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Rozitis returns; Valdes expected to join soon

Let the fun begin … Davis Rozitis is back with the Hawai’i basketball team.

Rozitis, a 7-foot junior forward, returned to Honolulu on Wednesday after spending the summer in his home country of Latvia. He is the last of the returnees from last season to make it back on the Manoa campus for this season.

“I spent my whole summer in Latvia, working out,” he said. “It was a pretty good summer.”

Rozitis spent several weeks training with Latvia’s national team before “a mutual cut.”

“I couldn’t stay for the whole time and it wasn’t good for them or me,” he said. “We just agreed with the coach that I was going to come (to Hawai’i).”

His return adds another piece to an impressive array of post players for the Warriors. Rozitis, returning all-conference center Vander Joaquim, junior Christian Standhardinger, and freshmen Caleb Dressler and Isaac Fotu will all be battling for playing time in the post.

“It’s great, it’s really competitive,” Rozitis said. “Guys are playing hard … I’m excited for the upcoming season.”

Rozitis played a key reserve role last season, and earned all-academic recognition. He said he will again have an interesting course load, including conflict resolution and mediation classes. He also plans to coach youth basketball players for a community service class.

And yes, he said he will again be providing behind-the-scenes video – also known as “DaBeast Films” – just like he did last season.

— — —

California prep recruit Aaron Valdes will be joining the Warriors for the 2012-13 season, although it is not quite official yet.

Valdes, an athletic 6-foot-5 guard/forward, arrived in Honolulu on Thursday night – assumingly so he can enroll in classes at UH and participate in pre-season workouts with the other Warriors. He did not arrive in time to participate in the open gym session on Thursday.

Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold declined to comment. Per NCAA rules, coaches cannot comment on a recruit until the player has signed a scholarship agreement or the player is enrolled in classes.

Valdes averaged around 19 points and 11 rebounds per game last season at La Jolla Prep School (San Diego, Calif.).

WarriorInsider.com will have more on Valdes when his roster spot with the Warriors becomes official. For now, here is a highlight video from last season:

30 Comments

  1. Welcome back Davis! Great student and athlete that you are! Look for good season from you!

    And to Aaron, very soon, welcome to UH MBB ohana, have your family and friends follow on warriorinsider the best site for all things UH MBB!

    Thanks Dayton and staff, and sponsors. You burn the midnight oil again! Wow, I should speak..thanks for your hard work and putting up video updates and interviews, in the midnight hour!

    Mahalo.!!!

  2. Ditto…
    Welcome Back, Davis
    Welcome, Aaron,
    FULL HOUSE…Scholarships, Walk-ons, Players, Families, Friends, Sponsors & Fans…

    No One Can Do All This by themselves…
    It takes a Village, A TEAM…
    Each CAN Make a Small or HUGE Difference
    FTR, Dayton & Gib, Huge…
    Other than ELITE College or Better Pro Teams, I find it unusual to see so many players who can make a difference; maybe this will just become an elite team…for balance, Oz saw “a couple” but I’ve already seen a few (more?) who step up when called upon, or when it matters…we’ll see…Thank You All for choosing to be.here, to be part of this…and even moreso if you had to fly thousands of miles, or half a world to get here…and we (all) get the benefit…

    It’s also great to see so many people working together and supporting these young men… Mahalo, All

    Thanks, again, Dayton!

  3. Echo your thoughts Eagle: This team is on a mission, make UH MBB the best it can be. I have been watching, open gym, summer league, unfortunately cannot go physically to games, so videos by Dayton greatly appreciated by myself and our international UH MBB ohana family!

    What stands out to me about the returnees and new guys so far? The willingness to share the ball, find the open man, and as time goes on, you notice the open gym games getting tougher and more competitive, these young men want to be a winning team. Gib has a great bunch of guys to work with. It will take a village, maybe a whole global community to get it done..HUGE upside for UH MBB. now we await report, video and interview with Aaron when he gets enrolled and signed, sealed and delivered, he’s ours..

    Mahalo Dayton for the greatest coverage of UH MBB !!
    Your global followers will attest, and this is becoming a huge recruiting tool for Gib and team for sure!!

  4. I’m really looking forward to seeing the “great eight” (our players born and/or raised abroad) and “state eight” (players born and raised in US states) all suit up and take the court together as Hawaii Warriors, representing “The 808”.

    The Great Eight – Joaquim, Rozitis, Standhardinger, Jawato, Fotu, Clair, Harper, Pavlovic

    The State Eight – Brereton, Tavita, Jefferson, Spearman, Shamburger, Dressler, Enos, Valdes

  5. Welcome back Davis! Keep working hard with the guys and things will fall into place. The team looks great. Looking forward to a good season.

  6. hey, Davis:

    you’re credited for remembered to “coming” to Hawaii once more,
    and reminded me that you’re a fellow-lefty.
    let me get it straiten-up by date-signed ~
    #1 Rozitis 7’0 jr C/F,
    #2 Caleb 6’10 fr C/F,
    #3 Mike 6’3 fr G/PG,
    #4 Ozren 6’8 PG/PtF/F.
    now, i’m serious about a “World Record” for any BB team men/women !?
    could we play “Four-lefty/Four-corner Offense” Coach (a 1st) ?

    i’ve goofed too, thought that ur in the same class as Vander;
    wow, we’ll see your DaBeast for another yr !!

    have all the hypes + fun, (enjoyment) folks !?

  7. Dayton,

    Mahalo for all the updates and especially for these videos! You’re keeping UH bb alive and well

  8. My wife’s friend who is 5’2″, walked up to Davis at a club after a game in which Davis missed two dunks and told him, “Hey, you need to learn how to dunk!”

    With that being said good to have Davis back and Valdes looks good. I wonder if he’s consistent shooting the rock? Maybe the new shooters at UH will mask this skill. Go UH BBall!

  9. Great recruiting class but still quite worried about the PG situation.. The greatest UH teams had good-to-great true PGs.. The Savo teams had Mark Campbell, Alika had AC, the Reggie Cross years had Troy Bowe.. Maybe the only good team that didn’t have that great of a PG was the Trevor Ruffin years, where Jarinn Akana and Kalia McGee shared duties.. But they were more true PG than anybody on this year’s team.. I’m definitely nit-picking but we’re going to struggle mightily against pressure D teams..

    The do-no-wrong folks are going to argue that we can do PG by committee, but that’ll only get us by lesser teams. If someone from this year’s team doesn’t take the PG position by the horns, I just don’t see us having that truly magical season that I know we’re all hoping for..

  10. lono,

    Agree with you , great point guards on any level really helps teams to handle pressure defense, run sets, spearhead offense and defense. If Gib’s priority was a true point, I would think one of those scholaships would have definitely gone to a pure point. Now, I believe, he wanted combo guards..think Miami heat, I don’t think their point guard was all world, or was it Dwayne Wade? Well if it was Dwayne, he more combo guard. So for this year, I think, Manroop, Jace, maybe Spearman(and Spearman , there is just something about the guy, the winning and turning it up intensity he brings to team..so he, I believe could be running sets..)Remember teams with Julian Sensley, he was not a point guard, yet at that time, he was probably the best on starting offense, pretty good ball handler for his size. So Point guard by committee, as long as they win a lot of games and go POST season, maybe, just maybe they get into NCAA’s, does it really matter if they didn’t recruit a pure point guard? I tell you Winning cures all perceived flaws or shortcomings…!!

  11. With the addition of Aaron Valdes we have a true platoon system in the making—the all freshman team.
    Veteran team:

    Joaquim/Rozitis
    Standhardinger
    Brereton
    Spearman/Jefferson
    Tavita

    Freshman team:

    Fotu/Dressler
    Pavlovic
    Valdes
    Jawato/Harper
    Clair/Enos

    lono is right, the only thing missing is a true point.
    Maybe next year.
    But hope the players we now have can compensate.
    Some teams do well like Uhfanzonly1 mentioned.
    We need a leader on the court.
    Barking out instructions during play.
    Does not matter what position.
    How Sensley/Low can direct/lead their team in Summer League.
    So important to have a closer like Spearman.
    We got more than enough to make a good run this year.

  12. I think Understand …agree…

    The Truly Great Year might have to be Next Year (WORST Case) without Vander, Hauns;
    Worst Case – One Season Problem (KS + Recruit)

    And Jace & ‘Roop and Co. Suffer + 2 to 5 turnovers per Game (like Shaq)
    And have ~ Five Fewer Assists (similar to Shamburger vs Miah)

    OR we also pressure, maybe double or trap…
    Win or Wash @ pg position 60-80% of games;

    When outplayed @ pg, for them:
    + 5 Assists; and/or
    + 3 – 5 Turnovers; and/or
    + 15 – 20 Points

    Then Need to Win Bigger @ other positions: points scoring, rebounding, turnovers, fouls, free throws;

    What were/are options?
    Best – Already got Good to Great pg in camp and able to play; (not happening or not yet)
    Sign Extra pgs like a few years ago (wasted Scholies unless they’re really good)
    IF somehow had retained Shaq would’ve likely only helped the points (scoring), not assists or turnovers;
    Sink or Swim Jace, Roop and Dyrbe with Wings Spearman/Oz/Valdes Help
    Just bring up the ball with two (dedicated) guards
    Let the Wings or Point Forward take Lead / even or mismatch unless trapped (nightmarish, can they trap Oz?)

    What Else?

  13. Uhfanzonly1, hadn’t thought of Miami Heat, so yes, teams can succeed without a true true PG as I’m not sure Chalmers is a true PG in the sense of the word. But you can get away with not having some pieces if you have a LeBron.. 🙂

    Even with Gib’s superb recruiting job, I just don’t think any of our guys is a LeBron this year, yet..

  14. wonder if tavita will be another mark campbell….roop looks to be to weak to be our point….miami doesn’t need a true point since they got one of the best combo guards in the world and the best all round player in the world

  15. Jace averaged 1.2 turnovers per game in 19 minutes/game as a sophomore at Utah. Not bad considering he often started. He also had a 1.8 assist turnover margin.

    Although he did look bad at times in the summer league with Brandon Spearman picking his pocket, my major concern is his productivity. But from these videos, he appears to be improving and finding his teammates under the basket quite frequently with sharp passes. If he can continue to take care of the ball, be a little more aggressive, and find his teammates he should suffice at the point. But we’ll see how well he does in a more structured setting, which I think will work to his advantage. Defensively, his height and strength should be a major positive.

  16. guess we can only wait till game time….isn’t it gonna be weird that our starting point guard isn’t on scholarship? good thing we don’t open in kentucky like the football team

  17. Clair will be the point guard and be damn good!

  18. how big is the sky ?

    ~ a well dwelling greenish fog took one quick look above, firmly says “only forty inches in diameter”.
    ~ the leader of a flock of the southward bound migrating birds yells “it is endless”.
    ~ a partially blind cat, its vision is limited to 180 degree x 8 feet radius insists “there is no sky”.

    an optimist’s & a pessimist’s conclusions are opposite.

    reality allows no option.

    open-mindedness opens many doors.

    TEAM, coaches:
    ..you are wonderful & on the right track, keep on going !

    TEAM are the chessmen; Coach is the chess-player.

    remember: the harder you work; the luckier you get !

  19. I Tend to believe Gib and Want to See that what UHFan says will be true …

    Just didn’t see Clair in Summer League;
    Looked fine so far versus Shamburger…
    SHOULD be o.k. (maybe not to highest levels as most agree)

    Hard to count on a True Freshman (in this case one that graduated as a junior 17 y.o.) similar to Troy Bowe or Shaq … Reggie Carter did o.k.

    Got Two Chances — Jace AND Roop; maybe three if you threw “little” Dyrbe to the wolves (ball-protection is one of the few areas where small-ness can be an advantage)… plus KSham to Work ‘Em in Practice which “could be more” or as important as coaches… i expect that MANY (All of Rest of Team) Can Pass…

    It is Still a Legit Concern ’til Proven O.K. OR ‘Victory is Declared’ (by Gib and/or Results…)

    …and Good Discussion Point…
    Otherwise we might ALL be “Too Rose-Colored”?
    And Ready for a Major Disappointment (but probably not with this schedule)

  20. Fotu is gonna be a beast. Especially if teams double Vander…look out Big West

  21. vander will actually have help in terms of help defense and now we got shooters…clair being the point, u sure about that? maybe down the line but not the starter

  22. all I can do is wish and it’ll never come true. If Shamburger was eligible to play this year. Man, … and he sure looks schweet out there running the point. The taller players collapse to defend the assist to a big man and Shammy pulls up for a Schweet jumper!

  23. JMO…Shamburger said he is going to work on strength, quickness, passing, ball handling, shooting. He is smart kid. Wants to use this year to get better. I think Keith, and he probably knows it, needs to add some good muscle weight to his frame. I don’t know if he is 5’11” maybe close, however he could fill out to about 175-180 of quick muscle would be great. On video, he looks thinner than Shaq. I think next year he will be great addition to team, with maturity and leadership.This year if Manroop, or Spearman, Harper, Enos steps up to run sets and be the point on defense and offense.., someone has a Miah like year, look out..they would be the PG of the future..

    Gib as was stated before, has a good dilemma working with 16 great young athletes!! Hey, if team by committee , with all the guards just being guards, like Artie Wilson alluded to with his radio interview with former backcourt mate Tom Henderson earlier this spring..Both Tom and Artie, said back in the day, when they were playing post Fabulous Five teams, there were just GUARDS, not PG, SG, etc..either Artie or Tom would bring up ball , call the plays, defend, shoot, drive to hoop, press, etc..Now it is really job specific..Whatever gets the job done, PG or Combo, if UH MBB team wins..great…Gib has a nice team!

  24. I’m super excited to see this team play. Gib has successfully recruited a bunch of talented players that I haven’t seen for a long time. We, as fans, will be treated to something special this year. Go Bows!

  25. ~ ’nuff of those 4 2 long.
    ~ wonderful to see the good overcome ..
    ~ let’em have their wrinkle & kept their taste !
    ~ enjoyable, good Warrior BB, Wahine BB are here.
    ~ higher they bounce the ‘Rock’ the better it will be !
    ~ we shall live happy & strong (go 4 that).

  26. n2o4joy and Eagle,

    I enjoy your posts! They are like a type of Hi Tech poetry(text or messaging via smart phone or tablet?) Me , I am real old school, have to type using almost an old fashioned Underwood typewriter technique!

    Both of you, great supporters of UH BB, and n2 , you have been very welcoming to Global Ohana, the families and friends of MBB players from NZ to Croatia to Australia and many more places! Good job! Your positive posts will , JMO, create a lot of interest in Gib’s MBB team, and….a GOOD RECRUITING tool.

    Thank n2 and Eagle and all the posters.!!
    You notice a mounting interest, like a Tsunami, in UH MBB? More posters and new ones too!

    Great job Gib and thank you Dayton, Schmidt Ohana sponsor, and the whole UH BB Ohana. From a few seeds to a fulling blossoming field of beauty, Go Warriors, Wahine and Bows!!

    And UH MBB players, thank you, Mahalo for joining a Potentially great UH BB experience for years to come..you are the future, and the bright present of UH BB athletics!!

  27. Ultimate challenge for coaching staff is how do you keep all these young men happy as only room for 5 on the floor . Hope they all believe in Team First, and give themselves time to get acclimated to D1 level of play. They need to buy in to Gib’s philosphy, best five will be on the floor.

  28. Uhfanzonly1:

    ur #1 guru, devoted guardian of WI, &
    much 2 kind 2 waste any time on personal attention for me which i don’t need.

    i’ve only try 2 keep posts short & simple, so that fans may squeezed out a little more time to promoting enjoyable good BB.
    just can’t do ’nuff 4 our TEAM in return 4 what they doing 4 HI.

    how elated, felt honored, would ub (watching) ?
    ~ Cheri Fitzner’s kids (Bryce, Evan, Emily),
    ~ Isaac Fotu’s sister (?),
    ~ Tony Webster’s son (Tai),
    ~ Peneau’s Son (?),
    all uniformly in uniforms @ embroidered with “HI” in the front; “Their bt4 Name” in the back to glorify @ athleticism.

    it’s not “Paradise”, if ur not in “HI” !

  29. JJ that’s part of why I think it’s important the team actually understands– as Gib points out that individual improvement is primarily in the off- season and Team Skills are during Practice… Although you can get tired of playing against the same guys every day, for likely Four out of Five Games their best Competition will be In Practice….

    To a smaller degree, a little like the Ten Straight Championship days of UCLA where many players faced their best opposition in Practice, rarely seriously challenged ino the second half, then the Pros. Although four or five teams might be “better” or as good as in Practice, you’ve seen the videos, you Know i ma be like the Wahine volleyballers who are fighting to maintain their focus and attention in most matches, that are easier than practice and scrimmages….

    SO THAT they understand that the three, five, 10 or 20 minutes they do get game time ‘should’ be validation of their readiness or superiority to the opposition…

    I think the concept is (like the video Dayton posted today) that the old ‘who starts or minutes played’ are NOT the Valid Metrics,,,Maybe their own improvement scores or Points Per 40 minutes or Plus/Minus game time Margin like the NBA…

    ———-
    ALL – Thanks for the Kind Comments AS WELL AS the dissenting or Critcal Comments that afford us the opportunity to clarify what we meant or were thinking, and help us work through some of the real or perceived issues ….

    CONCUR. — Really Great Fans, Friends & Families posting at this site — which ALSO covers ALL the relevant facts, news, issues and concerns and even clears up a few of the imaginary ones…As Well or Better than Any Where…

  30. The incoming players are looking good and maybe this year we’ll have the ball spread around a bit more. So far, it looks like this year’s players are better shooters but, we’ll see.

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