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Warriors ready for Idaho; Amis says he’ll play

It’s already been a few weeks since Christmas, so the Hawaii basketball team is overdue for some returns.

First, the Warriors are returning to the Stan Sheriff Center for the first time since Christmas. Hawaii will host Idaho on Thursday in a Western Athletic Conference game scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. (following a UH women’s game).

The Warriors, who are 9-5 overall (including 8-1 in the Sheriff Center), are also hoping to return to the win column after an 0-2 road trip to start the WAC. Idaho is 7-6 overall and 1-1 in conference.

“They’re a team that has some very good athleticism – in fact they’re a little bit more athletic than us, but I think we have a little more size,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said of the Vandals. “They’re a great defensive team, very well-coached. They beat Louisiana Tech by 30 last week, and I was real impressed with their team defense. We have to bring our best effort, or it could be a long night for us.”

Hawaii is also hoping for the long-awaited return of senior forward Bill Amis, who has missed the last 10 games with a stress fracture in his right foot.

Amis participated in a full practice on Wednesday, and if his foot responds well on Thursday, he should be able to play. If it’s up to him, he’s in.

“I’m gonna play,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s about it.”

Amis started the first four games of this season, and averaged 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Because he remained on the sidelines for the past six weeks, his conditioning is not prepared for a full game. However, his presence on the court for any amount of time should be an asset for the Warriors.

“He did some pretty good things out there today,” Arnold said after Wednesday’s practice.

If Amis is able to play, that would give Hawaii four players averaging double-figure points. The others are Zane Johnson (14.8), Hiram Thompson (12.5) and Joston Thomas (11.7).

In contrast, Idaho has just one player averaging double-figure points. The Vandals have been relying on a balanced attack, with their top six players averaging between 8.1 and 10.5 points per game each.

“They have a little bit of everything,” said Hawaii assistant coach Brandyn Akana, who scouted the Vandals. “They’re a dangerous team. They do a lot of things outside and inside, so they’re a well-balanced team.”

Here is video of Akana’s scouting take on the Vandals:

Idaho’s top backcourt players are 5-foot-11 junior Deremy Geiger (10.5 points per game), 6-3 senior Shawn Henderson (9.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game), and 6-3 senior Jeff Ledbetter (8.8 points per game, 30 3-pointers). The top post players are 6-8 junior Luiz Toledo (9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds per game), 6-10 sophomore Kyle Barone (9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds per game), and 6-6 senior Brandon Wiley (8.1 points, 5.5 rebounds per game).

Hawaii freshman point guard Bobby Miles had two wisdom teeth pulled on Monday morning and had to sit out practices on Monday and Tuesday. He returned to practice on Wednesday still in some pain, but said he will be ready to play on Thursday.

Here is video of Miles talking about his “injury”:

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