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Undermanned Hawaii ready to stand tall

The Hawaii basketball will rely on an elite eight to get it through the eight-team Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic this week at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors will have just eight players available when they play Florida State on Wednesday, the opening night of the tournament. It will be the first of three games in four nights for the Warriors.

Hawaii is 7-2, including 6-0 in the Stan Sheriff Center. Florida State is 9-2, with the only losses coming against No. 2 Ohio State and No. 20 Florida.

“It’s like the movie ‘300.’ They got a bunch of guys and we’ve got a few. Our few has to be pretty tough,” said assistant coach Benjy Taylor, who has been scouting Florida State.

The Warriors will be without senior starters Bill Amis and Hiram Thompson. Amis has already missed the last five games with a stress fracture in his right foot, and is expected to sit out the entire tournament. Thompson suffered a back injury in Hawaii’s last game.

Inappropriately enough, one of Florida State’s strengths is depth. The Seminoles have 10 different players averaging at least 10 minutes of playing time per game.

The top Florida State player is Chris Singleton, a 6-foot-9 junior forward. He is averaging 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Eight other players are averaging between 5.0 and 10.8 points per game each.

“Their guys do a good job of role determination – the shooters shoot, the drivers drive, and the rebounders rebound,” Taylor said.

The Seminoles are also one of the top defensive teams in the country, allowing just 58.9 points per game, while limiting opponents to a .337 field goal percentage.

“Very aggressive, full-court man to man defense,” Taylor said. “They’re very balanced and very deep.”

With Amis and Thompson unavailable, Zane Johnson and Joston Thomas will have to carry much of the offensive load. Johnson is averaging 12.6 points per game, and Thomas is averaging 12.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

True freshman Bobby Miles is also expected to play an increased role as the only true point guard.

In any case, the Warriors are excited to host the tournament, as there is a chance that all three of their games could be televised on the ESPN network of stations.

“I don’t feel like it’s a regional or anything like that,” Thomas said. “I just feel like this is the best basketball and we’re in the mix of it.”

The other seven teams in the Diamond Head Classic:

Baylor (7-1, ranked No. 15)
Butler (6-4, the 2010 NCAA runner-up)
Florida State (9-2, finished third in ACC last season)
Mississippi State (7-3)
San Diego (2-8)
Utah (7-3)
Washington State (8-1)

Players to watch from other teams:

Baylor: LacDarius Dunn (6-4, Sr., G) averaging 21.8 points and 4.2 3-pointers per game.

Butler: Matt Howard (6-8, Sr., F) averaging 17.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Florida State: Chris Singleton (6-9, Jr., F) averaging 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

Mississippi State: Ravern Johnson (6-7, Sr., G) averaging 22.4 points and 4.1 3-pointers per game.

San Diego: Darian Norris (6-0, Jr., G) averaging 11.0 points per game.

Utah: Will Clyburn (6-7, Jr., F) averaging 19.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Washington State: Klay Thompson (6-6, Jr., G) averaging 21.0 points and 5.0 assists per game.

Schedule:

Wednesday, Dec. 22
10 a.m. – Mississippi State vs. Washington State
Noon – San Diego vs. Baylor
6 p.m. – Utah vs. Butler
8 p.m. – Hawaii vs. Florida State

Thursday, Dec. 23
11:30 a.m. – Consolation game 1
1:30 p.m. – Semifinal game 1
5 p.m. – Semifinal game 2
7:30 p.m. – Consolation game 2

Saturday, Dec. 25
9 a.m. – Seventh place
11:30 a.m. – Fifth place
2:30 p.m. – Third place
4:30 p.m. — Championship

2 Comments

  1. Mr. Morinaga, I am a former Hawaii basketball player, played in the mid seventies and
    early eighties. My former teammate Brad Pineau is coaching an Australia Club basketball
    team of High School players in Hawaii. Can you do a video clip of him and his team ?

    His team will be playing after the Diamond Head Classic Games. Doing present videos for this Warrior team is good but acknowledging Rainbow Warriors of the past is even better as readers would always like to be kept informed of many ex-bow players who have gone on and done well for themselves.

    Mr. Pineau is only in Hawaii for this time as it is quite expensive traveling from Australia to Hawaii. Will appreciate a nice clip on his home coming back to Hawaii and his status as Club Manager for his Melbourne Tiger team.

    Thank you IF you can make it possible !

  2. RainbowCliff,

    Sorry, I ran out of time and could not make the high school game that day. I actually saw Brad Pineau chatting with Gib Arnold at the Iolani Classic, but didn’t realize at the time that was him.

    Thank you very much for the update and hope you can keep viewing and commenting on this site.

    FYI, there’s an “Alumni News” section on our Insider Forum (click on the link at the top right of the home page). Perhaps you can start posting updates on yourself and teammates you stay in touch with there. It might be a good way to start conversations on the former players and I know I’d certainly appreciate it.

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