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Warriors exhibit skills in exhibition win

If an exhibition game is supposed to be a preview of things to come, the new era of Hawaii basketball could be in for an exciting 2010-11 season.

With every player in uniform contributing, the Warriors played an energetic and exciting brand of basketball in an 83-55 exhibition victory over Chaminade on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“Not knowing ourselves even … we just really wanted to give effort and play with some passion tonight and I was pleased with that as a coach,” new Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said.

A crowd of 3,539 at the Sheriff Center watched in delight as Arnold put in a passionate effort himself in his debut as Hawaii head coach.

“I was excited, I was really excited,” Arnold said. “I was looking forward to tonight. My coaching style, as infant as it is, I believe this is a game of passion and a game of emotion, and if I’m asking my players to play that way, then they should probably expect me to coach that way.”

Sophomore forward Joston Thomas led the way with 25 points and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-7 newcomer has been described as an all-around talent, and he proved it against Chaminade.

Thomas scored in a variety of ways – post moves, putbacks, 2-of-3 shooting on 3-pointers, and a breakaway dunk.

“I just did what Coach Gib told me to do and I was successful at it,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know how many points I had, I was just playing hard.”

Senior Bill Amis added 14 points and seven rebounds, junior Zane Johnson had 13 points and four rebounds, and freshman Bo Barnes scored 11 on a perfect shooting night (4 for 4, including three 3-pointers). Also of note, sophomore Vander Joaquim finished with eight points and five rebounds, and senior Hiram Thompson – the only returning starter from last season’s 10-20 team – contributed six points and six assists.

Among the impressive team statistics, Hawaii shot 48.5 percent from the field (33-68), and 53.8 percent from 3-point range (7 of 13). The Warriors were also a perfect 10 for 10 on free throws, and committed just nine turnovers.

“We all came out and played hard,” Amis said. “I kind of had some pre-game jitters, I was a little worried. But we came out and handled business.”

Although the final result and statistics will not count for either team, it did appear to ignite confidence into the young Hawaii team.

“I thought we went out and executed really well, we definitely played hard and got after it,” Johnson said. “Definitely showed what we could be in our potential.”

Arnold did not finalize his starting lineup until a few hours before the game. He wound up going with Thompson and Johnson at the guards, Thomas and Amis at forwards, and Douglas Kurtz at center.

However, Arnold substituted early and often, and said he still does not have a starting lineup for the real season opener against Montana State on Nov. 12.

In fact, after the freshman Barnes sparked a first-half surge with three 3-pointers, he started the second half.

“I tried to come in and not be nervous,” Barnes said. “We executed all our plays and the defensive strategy, I think we just came out and played really well.”

The Warriors jumped to a 17-6 lead to open the game and eventually increased it to 27-10. By halftime, Hawaii had a 42-27 advantage.

Chaminade got as close as 10 at 58-48 with around 12 minutes remaining. The Warriors responded with a 10-0 run, highlighted by dunks from Thomas and Amis, to put the game away.

Mamadou Diarra, Chaminade’s 7-foot center, finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Steven Bennett, Chaminade’s 5-foot-6 point guard, contributed 10 points and five assists.

[Photo: Brandon Flores]

19 Comments

  1. nice start.

    how far away are salter and brumfield from contributing?

    was cain there?

  2. It was only Chaminade but it was the style that is impressive. The Warriors were in constant attack mode on offense and always putting the pressure on when on defense. I loved seeing the different full court presses.

    All players showed potential and a positive spirit. A nice change when compared to the past three seasons. Hopefully Coach will continue utilizing the whole bench, it will only benefit the team during the conference portion of the season.

  3. al,

    Dominick Brumfield should be ready to practice soon, but he’s missed so much time, he has a lot of catching up to do. Anthony Salter was making a serious push to start at point guard, so his foot injury is a major setback. He’ll be out a few more weeks, at least.

    When both are healthy, they should play significant roles, if not start.

    As for Damiene Cain, NO he is not here this weekend. Where did you hear that from? Hawaii is still on his list, however, and he is still trying to schedule a visit.

    Thanks al for your frequent visits and comments.

  4. al k,

    How did your team do against HPU on Tuesday? Did you guys play Chaminade as well? Chaminade coach Matt Mahar said they scrimmaged a local team but not sure if that was your team.

    You are right, this was “only” D-II Chaminade, but still quite an impressive performance by the Warriors considering how new and young the team is this year.

    True test to come. Hawaii will open the regular season with three games in four days: Montana State on Friday, Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, then Central Michigan on Monday.

  5. Yes, it was only Chaminade, but a fun game to watch nonetheless.. I was left with a sour taste after the Boise game, so this definitely helped take a bit of the sting out of the day..

    A few observations:

    – Joston Thomas is a beast, plain and simple.. Didn’t realize how big the guy is. I think I’ve heard of comparisons to LeBron James, and physically, and I’m not sure I would disagree.. And he’s got game too.. If he stays focused, Joston could be one of the best we’ve EVER had..

    – We’re going to struggle at center.. Both Vander and Kurtz have the size, but not sure they have the skillset.. Would love to trade for Chaminade’s center at the moment..

    – After not having much of an outside game for years, it was nice to see us popping (and hitting) outside shots. Barnes couldn’t miss all night, but I think it will be Zane Johnson, who wll end up playing the Robin, next to Joston’s Batman.

    – Holdouts Amis and Thompson are serviceable pieces who I’m glad are still on this team and will contribute throughout the year.. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if Thompson eventually were to lose his starting spot to one of the newcomers..

    – Granted, we didn’t get a chance to see Salter or Brumfield due to injuries, but I don’t think we go very deep.. Wiseman, Jordan Coleman, Bobby Miles, are all really raw..

    Great website, Dayton! Looking forward to getting the latest breaking news on UH hoops and for hopefully a successful season.

  6. Great Job Dayton in setting up this website, and good luck to you. I hope this becomes a successful media endeavor for you and another golden egg towards financial independence. Good luck.

  7. Dayton,

    Wasnt there talk about “BIG MAMA-DOU” transfering to UH instead of Chaminade? The guy is a great intimidator down low!

    GREAT SITE!!

  8. Lono and Ralph,

    Thanks for the kind words of encouragement.

    —-

    Fish,

    Gib Arnold helped recruit Mamadou Diarra to USC in 2007, so there was a connection. However, Diarra transferred to Chaminade in 2009, while Arnold was still at USC. Any talk of Diarra transferring from Chaminade to UH was simply rumor. He would have had to sit out for a second straight year, and I’m sure he wanted to play already.

    You are right though, he is an intimidating big man who could develop into a pro prospect.

  9. If you haven’t checked it out yet, we have just started a forum on this site for fans to share thoughts, views, opinions, rumors, what ever.

    Click on the Insider Forum – Live at the top of the page to participate.

  10. Belated congratulations on your terrific new site.

    Have you actually seen something from Brumfield that leads you to believe he will or can be a significant contributor this year? Other than what the coach has said, I see no reason for such optimism. In what little practice time he has had, he has been protected from any contact, so it’s been hard to see in what way he will shine.

    I’m also surprised that you think Anthony Salter will supplant Hiram. He’s significantly quicker to be sure, but from the little bit I have seen of him, he does not appear to have a lead guard’s “feel for the game.” It’s not that I can’t see Salter helping out quite a bit. He surely can and hopefully will. For instance, I would have loved to see Salter play Chaminade’s Bennet straight up last night, as Hiram has a tough time defensively with quick guards, and Bobby Miles also appears to lack the quickness to guard a guy like Bennet. On the other hand, I really thought Hiram showed his value as a leader last night, and I’m not so sure Salter has yet developed the kind of sense of pace and control to run the team that Hiram has.

    The team looks to be hard working again, and does not look like it has any poison pills like D. Williams and J. Lay. I don’t think Joston Thomas is quite as athletic as Rod Flemings, but he appears to have better skills, especially shooting, and also tries harder than Rod. Thus, there’s reasonable hope that Thomas will be more productive than Flemings. I would not bet on it, though, at least not yet.

  11. Dayton, thanks for the great site! Very excited about the upcoming season….and very impressed with Coach GIB!

  12. Thanks for the great site! Can’t wait to get started for real, first year I’ve bought season tickets.

  13. RYee,

    Thank you.

    As far as Brumfield, I think his athleticism and the relative lack of depth in the post will work in his favor. But like we both said, all this missed practice time will hurt his progress. I just think that when he’s healthy, he can provide a quicker option in the post.

    As for Salter, I don’t think he will supplant Hiram Thompson anytime soon. I think he was making a serious push to do that before his injury. Bottom line, Salter can contribute when he’s healthy, and it gives Gib a nice choice of point guards to match against opponents.

    Gib mentioned after the exhibition that he will change his starting lineup frequently throughout the season, based on what opponents have to offer. With that in mind, I think Brumfield and Salter can provide nice options.

    Hope to see you around soon.

  14. OKCBigKahuna and March Madness,

    Thanks for the support.

  15. Dayton, do you know why Jordan Coleman, had only few minutes of playing time,

    Thanks,

  16. Dayton, yes we did play Chaminade and lost by 10. After 2 practices with new players and not all players attending the practices, we just didn’t play defense well enough to win. We also had players who wanted to play 1 on 1 too much and hurt the team. We played HPU last Tuesday and played much better after 2 more practices. Unfortunately, the refs wouldn’t continue after the game was tied in regulation at 70. Go figure. I even asked for a 3 minute overtime period and then a sudden death situation, but we couldn’t get them to budge. Talked to Brian Barr, he said that Pat is dealing with the situation. Next up is a team from China in BYUH’s Asia-Pacific Tournament on the 15th. Sorry for going on so long. Thanks for asking though.

  17. Nice to see a lot players playing. I hope Coach Gib will use his bench more.

    In the past, it seems there was always an 8Th or 9Th player who could help, but did not get playing time early in the season, and then when the inevitable injury or grade point problem occurs, they were not ready. Also the fans, often have a favorite on the bench. Team harmony is better if everyone gets a few minutes.

  18. That was a very good video showing some of the highlights of Amis, Thompson, Thomas,Barnes & Johnson. Hope the team plays well in the real season too. If the team does well, the foundation is from Bob Nash’s 4 remaining recruits. If Thomas keeps playing like that, it could be a pretty good season.

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