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Impressive debuts in Summer League for Fotu, Spearman

The Warrior basketball future suddenly looks a bit brighter, thanks in large part to the impressive Hawai’i College Summer League debuts of newcomers Isaac Fotu and Brandon Spearman on Thursday night.

A hundred or so curious fans packed Manoa Valley District Park gym to watch the doubleheader, and several UH players — new and returning — highlighted both games.

In the opener, Spearman scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to help Solar Universe pull away from Wealth Strategy Partners, 101-89. Spearman, a 6 foot 4, 195-pound junior guard from Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College, showed speed and athleticism while also draining three 3-point shots. He was quick off the dribble and gave a glimpse of his reported 38-inch vertical leap by capping his performance with a soaring dunk.

Fellow UH guard Garrett Jefferson led Wealth Strategy with 23 points in his first appearance of the season and incoming walk-on guard Dyrbe Enos contributed eight points for Solar Universe.

In the nightcap, returning Warriors wing Hauns Brereton scored a league season high 44 points, including 26 in the first half, grabbed nine rebounds and made two steals to lead Central Medical Clinic to an 88-85 victory over National Fire Protection. Brereton was 18-of-34 from the field, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, and 4-of-5 from the free throw line.

UH senior guard Jace Tavita started out on fire, draining his first four 3-point attempts, before cooling off and finishing with 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting (4-for-8 on 3s) for Central Medical. Tavita (6-4) is a transfer from Utah who redshirted this past season.

Fotu, a 6-9 incoming freshman forward from Auckland, New Zealand, was perhaps the brightest surprise of the evening. He came off the bench to score 23 points, grab 10 rebounds and block two shots while displaying nifty footwork and a soft touch near the basket. Fotu was 10-of-16 from the field, almost exclusively from close range, and 3-for-5 on free throws.

“I can also shoot the mid-range jumper, although I didn’t show it tonight,” Fotu said. “I had two workouts earlier before the game (at UH), so I was cramping up at first. But as the game went on, I felt more comfortable.”

Fotu particularly showed nice finesse on a reverse move, tip-in and jump hook. He said he arrived in Honolulu on June 29 and has spent the past week attending summer school and working out with teammates at UH.

“I’ve been bonding with the team,” Fotu said. “I think we have enough to get the job done. They’re all hard workers.”

After Thursday’s game, Fotu was greeted by about a dozen relatives — young and old — who live in Kalihi Valley.

“It’s the first time all of them got to watch me play,” Fotu said. “I love it here.”

31 Comments

  1. Funny how the world of MBB turns…a few months ago, people wanted Gib to walk the figurative plank..all might be lost..now, a glimpse with Fotu, Spearman, hopefully Clair will just steady out and have fun, Michael and Dyrbe continue to show what they can do..Jefferson, making strides to improve not regress, Jawato, looks leaner , maybe even taller..await his chance since tweaked his ankle..Christian high motor, agressive, Jace shows he can hit the 3 and manage a game..Caleb we await his debut..Hauns, old fashioned gunslinger, shooting from all over..and now..fellow fans ..have hope..team if get all on board, play hard, smart and together could do well , maybe very well hopefully in BW..look forward to Vander , and Davis returning very soon, and maybe Gib getting one more SF..?hoping!!

    Great reporting as always Wes..This site is The Warrior Insider for sure, excellent source for all things UH MBB, and we can never thank the sponsors enough..we know they are MBB fans as well, and the sponsors have increased over past months/year..so yes bright things ahead!!

  2. dayton…does isaac fotu’s participation last night indicate that he has now cleared the ncaa hurdles.

  3. Interesting, Tai Webster (Tony’s kid) scored a game-high 21 in New Zealand’s victory over Angola at Olympic qualifier. Can’t find a box score; don’t know if Vander played.

  4. Wonder whats keeping Gib from going after Tai? Must feel he is on some better prospects but if schools like Pitt are after this guy he must be the real deal.

  5. I guess Tai would be a 2013 recruit? Maybe Gib working it right now..we shall see in scout recruiting offers , just my guess..

  6. You all know that Angola was eliminated by Russia in a quarterfinal game to make Olympics? Now we see if Vander come back home..Hope he does..can work out with team, and on game with coaches..
    Welcome back home Vander..congratulations on making your national team, there is always four years from now..you can have a monster senior season and a great payoff day for PRO..

  7. Fotu was a straight-up beast last night. Very impressed with his skill level for a true freshman.

    Tai Webster (6-1 guard) and Dane Pineau (6-8 forward) are 2013 recruiting targets. Very interesting that their dad’s played for UH and played professionally in NZ and AU respectively. Hopefully we have the lead on these guys.

  8. Thanks, Dayton, Brandon, Wes, Sponsors and Fans…

    It’s starting to look like Thansgiving Every Day…
    It’s a Good Thing to Count Our Blessings And WINS…

    ———————

    Sure looks like Hauns is shooting cleaner,smoother, more in rhythm and playing looser…
    lookin’ for a good senior season…

    Garrett Jefferson is lookin’ better, too; maybe enough for coach to let him stay out on the court longer, neutralizing one of their key scorers, and balance off some of their points by scoring a few himself…

    New guys off to a good start…Fotu, Spearman showing skills & mechanics that work anywhere…

  9. hey Fotu & Spearman:
    it’s thrilling to see you playing in your 1st officiated Hawaiian game. welcome to the Summer League.

    it can be physically demanding on your young bodies, after 2 hard practices earlier of the day!
    see ‘Workout King’ Hauns for points on strength & conditioning.

    am confident that someday you can scored 44pts as well!?

  10. too bad u didnt capture spearmans dunk..maybe wasnt that good? lets see if clair lights up manoa tomorrow

  11. Will Manroop Make It Rain Threes in Manoa…?

    INCOMING…!

    What’s New About Rainbows Over…?
    Manoa Valley Gym
    UHManoa
    Big West

    Does ‘Roop demonstrate the Handles and The Vision to lead The Warriors?

    OR IS JACE HOLDING HIM OFF?
    (Two Effective points s better …)
    ———

    Spearman’s Offensive Skills look better than you might expect from an 11 ppg guy…

  12. maybe ‘Spearmint’ finally warmed-up.. oh, also forgot that is not a Freshman!

    hey Roopi:
    we respect & expect A LOT FROM YOU; we had a watchful eye on you for the next 4yrs (unless NBA got impatient!).
    of course, we heard you said that “got to prove our self to the fans” very confidently (great, we like your fortitude) after you found out about us.

    you know what? some fans of THE DOUBTER KIND said “the team haven’t got a good PG yet! (isn’t this a direct insult to you?).

    let this be your challenge: to be the best point-guard that you can be & get the wins, and not only that;
    be the best point-scoring-point-guard that you can be & got the wins!!!

    … then, Gov Abercrombie will notice,, then, got into a good mood, proclaiming “let’s expand SSC!”.

  13. Thanks to all of you for the support, and thanks for keeping this site so lively during the so-called “off” season.

    Sorry to stop the momentum of the Summer League coverage, but WarriorInsider will not be able to make it to Manoa on Saturday. If any of you get a chance to go out and watch the games on Saturday, please feel free to share your thoughts and observations here.

    Thank you.

  14. Did I read that stat right? Garrett Jefferson 9-10 FT?

  15. Dayton, probably no videos from me (my iPad memory Maxed Out after a few minutes last time) but we should be adding our impressions to the avalanche….

    IF Jefferson can hit 70%+ of his free throws (80 Will win Games), then Gib can keep him in the game prime time — for those Stops — and shutdown / come-from-behind Wins. Those free throws and some of the improved Offensive skills Garrett was displaying this week, were among the homework coach assigned, for sure.

  16. Clair was a no show. Supposedly twisted his ankle today. Caleb Dressler made a positive showing. Closer to 6’8 than 6’10, big, strong build, pretty good hands and good solid fundamentals. Most of all, a cold blooded shooter. Took about 7-8 shots from 12 to 20 feet and made all but one, some of them at critical points in the game. Still, you can see why the big boys didn’t go after him. Caleb has little or no quickness, and while he has reasonably long arms, he is not much of a jumper. This makes Dressler pretty weak on defense, and though he will learn to compensate some for his lack of footspeed and jumping ability, these physical deficiencies limit his upside. Still think he is a very worthwhile recruit, especially because of shooting ability and calm demeanor.

    Other observations:

    Michael Harper is a nice player with good skills and good know-how. In my opinioin, however, he’s just not quick enough at his size to be a useful player at the Division I level. A good walk-on though.

    Garrett Jefferson actually made a 3 pointer tonight. Problem is, he missed at least 6 others. People say his shot looks better. Okay, but in the two games I’ve seen, he’s no better than 1 for 12 from 3 point land against mediocre to no defense at all (left unguarded). Jefferson reminds me of Geremy Robinson, except that he has about half or less of Geremy’s skills.

    Isaac Fotu got his “rookiness” exposed a little bit tonight. An older but still pretty athletic 6’5 ex-Navy man took Fotu almost completely out of his game, offensively and defensively, and as a result, Isaac was largely ineffective and sat quite a bit. I’m not too worried, though. I think he’ll still be a good one. It’s just that Isaac is not naturally aggressive enough right now, so he can be nullified by aggressive play.

  17. Funny, I thought Caleb was 6’10” to 6’11”, anyway, they will get measured by fall camp. I think Caleb is coachable, seems like a nice kid, bright student! Isaac Fotu, love his footwork. Coaches can work with those bigs this summer.Well nice to see the kids develop!!

  18. As noted above any impressions RE: MANROOP CLAIR will need to wait…

    Stood at Bottom Steps Next to CALEB DRESSLER and 6-9 Julian Sensley — he’s at least as tall as Sensley and we’ll see how tall Gib “reports” him at…so far 6-10 up to 6-11 and that looks legit..at only 17 YO, he may end up 7-0-Plus…his skills are significant, skyhook, good form, quick jumpers out to three range, moves well and constantly without the ball; seems to have ALREADY earned the trust of Geremy Robinson AND Julian Sensley who regularly look and try to pass to him and since they’re Both Good Finishers, they wouldn’t bother unless Caleb was a reliable/high percentage finisher himself, and tonight as noted above, he was…agree very good, soft hands, good physicality beyond his 17 age… he’s usually in the right place on screens, rebounds and receipt of passes. He also gave Standhardinger the most one on one challenge/ trouble I’ve seen in three games… I think Dressler with his already impressive skill levels and motor is likely to end up one of the better or best big men in the Big West, already ahead of Rozitis and likely to eventually surpass Vander…( BUT this was only ONE NIght)…

    ISAAC FOTU looked drained, fatigued — he may be still suffering from time zones and jet lag as with Harper, the only players traveling EAST to Hawai’i (which is usually harder as demonstrated by NFL- Europe, UH AND visiting teams returning to the Contiguous-48… Although from my sideline vantage i thought two were clean blocks (All Ball) three quick first half fouls and apparent sluggishness kept Fotu as a lesser factor (than his Rep woud have us expecting)…

    STANDHARDINGER provided another typically outstanding game performance ~ 30 points worth…

    MICHAEL HARPER has good skills and athleticism, consistently looking like he was aware of floor spacing; and consitent jump shot out to three..

  19. Eagle: thank you for your update and observations! Too Bad about Manroop, hope he heals well, those tweaks can last a long time, he is young and could recover faster,..Fotu, I read on other forum, he might have fell ? on shoulder, hurt it..so coach decided to rest him..more sluggish,,,he is not in basketball shape I guess..Hope he heals, and gets plenty of rest and water.,he is young too..Caleb, on Youtube videos , I noticed that too..offensively, maybe at such a young age , more advanced than Davis at similar age..anyway..having 2 young bigs for coaches to work with for 8 weeks this summer, huge plus..they can play, and gain experience,..UH could be set in good bigs ,hopefully for years to come!!

  20. I think Gib has already mentioned that he expects that the front-line should be solid in the Fotu-Dressler era…

    Looks like lots of frustration, even sleepless nights, for opposing coaches and teams…

    Standhardinger was also really pissing Sensley off in his inimitable way…

    Some of these tweaks and manhood skirmishes are part of being “the big, new kid(s) in town”…

  21. Well done Fotu…Looking forward to seeing you repeat your great performance over and over and jump all hurdles. Same to the rst of the team members.

  22. Isaac Fotu, Caleeb Dressler, and Manroop Clair are the future of Hawaii MBB, and will have tremendous futures ahead of them. But for now I think the impact players, along with Vander, Hans, and Christian will be Brandon Spearman and Garret Jefferson. I would like to be proven wrong by the freshmen, but I believe most college players need at least one year before they can start to show their true potential. I believe if Jefferson can become a decent shooter he will be a nasty thorn to opposing teams, especially on the defensive end. And as was mentioned by Eagle, Jefferson can close out games if his free throws go down. And Spearman is a junior and already has considerable experience albeit from JUCCO. But they adapt to Div 1 faster than freshman. The point will be a question mark this year. Hope Jace can be the steady facilitator cause the floor will be spread out—overall better shooters this year. Do we have any pure points? Sure could use em this year. This team will suit Vander perfect since he won’t be double teamed so much because of the spread out floor. I think Vander can have a huge senior year (20+ppg) and that will help him in the draft.

  23. 1-With their NON-STOP Motors, Standhardinger, Vander, Dressler and Fotu should be one of the better rebounding teams….once that ball is near the glass, it’s going in the basket more times than not…

    2-Will Need High Outside shooting percentages to minimize long rebounds and other teams’ fast breaks…

    3-Slashing to the hole should help with free-throws — Spearman, Garrett, and ‘Roop(?) and kick into #1

    4-…and of course, stifling, suffocating, relentless defense keeps it all together …

  24. Standhardinger has a non-stop motor. Vander, Dressler and Fotu do not. Dressler and Fotu are good recruits who will add to the mix and make for a good future up front. However, they are not game changers up front as freshmen.

    Outside shooting is in trouble. Not taking into account Clair, whom I have not seen play yet, the best shooters on the team are Hauns and Dressler. No one else is even average.

    Only Garrett Jefferson is pretty good “slashing to the hole.” Problem is that the rest of his offensive game is far, far, far below par. Spearman is decent but not much better than average.. He will be a someone to reckon with against teams that simply cannot deal with Hawaii’s front line. Against the likes of UNLV and Illinois, he will be invisible.

    Stifling, suffocating, relentless defense? Dream on! Jefferson and Spearman could be 2/5s of a pressure defense. Vander could be the back end. No one else on this squad is a pressure defender. If this team tries to live by pressure and defense, they will get killed.

    To win, this team has to be methodical and patient – exactly the opposite of the type of team Gib told you he wanted to build. Interestingly enough, if this year’s team ran a Princeton style offense, they would be a real handful. If they try to run a pro-style, up and down offense, they will be laughable.

  25. You forgot Brandon Jawato and our two international bigs; Vander and Davis.

    Your statement about Hawaii’s shooting potential contradicts the type of offense you are suggesting. How will we run the Princeton offense without outside shooting?

    Anyhow, NMSU didn’t quite have a good shooting team last season and won the WAC tourney. They were probably one of the worst teams in the WAC from behind the arc. Multiple teams ran zone sets against them, and they had to rely on their powerforward, Wendell Mckines (a 30% 3pt shooter) to shoot them out of the zone.

    If NMSU can run an up-and-down offense, I think Hawaii could be somewhat successful at it as well. They were about six deep after Kabongo left the team. Try comparing Laroche, Mullings, and Watson with Tavita, Spearman, and Jefferson. Hawaii appears to be just as athletic. Hauns runs the floor effectively as well.

  26. Ohuan…

    It doesn’t actually say We HAVE any of those things or which of the four have motors, etc…. Or who is hitting threes or ‘already’ plays defense…Some don’t even have man-to-man skills (Dressler admits to sitting in a Zone, hardly even moving on defense)….

    it’s merely an outline of skill types needed, like objectives or goals — and who might be most responsible to work towards it…IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE AIMING FOR or trying to grow towards you ain’t getting there…

    THERE’S NO THING TO ATTACK OR DISCREDIT — What a player has is relevant… THE FACT that none of them are Lebron James IS NOT — you can only mould and play with what you got, can create or recruit…

    BTW Three Guys shutting down the other teams’ key players can be enough to shut down many teams who don’t have two, much less three players who can score at will..

    It’s like you insist on Tearing Down or Shadow Boxing with yourself… Score a Knockout!

  27. I actually enjoyed reading Oahuan’s unbiased evaluations on our current players in summer league. It may not ultimately prognosticate what’s going to happen in the upcoming year.. HOWEVER, at least he doesn’t insist on always looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Eagle, as faithful of a UH basketball follower as you obviously are, sometimes I wish you’d give it a rest with your biased incessant optimism. If I didn’t know any better, based on your evaluations, one would assume we’re in line for a national championship..

    Non-stop motor, stifling defense, sleepless nights for opposing coaches?!? Ha ha ha.. I mean, c’mon.. Let’s call a spade a spade here.. We have 2- to 3-star recruits here..

  28. Loon–(sp)

    Will watch comments (at least ’til I get to review whatever I’ve posted recently)….

    IF You listen to most of our opposing coaches, Vander by himself keeps them up late, watching video etc. (don’t see how they can slow down enough to watch videos mid- day)…
    Most Grinders are up to 1 to 3 in the morning anyway, so it’s NOT that big a compliment…

    Just with the Players they’ve already had, Hawai’i’s defense already was in the top third (if not number one) in conference for fg% and effective in “shutting down” or neutralizing key players

    Maybe Your View of “optimism” is just language or perspective…

    Pay Attention — I don’t even assume or “predict” CONFERENCE Championships…
    Highest to date with current or previous staffs (most recent six years) is “Potential Contenders”
    (That’s what, Potential top 3 or 4 in Conference only, marginal “Chance” for playoffs?)

    Do you realize multiple 2-3 star recruits IS an improvement…
    We’re NOT even Top100/150 yet…

    Thanks for the call-out/comments…

  29. You know, if you can’t handle constructive criticism and feel the need to resort to name-calling, don’t get involved with posting on message boards. Based on your previous posts, it appears you’re just one of those old, retired fossils who has been around since the stone ages and has nothing better to do than to post your ‘wisdom’ on message boards while taking things much too sensitively, so carry on, I suppose.. Since I’m the loon here and allegedly has ADD (while, in fact, the words I used were pretty much verbatim), clearly my mistake about your expert analysis!

  30. For You, Take a Look; You think BIASED INCESSANT OPTIMISM is Constructive…and…based on your evaluation we’re in line for a national championship…(“verbatim”) Ha ha ha…”

    I Addressed Your “verbatim quotes”…don’t like my explanation? I recognize stuff can be “read” or interpreted differently…but that’s what I intended when I wrote it and that’s all… all the Buy-A$$ came from elsewhere…

    Old Fossil (still playing league ball),
    Who’s Calling Names?

    Actually, apologize for the intentional mis- spell, Just the Lonos i know have nothing petty to say
    And deserve Higher Respect…so with your concurrence,
    Let’s return to that …Enough

    Agree this is More like EGO, than,
    eagle

    ———-
    (Note: I never “attacked” anyone else’s evaluations or comments, was only trying to answer comments to mine…)

    May you live long enough to qualify as an old fossil by your own standards — never one of my goals…

    IF anyone thinks this has no redeeming social value for kids, i’m open to discussion and calibration —
    I think civil, and sometimes a little less than civil, discussion and debate is a valuable life skill…)

  31. The FRANCHISE returns!
    Can’t wait to see us play in the Big West Conference. I don’t believe that there will be any team that can match up with Vander. They will try to double him and take their chances with our shooters. I hope he has the kind of year that Paul Milsap had with La Tech. They have a similar style of game—inside moves, rebounding, defense, and relentless play. I think when Vander gets the ball he should already have a move in mind and to kick out the ball as a 2nd option. That way he won’t hesitate and try to figure out what he should do. Then if he is doubled he can look for the open man. If one on one he should immediately run his set play. And would be nice if he can develop another play down low like a left spin and jumper instead of his bread and butter hook.

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