Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Joaquim takes top honor at Awards Banquet

Vander Joaquim’s outstanding season for the Hawai’i basketball team was rewarded with the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award.

Joaquim received the team’s top honor at the 2012 Awards Banquet, which was held on Wednesday, April 25, at the Tapa Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The 6-foot-10 junior center led the Warriors in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage for the 2011-12 season. He finished the season with 14.3 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, 58 blocked shots, and a .560 field goal percentage.

In addition to the Most Outstanding Player award, Joaquim received the Best Defensive Player award.

The awards came as no surprise, as Joaquim also received several individual awards during the 2011-12 season. He was named a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection, as well as a WAC All-Defensive Team selection.

Last month Joaquim was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 first team, making him the first player to earn first-team all-district recognition since Michael Kuebler in 2003-04.

“I said it after the WAC Tournament, and I’m going to say it again – he’s the best center on the West Coast, any conference, hands down,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “It’s been great to watch him evolve, and his maturity as a player.”

Joaquim, who is from Luanda, Angola, is expected to play for Angola’s national team this summer before returning to Hawaii for his senior season.

Joaquim took home two of the four major awards at the banquet. The others went to senior point guard Miah Ostrowski and sophomore forward Davis Rozitis.

Ostrowski received the Ah Chew Goo Most Inspirational Player award for the second consecutive season. He led the team in assists with 7.0 per game, which ranked sixth in the nation. For the last two seasons, Ostrowski has played as a receiver for the UH football team, then joined the basketball team in December. The Punahou School graduate will play another season with the Hawai’i football team in 2012.

“He won us a bunch of games and affected winning,” Arnold said. “I’m going to miss him because these guys don’t come around often and I’m proud to say I coached him.”

Rozitis received the Academic Award as the team’s top scholar-athlete. He is a political science major who also received WAC All-Academic recognition for 2011-12. Rozitis, who is from Cesis, Latvia, is expected to play for Latvia’s national team this summer before returning to Hawai’i for his junior season.

“He’s our brightest student … I was in Serbia recruiting and I get a text (from Rozitis) ‘Coach, how do I see the Dalai Lama?’ I never thought I’d have a player ask to see the Dalai Lama,” Arnold said. “We have a couple years to work with Davis, and I’m thrilled he’s with us.”

Arnold and his staff presented the awards, and also introduced each of the team members. Arnold also talked about the signed recruits who will join the Warriors for the 2012-13 season – Caleb Dressler, Isaac Fotu, Orel Lev and Brandon Spearman. Lev enrolled at UH this semester and was in attendance at the banquet.

Senior guard Zane Johnson did not attend the banquet, as he has already left Hawaii to start training for a shot at professional basketball.

Three players who departed the team after the 2011-12 season (Bobby Miles, Joston Thomas and Trevor Wiseman) also did not attend the banquet.

Freshman point guard Shaquille Stokes attended the banquet, and announced the next day that he would not return to UH next season for family reasons.

The event helped raise funds to pay for summer school costs for the players. Around 300 fans attended the banquet, including Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Speaker of the House Calvin Say.


  1. Dayton: Great job to you and staff for excellent video.

    I can’t see any disunity with coaches, team award winners, ..even saw, I think Jim Donovan there, heard mention of Chancellor Hinshaw too. Gib very open about season, why guys transfer..nothing but good things to say about everybody..Those in attendance are the boosters and people, movers and shakers who really help program. What can I say? Sad to lose Shaq and others, yet things look good for next year..Gib still positive and guys coming in, quite excited about. High Character guys, hard workers, look like good students and citizens…

    Man , am really looking forward to next few weeks on into summer for possible few more signees..it is like a fresh start for Big West conference..that video speaks volumes…Joston, Trevor and Bobby of course like other transfers were not there, that is okay, just wish them well and thank them for their efforts, they all seem like very nice kids..

    Now we wait and see who Gib gets as a backup point possibly , and another wing possibility too.

  2. Congratulations, Vander, not just on the awards, but also on your impressive improvement over the years; looking forward to your return after your summer and likely Olympic Adventures …

    When you have talented high character players, who work hard, in the gym, in the weight room, in the classroom, improvement can be remarkable, and close to reliable; even injuries can be lessened;

    i’d like to think (as a goal or objective) that mental toughness and hard work also can make five game losing streaks, that occurred in both seasons, a rarity, a thing of the past; that resiliency makes it less likely that even a second loss occurs because players can’t stand losing the one and show up more ready, better prepared than most teams they will play … that tendency alone can result in better seasons ahead…

  3. Good comments and observations Eagle!

    Which teams had that mental toughness and physical preparedness, i.e., most success, always bouncing back after tough road swing or loss? In my opinion, Savo led team with Puida, etc that won , I think 26 or 27 games( very tough TEAM), The Chris Gaines, Troy Bowe, Vince Smalls etc team that won, I think about 23 or 24 games(very tough TEAM)physical, and did not like losing..I though Gib’s first team with Amis and Hiram Thompson, leading..were tough, and it led to a 19 game winning season and national leaders in team defense..(tough TEAM)…

    Eagle, good observations..you sure you not Gib Arnold? Just kidding..
    I have been following UH MBB since intermediate school around 1966, so I love the game and the school.It will be exciting…I believe from that banquet ,just the tenor and spirit and attitude..it looks like we could be in, if everyone, returnees and new guys Work hard on court, off court High Character and are ALL IN…I am sure will be successful..develop that Winning attitude now..and the guys who are still with team , are working very hard off season..and Vander, if he says coming back to get degree and get that BW championship…I don’t doubt him..

    Look forward to more of your observations…very astute, positive yet keeping it REAL..

    And thanks again Dayton for letting us post comments..appreciate it, this is a very positive site, for any fan of UH MBB team!!!

  4. Aloha,
    Can’t we get ‘Miah for one more year?
    It totally sucks that we only get him for two years.
    Talk about high character.

    We hope and pray that Vander comes back.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t see the need to recruit more big boys?

    The other blog sucks. they don’t even know that Stokes is leaving.

    Dayton, you da man!

    You is ST Junior!

    kden, brada puhi

  5. Ok my bad, we seem to have a few big boys in the wings. I just haven’t seen them yet.

    kden, brada puhi

  6. John Ursua would be a great point guard, but he’s probably going on a church mission.

  7. Congrats to Vander! He was the best player on the team, and I’m looking forward to seeing him dominating the BWC next season.

    Hopefully a true leader is able to step forward this year… Hauns, Jace, or Christian? I was disappointed in Zane as a captain. He was a very good shooter with underrated defensive abilities… just wasn’t up to the task of handling the additional duties of being a team captain. Way too emotional, and not a calming force for the younger guys.

  8. Ursua, questionable once he returns , will he even come back to football team? other former football player went on mission came back wanting to go BYU. Also BB will be lost , ie- Hiram never returned to form , weakened physically.

  9. Since Ursua lived on the Big Island — not sure if he was born there — before moving to Utah, it might influence him to enroll at UH once he completes his church mission. In fact, I thought he turned down BYU to sign with Hawaii. Great-looking athlete; hope we see him here in a couple of years.

  10. From a physical standpoint, Hiram was never the same after his mission. It would probably have been best for him to redshirt the first year he came back, but because of a lack of capable guards was forced into playing even though he was under prepared physically.

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