chris Dias said. “Gib has said he’s building a program, not a team, and it’s already starting … there’s a sense of excitement even among people who are longtime fans, but more importantly, knowledgeable fans, about what the future holds.”

Tony Schmidt, another longtime fan, said he missed several games in recent seasons without any regret. This season, he has brought his wife Valerie and their son Hunter to every home game.

“The last three years, I probably came to only three or four games,” Schmidt said. “This year, I don’t want to miss a game. It’s a big difference.”

His son, Hunter, who is 7, is allowed to stay up past his normal bedtime only on nights when the Hawaii basketball team is playing a game. Although the team has played just five games, Hunter has already established his favorite player for this season.

“My favorite player is Bo Barnes,” Hunter said. “I think he’s a really good shooter and dribbler and passer.”

The Warriors will play their next two games on the road before returning for a home game against Hawaii Pacific on Dec. 11.

Fans are also excited about the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, which is set for Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center. This year’s eight-team field includes national powers Butler and Baylor. Hawaii will open the tournament against Florida State.

“I’d like to tell anyone who’s thinking about coming to basketball this year, you better do it because you’re missing something just wonderful, and you’re missing a great team in the making,” said local celebrity and fan Carole Kai.

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