Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Aaron Valdes cleared to participate

Aaron Valdes has not yet played a game for the Hawai’i basketball team, but he’s already hit a buzzer beater.

Valdes, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, was able to complete the necessary paperwork to get cleared just in time to join the Warriors for the upcoming 2012-13 season. He played last season at La Jolla Prep School in California, and will be a true freshman this season.

“I love it here,” Valdes said. “It’s really nice and peaceful. There’s a lot more to do here than where I was before in Whittier (Calif.). I want to stay here all four years and go to school and get a degree.”

Valdes said Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and Saint Mary’s were also recruiting him. However, he said he was “really interested” in Hawai’i for nearly two years, and thus was willing to wait until the last minute to see if he could become eligible for this season. “I just felt like it was the right fit, so I decided to choose Hawai’i,” he said.

Due to a delay in his paperwork, Valdes had to wait until last Friday – four days after the semester started – to enroll in his classes at UH. It was a scramble, but he is now settled in and participating in open gym sessions with the other Warriors.

“I think we’re going to do a lot of damage in the new (Big West) conference that we’re in,” he said.

Although he was the last addition to the roster, Valdes said he was already familiar with some of the other Warriors. He played against Brandon Jawato on the AAU circuit in Southern California, and briefly attended the same prep school as Manroop Clair (just for two weeks, as Clair eventually transferred).

Valdes is expected to add an athletic presence, and battle for playing time at the wing positions. He said his running vertical jump was measured at 38 inches a few weeks ago.

“I like to drive and dunk, get open, get my teammates open and facilitate a lot,” he said. “I just like the team concept.”


  1. Aloha and welcome aboard Aaron!! You will be a great addition to UH MBB team for years to come! Being a water polo athlete, and a All American at that. Water polo is one of the most demanding physical sports there is!! You will do well, and enjoy great success with the team. Thanks to you and your family for choosing to be a warrior!!

  2. Hey fellow UH MBB, here is another under the radar late and potentially great get for Gib and UH team. Thank you for video Dayton. Spot On. Aaron is an Athletic, D oriented, team player, facilitator, 38 inch vertical flyer, shot blocking , flush jamming, Player…Wow is all I can say..and he just got eligible a day or so ago! Man, all though half the team is young, the Potential, and Gib getting the pieces to fit this years and years to come team, man, hats off to Gib..great job Mr Arnold!

    Fellow MBB fans, Aaron Valdes , perfect cap to good recruiting season for 2012-13, awesome. And all the young guys and returnees, High Character, good families, good students and athletes. ..I think with the combination of 7 upper classmen and 7 frosh, competing in practice and preseason, wow!! Potential is great, great, great upside..is Oct here yet? very soon. and could Nov 9 2012 first game against Maryland Eastern Shore be here soon, very soon..Wow!! looking forward to it!!

    Aaron, tell your folks and friends to log on to Warriorinsider to keep track of your career as a Warrior MBB player!!

    Mahalo to the Valdes family for sharing Aaron with UH MBB team!! Aloha!!

  3. Kid can sky, he would have made an amazing volleyball player.

  4. This recruiting class is rockin’ with talent! I’m so looking forward to see them play.

  5. How in the world did Gib and staff get these great young players? Great vision and knew what they wanted: High Character, student athletes..good young men…and a plus they have offensive skills, now Aaron, maybe can attribute hjis HS All American ability as very, very good water polo player to his Defensive game, I tell you, JMO, Aaron keeps on working hard, and he seems in open gym with that ONE video, to be a major, major factor on D, a great contributor to MBB season THIS year! Wow!! Now , all the new and returnees, keep on getting bigger, stronger, and faster, ..be D minded and Team minded, you guys will be Good, as Aaron says, you can do major damage(win championships) in BWC!!

  6. BY the way he looks like a pretty good basketball player, will be hard to redshirt him because I can see him helping the team,

  7. hey, Aaron:

    you made history by signed with the Warrior as the 8th Freshman in 2012; Coach said, “possibly a NCAA national record!”.
    you just formed another elite group called “the Octet Stars of MBB Warriors Renaissance”.

    listing by order of date-signed_
    ~ 1 Caleb Dressler,
    ~ 2 Isaac Fotu,
    ~ 3 Brandon Spearman,
    ~ 4 Manroop Clair,
    ~ 5 Dyrbe Enos,
    ~ 6 Michael Harper,
    ~ 7 Ozren Pavlovic,
    ~ 8 Aaron Valdes.

    Hawaii delighted & proud of you!

  8. Welcome to paradise Aaron! Great that you already have some of your goals set out. Looking forward to watch you and the team this year.

  9. haven’t see AV’s name on the Roster as yet.
    he must having a hard-time picking his ‘#”!

    #8 is appropriate, reminding fans the record setting “8th Freshman” but then,
    #38 is triple as attractive to indicate his multiple talents_
    ~ he could play 2,*3*,5 as well as any other TEAMmate.
    ~ he’s the *8*th Freshman signed.
    ~ he has a “great leap upward” of *38*in. !!!

    does that help young man ?

  10. Uhfanzonly1…..u said it all!..

  11. Great late get, and great reporting as always. Love the slo-mo dunk at the end!

  12. …Prep Schools seem to be one of the best transition innovations:
    1) For ‘Late-Starts’ in HS to D-1 Academics…
    2) Late-Starts/Transition to Second Sport…
    …with JCs providing the two-year plan…

    Josh – Too bad men’s VB overlap January to March (only November-December for Na Wahine);
    VB has been good BB complementary sport

    n2 – Good to Great (Time & Wins Will Tell) for GREAT 8 Recruiting Class…
    Would Count Brandon Jawato among The FROSH 8…

    Uhfanz, Kda…seconded …

    Also, Ditto on Support of “ALL-IN DAYTON” !

  13. Jawato is a redshirt freshman
    but Spearman is a Jr.
    still 8 Freshmen
    0 Sophmores
    4 Jr. Spearman, Rozitis, Garrett Jefferson, and Stanhardinger
    3 Sr. Vander, Hauns, Jace

  14. My aplogies, just caught up in excitement of open gym video with Aaron! You are all correct. Keith Shamburger Jr. RS(practice with team, sit out transfer year).

    8 Freshman: Manroop, Isaac, Caleb, Aaron, Ozren, Dyrbe, Michael and RS Fr. Brandon J.
    4 Juniors: Brandon S., Davis, Christian S.,Garrett J.
    3 Seniors: Jace, Hauns, Vander

    Total of 15 eligible to play this year. To be determined what role/roles team members will play this year. Now , important time of year, preseason workouts, before official first day or practice in October. Get bigger, stronger , faster. ..compete at high level.

    1 RS Keith Shamburger will help in practices this year. Great addition, a player with D1 experience and maturity.He will use this year to get bigger, stronger , faster and improve overall game.

    Still , quite impressed with every new player brought in for this year! Great upside, and Aaron’s athleticism and energy, will probably be great for whole team. Very competitive group of guys , so should bring out the best in team from freshman to seniors, and the Cali players get to play in front of their families about 9 times a year, which is great…their ohana(family) can also follow their career here, at Warriorinsider!

    Thank you again Dayton! Awesome site!

  15. yes, i goofed again; i stand corrected.

    my apology to the ‘other’ Brandon.

    hey, Jaw: you guys got competition on dunking now. learn his defense too ??

  16. sounds like he said “i wanna stay here all 3 years”?…can’t wait to see more footage…didn’t want to go JC so i doubt he wants to redshirt…he liked the roster so does that mean he knows he’s gonna get a lot of minutes?

  17. With defensive skills like that don’t think Gib will redshirt him. He seems to have a pretty good offensive game too along with good attitude. Don’t know if he plays like that in every practice or because it was the first and have the high energy. If you want it gotta bring the discipline every day. That means go to bed early, up early, eat right, think positive, listen, work hard—all those little things add up to success. MJ was not that great in college but it was his complete dedication to the sport that made him the greatest player to ever play the game.

  18. n2 — That was a Good Summary
    wouldn’t worry about or even count as a goof…
    we’re just revising to update data…
    typical for first drafts…
    – EVEN the Team Roster is Not Up to Date, yet…
    ( i LIKE That OZ TOOK #23 — Kinda Like Setting a Goal…
    MAYBE AARON should take #5 or #6,
    like that guy that can guard/play all 5 positions)
    – the co-called first-second strings will be revised almost every game with this much depth and talent …

    Davis has been here so long (third year) it’s hard to believe he’s only starting his junior year, when most JC transfers would only be getting introduced to the players and systems …

    nowadays we “only” have Two New (of Five) Transfers in but they are such good ones and Both Newbies with Proven D-1 experience:
    – Spearman via ‘the other’ Dayton; and
    – Two year WAC Starter Shamburger

    – Transfers with > 1 Year Practice Time:
    – Stanhardinger has Big XX Nebraska Experience
    – Tavita has WAC/MW Starting Experience
    – Davis has PAC-XX/WAC/UH Experience

    our other upperclassmen have UH Experience:
    – Hauns
    – G. Jefferson
    – Vander

    SO WHILE I AGREE THE Freshmen are Really Impressive…
    Even More so, the Upperclassmen…
    BEST — We Have BOTH…

    O.K. maybe We Win….
    Ope … there goes the optimism again…

  19. Do we call the freshmen, the Elite Eight??? Maybe 2 early, but you can probably have a good idea after a few intra-squad scrimmages.

  20. After a few years we can hope for the second coming of the Fab Five. Here’s one projected starting lineup.
    PG – Manroop Clair, 6’2″
    SG – Aaron Valdes, 6’5″
    SF – Ozren Pavlovic, 6’8″
    PF – Issac Fotu, 6’8″
    C – Calef Dressley, 6’10”

    The skinny:
    Clair – scored 27 points in an AAU game going against 5-star recruit Rasheed Sulaimon who signed with Duke. Has unlimited shooting range. Said to Sulaimon in the game “you can’t guard me, maybe you should go to community college.” If Manroop has some game, he can trash talk.

    Valdes – if in fact he has a 38 in vertical jump we’ve got to take notice. I remember Erin Galloway was a leaper too, but his overall game was somewhat limited. Valdes seems to be very athletic and he can shoot from everywhere on the floor. The potential is there.

    Pavlovic – he is impressive on film, but he’s still an unknown. But, like the other 2 guys before, he has the potential to get better. You know he can shoot. Can he play defense? Hopefully, he doesn’t have to service in the military like Lev. You never know if he’s going to grow to 6’9 or 6’10.

    Fotu – I like his fluidity in traffic and his touch around the basket. Seems to be a quick jumper. A little raw, but he will improve with practice, repetition, and coaching, and experience. Good size and bulk. Lots of upside.

    Dressler – Looks like he runs the floor very well for his size. Would like to see him be nasty and be a ferocious rebounder and shot-blocker. Because he’s very young, he might grow some more too. If he can be a double-double player (10 points, 10 rebounds per game average), that’s excellent.

    The big question is how they play together and do they compliment each others game in a cohesive manner. But, I am looking forward to seeing what hapens.

  21. Welcome to Warrior Basketball Aaron!! Derek, that is an awesome side note on Clair: I love that quote “you can’t guard me..maybe you should go to community college.” Maybe Dayton can get confirmation from Roop on that. It would make for some great press and on youtube. Maybe Duke will sign up for a game vs UH in a few years so they can have another showdown! This team is looking better and better with each video. We still gotta prove it during the season, but I really like what I see. Great work Gib, and Staff. The coaches spent a lot of time on the road this summer. I was on a flight to LA in July and Coach Akana was on his way to spending a month on the mainland recruiting and Gib was on his way to one of his multi-city 4-day recruiting trips. I think we have one of the hardest working coaching staffs in college basketball.

  22. Per Wikipedia

    1) Countries WITHOUT Mandatory Military Service Include:
    a. Australia
    b. Canada
    c. Croatia
    d. India
    e. Latvia
    f. New Zealand
    g. United States
    (Total 47 Listed)

    2) Countries WITH Mandatory Military Service:
    a. Brazil (Recent 7-0 Grad Doug Kurtz)
    b. Israel
    (Total 24 Listed)

    I (JMO) would elevate OZ one or two notches for defense and physical maturity (as some others have pointed out, HOW OLD is he? almost a man among boys…) — in his early open gym video he was harassing CStan as hard and effectively as anyone, fighting for rebounds, in-key positioning,, 50-50 balls; Not Yet Dispayed–For His Size, Does he have the Quickness to Guard @2 or even @1?

    MB – Agree… We shall know them by their fruit…

    NOTHING Speaks Like R-E-S-U-L-T-S

    GOT my R-E-S-P-E-C-T…

  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y__L-xK5CTc

    is that manroop number 11 at the 3:00 minute mark getting a pass from aaron and shooting a 3?

  24. Hey all MBB fans and Dayton Warriorinsider: Thank you for keeping the interest alive in the Basketball program after the exodus in March of 4 players. From a few faithful hard core believers in Gib and returnees, to a growing wave of new, and older fans. Great potential. We will be objective, and have opinions, and critiques as season goes along. However, much thanks, and great ,great work by Gib and coaches for assembling a good class of young and older players with great attitude! The MBB ship is stabilizing and headed on course for better shores in the NCAA D1 landscape.

    Thank you Gib , and your very loving family, for letting you go out on the road Globally and finding the right fit of HIGH CHARACTER athletes. Ones who bond, love Hawaii, the University, get along with each other and coaches.Now Gib, you have a live stable of 15 athletes, any bumps along the way, more talent to access along the way to BWC season and possible BWC tourney title!

    MBB fans, and families and friends following your sons, grandsons, nephews , neighbors, on Warriorinsider. ..not enough could be said about your sharing your son’s talents with UH and the State of Hawaii!! Much Mahalo!!

    Thank you too, to the families of coach Benjy, Coach Fish, Brandyn for sharing your husband and fathers with our UH MBB team, and allowing them to go on recruiting trail too!! And thank you to whomever appropriated extra monies for recruiting budget..

    Agree, very good mix, of solid, mature(older) seniors and juniors and incoming freshman.! Haven’t felt this way about men’s Basketball, since Hawaii won the first round game of the 1971 NIT, with Tom Newell, Jerome Freeman, Al Davis, Bob Nash, and Dwight Holiday.!! A great resurgence in fan based UH BB fever!!

  25. 1971 NIT UH team, apologies to John Pennebacker(sorry for spelling!?) Jumping John, who would jump ball at start of games and(remember really old timers)jump ball to start second half! Routinely out jumped 6’9″ to 7’0″ centers. John I believe had at least a 40 inch standing jump vertical for a front court player standing 6’2″ to 6’3″ tall!!

    UH MBB is in the air, ..you can just feel it..!! Yesiree!! Go Warriors! Rock that SSC once again!!

    Norm and company, compete and get better quarter by quarter against USC, believe, believe, your team has plan to compete and win..whatever happens, just be better than when the game started win or lose..already Norm you have instilled like Gib and Coach Laura, and incredible feeling of anticipation and excitement!!

    Go Warriors and Wahine!!

  26. Sorry getting to Programs mixed as one, that is okay we want ALL the UH teams to do well this year..hope they all have great seasons!!

  27. @Eagle and @n2o4joy,

    In the NCAA, you can’t have any numbers that are 6,7,8,9. Only single or combinations of 0,1,2,3,4,5.

  28. hi, that’s interesting S23A:

    i’m completely ignorant of that.

    how about a detailed clue-me-in, please ?

    Mahalo !

  29. i thought it had changed … like international? NBA, etc…

    the origin is that two digits 0 to 5 allows the Referee to signal fouls/violations to the official statistician with his hands and fingers …(closed fist = 0)

  30. Nice get. Deceptively explosive. His wingspan definitely helps him with rebounds, blocked shots, and on-ball defense.

    Interesting that Valdes prefers to play the 3 and Pavlovic prefers the 2.

  31. Yeah, thought that was interesting, too

    for them, doesn’t seem to be about height…
    For Gib, one factor is guarding opposing 2/3, which both should handle in BWC o.k.;
    Except MAYBE Oz defending quickness to the basket

    Under some coaches, 2/3 are almost interchangeable;

    Pretty sure 3’s here have more rebounding expectations,
    And 2’s more run-the-offense responsibilities to share with point

    Coach Gib not labeling or locking anyone into titles or positions …

    More options available than ever…

  32. after digging

    Pavlovic was born in 1994.

    Source : Croatian Basketball Federation

  33. Aaron Valdes, Awesome Baby ,Dipsy Doo Dunkaroo!


    Much Mahalo Crocodile! I was the one who posted the question to Dayton. . So our Ozi, born 1994, would make him…yesss 18 years of age! He sure conducts himself as one that is several years older! And reports indicate that coaches appreciate his maturity on court and off…great young man..it doesn’t matter if he was 18 or 24 , we welcom Ozi to the UH MBB ohana!! He wil be a good one , a 6’8″ guard/forward, handles , shooter, and BB smarts , great late get along with super D- man and Team Man…Aaron V. !!!

  35. This guy looks pretty good. He should be a good addition to the team.

  36. Very nice athlete. UH will be incredibly versatile this year. They can go big & tall or small & athletic, or they can put up an offensive lineup or a defensive lineup.

    Either way, UH has great depth and can afford to play very aggressively.

    With Valdes and Jefferson, Gib has two shut down defenders to match up against quality scorers. Or Gib can use Vander and Rozitis/Dressler combo to complete clog the paint vs good post players are teams that like to penetrate.

    I hope Vander’s aggressiveness will rub off on Fotu and Dressler. If the two freshmen big men can develop a nasty streak in them, they have the potential to dominate the Big West for years to come. Both Dressler and Fotu show nice offensive games, but I often see them avoiding contact when trying to score. I would rather them draw contact and fight through (drawing fouls and free throws).

  37. Good Analysis, Matt,

    Just Saying…
    HOW Exciting Was This Recruiting Season?
    Fotu, Dressler Up Front…
    then Guards Up with Spearman, Shamburger, Clair, Dyrbe & Harper
    Finally, In recruiting terms, winging in with
    OZ like a last-second game-tying shot; and
    AV for the blow-out Double-Overtime W…

    i think all the signees look good, almost as quick as walking into the gym,
    (even the walk-on(s)), and
    the returnees already look better (than last year)

    and Against Each Other, Continue to Improve…

    Other than the Top 100 teams that some of the juniors/seniors have faced, but only for 10-35 minutes each; their own teammates ARE the most consistently good group they’ve gone up against… and now it’s every day:
    Against And Together

    … A Great Starting Place…

    SO NOW that you HAVE Aaron Valdes from La Jolla Prep,
    Would You STILL OFFER La Jolla Prep’s Aaric Armstead ?
    (and maybe a brother or two)?
    [Running Out Of Space…But, yes,
    probably a good backfill for Hauns with potential for improved defense]

    Is this coming (recruiting) season money for Biggs, Blakes &/or Stevenson ?


    Croc! The Minister of Basketball for Croatia and
    “Curator, Records Of Croatia”, esp. the Basketball Hall of Records
    The Man!
    BTW, FTR, Wife & her sister & kids Love to Wear Crocs

    Amazing How Much is available on-line, even in Croatia
    And GOOD, No Mandatory Military Service

  38. NO POSTS? Here Goes…

    Just Random Ideas…

    1) Post a “Blank” Two-Deep / Three-Deep Chart – Contestants Fill-in for First Game… Winner Gets?
    Multiple Entries? 1st Entry $2; 2nd $4; 3rd; $6 (Adjust to make worthwhile)
    Split Or Multiple Prizes First Two Winners
    (simpler than NCAA Bracket)
    2) Variant Option – Do Similar Thing for the Season Schedule – Pick Winners / (Margin, Total Points?)

    As key people already over-worked, better IF Volunteer(s) to NOT Detract from the Key Product we want –info & insight on UHMBB Team…


    IN Somebody’s “Spare Time” is it time to post 2012 – 2013:
    1) Roster (after Aaron chooses his number); and
    2) Schedule
    Thanks! (whenever can, it’s already available @ UH Athletics Site)…

    I guess even IF Dayton & Co. Puts up one or two postings per week, there will still be slow nights…

  39. Eagle: Dayton burning the midnight oil. He will pretty soon have more video updates, interviews, insight into new and returning players.

    You are right, UH Athlectics site, not on Real Time, I think they wait until official Scholarship agreement signed sealed and delivered before, assigning number and posting Aaron’s name on roster. When we see AV’s name on the 2012-13 MBB roster, gets you ready for MBB practices right around the corner..Might be slow right now, MBB fans might be anticipating USC/UH game, WVB tourney starting this Friday night. Just hang in there, when next video and interview come out, the posters will return, I can assure you.

    P.S. one thing we don’t want to hear: NO INJURIES. Hope the guys are stretching, rehabbing, strengthening, and trainers are taping them up well..The advantage in my eyes, FWIW and JMO, Gib has 15 athletes to work with, that is a real luxury, usually the North Carolinas , UCLA’s or Kentucky’s of the world have that advantage. even Duke has walkons who are all state players. Our MBB team Global mix, great POTENTIAL ,…it will be exciting, hand in there this Saturday is Sept 2012 already with first practice of season in mid October, so very,very soon!!


    WVB – Real 90%+ Reliable PLUS!
    Wahine Soccer May be Back with Michelle !
    Chow’s Gentlemen — May Yet Surprise…

  41. USC 42 pt. favorite? I don’t think so! Maybe UH is the TRAP game for the Trojans! Never know. Norm’s guys, are going up there to try to win. Compete and get better, quarter by quarter, UH within reach 10 pts or less starting that final period…who knows, probably THE NCAA D1 upset of this millenium, so far! Hey, have to keep the faith, right!! Baaack in the Day, UH upset of Nebraska in Lincoln, UH(small college division at that time)upsets UW Huskies in Seattle in 1973, ..so possible…WHY NOT…just go for it!!

    WVB, could have the makings of a final four, and finals finish, maybe one more banner for coach Dave Shoji!

    W Soccer, 3 and 1 to start season!, Great job Michelle, team is believing! On to better and greater things!

    W Softball, Coolen, go small and smart ball, power when can, HRs, bunt and singles to move runners, have Ace Parnaby, in a AA groove..team can make it back to the Big Stage! BW great softball conference too!!

    M Baseball, Trap has a very Tall team, like VB team, live arms, love young guns on team. BW , great Baseball conference. Long run in NCAA playoffs…possible!

    MVB: If they have another Yuval, Costas, Allen Allen, or Jonas..MVB, have big time impact player, terminator, as we all know, can lead team to Final Four. Coach Wade go for it!!

    MBB: POTENTIAL, they can go as far as their personal dedication, work, and team unity , smarts and athleticism will take them. BWC finals, why not! NCAA invite, if they win tourney final, or 20 win season with post season play…wherever..!what a way to cap spring sports for 2013!!

    Also, excellent, sailing, Tennis, Water Polo, swimming and diiving, women’s(wish they had a men’s team!)track and field ,..good coaches, great student athletes..UH sports, hoping for a great Athletics and Academic Year!!

  42. Tennis
    Swimming & Diving
    Water Polo
    Track & Field
    ALL Sent Reps to NCAAs this year or recently

    WOULD BE GOOD IF TITLE IX Could AFFORD (One More Wahine for Each Men’s Scholarship):
    Men’s Soccer (‘cos Hawai’i has many good shorter athletes, like baseball)
    Men’s Water Polo (Water Sports and Hawai’i?)


  1. “Water polo All-American” joins Hawaii hoops team | CollegeBasketballTalk

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