Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Two more for the ‘Ohana in 2013

The current Hawai’i basketball team will be introduced at tonight’s ‘Ohana Hoopfest, but the Warriors can also welcome two additions for next season.

Stefan Jovanovic and Niko Filipovich – teammates at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif. – have already made verbal commitments to join the Warriors for the 2013-14 season. They are both expected to be in attendance at the ‘Ohana Hoopfest.

Jovanovic is a 6-foot-10, 235-pound post player originally from Serbia; Filipovich is a 6-foot point guard who also has Serbian roots, but was raised in California.

“The main reason I picked Hawai’i is because it has a really good business (program) and because they have a really good basketball program and I saw so many international players over there already,” Jovanovic said. “I think we can do something really big.”

Both players are currently seniors at Bishop Montgomery. They were both starters on a team that went 25-4 last season.

Bishop Montgomery coach Doug Mitchell said both players have displayed significant improvement since the start of last season.

“Stefan is a legit 6-10 with a big frame,” Mitchell said. “He has a very high skill level offensively. He catches it well and shoots with a soft touch. He can actually step out to the 3-point line and knock it down.”

Mitchell said of Filipovich: “This is my 25th year of coaching and he’s one of the best defensive players I’ve ever coached. He just turned 17 years old, so you’re still seeing his body change and mature. If he were a junior, he’d be a big-time prospect.”

Jovanovic averaged around 10 points and eight rebounds per game last season, and was a second-team all-league selection. Filipovich averaged around seven points and five assists per game, although Mitchell said the statistics are deceiving for his program.

“We have seven guys who are probably going to play (NCAA) Division I, so I don’t care about stats,” Mitchell said. “The numbers might not be overwhelming, but trust me, both of these kids can play.”

Both players also played for the Pump-n-Run Elite team during the summer AAU circuit. Jovanovic was a standout this past summer, averaging close to a double-double at the Fab 48 Tournament in Las Vegas.

The early signing period for basketball recruits starts on November 14. Per NCAA rules, the Hawai’i coaches cannot comment on recruits until a National Letter of Intent is signed.


  1. Wow! Fast Start!
    Maybe NO Shortage of Point Guard numbers for Next Year…

    Thanks, Dayton!, Coaches

  2. What a surprise coming out of no where. Intern’l players galore.The Gibper has 2 scholarships to hand out next season in place of Vander/Hauns. Thomas verbally committed recently and now Javanovic/Filipovich. That’s 3 recruits

  3. Very surprising indeed.

    Brandon Jawato also played on Pump-n-Run a couple years ago.

  4. pleasant surprise, Mahalo! Dayton. your robust video output seemed like you are in a contest with Eagle & Uhfanzonly1 in postings to see who can out done the others! (you guys kept me busy just by enjoying it.. well, thanks for everything!).

    the big guy Stefan #31 sure has quickness. spin to the left, shoot with his right & vice versa, kick it out to #12 for 3’s like a taller Tonganator Jr!? (wow, next yr..).
    and both of them still growing, plenty of upside.. if these are not exciting to some.. oops, i got lost again!

    bonus: #12 returns the favor to #31. #12 3’s from the right-corner or left-corner, slashes-in, 2 consecutive offensive rebounds & scored.. what, 2-men show? (ideas already.. ironically AV will wears #31 as a Warriors).

    i’m curious about how Dayton is going to keep his eyes open tonight?

  5. ASWEALLKNOW, when it comes to UHMBB Coverage:


    GIB (& Coaches & Team) IS The RECRUITER!

    IF JOVANOVIC & FILIPOVICH turn out as good as (or better than) other recent recruits, and they certainly play in the same leagues/teams, …it’s nott as if the team “needs” the numbers, so they ought to be good…most likely Hard Working, High Character Student-Athletes, already with Good Shooting Skills and Two-Player Game as demonstrated with Aaron Valdes…

    We got 60% of Pump-n-Run Starters, we ought to take Two-Thirds of the NZ Championship Team as well…

  6. Yes! Gib said he and staff relentless recruiter of talent , and HIGH CHARACTER fit, he is doing it! Hope more come to Hawaii. Good job Gib and assistants!

  7. Have to get Aaron Valdes cleared! That would be icing on cake!

  8. Happy Birthday Dayton!

  9. Nice job Gib!!!

    He’s getting an early start to next year’s class, which is what great coaches do. Gib’s not great yet, but he’s taking the steps in the right direction.

    Jovanovic looks like he’ll need a year or two before he’s ready. Which is fine because UH is very deep at F/C the next few years. There wasn’t much footage, but he’s not very explosive. What I do like about Jovanovic is that he has a nice scoring touch. He will need to get stronger and Gib’s staff will need to teach him to use his frame to compete at the D1 level. Jovanovic reminds me of a bigger Petras Balocka but with more upside.

    I couldn’t find any footage of Filipovich, so hopefully he’s close to what his coach is advertising.

    UHBOR and athletic department better start thinking of a contract extension or reworking the contract to make it harder for other schools to take him. I’m sure some Pac 12 schools are taking notice of what Gib is doing with UH’s BB program and if UH has a breakout year, which I think could happen, the big schools may come knocking for his services.

  10. Former UH athlete,

    I enjoy your observations and personal insight! It is commendable how Gib, structured recruiting now: High Character, good students, good athletes. I appreciate how they inform athletes, or athletes research themselves, on the academic programs that UH offers. i.e. Business, etc. , key in some of them choosing UH, plus the Global makeup of team…

    Might be, Gib will still keep eye out for those elite athletes, however, the Good Fit,,to win at UH and in BW, Gib is doing that,targeting those type of players/students/people.. and you are correct, if coach gets it going this year and next, who knows what offers he might have. Actuallly if team has breakout season this year, and monster year next, would be a win, win situation for Gib, Hawaii, athletes, their families and fans.

    What makes this global and US continental recruiting work…JMO…, Coach saw what needed to be done, Stabilize program and team, now work as an X and O coach, and HE ADJUSTED..kudos to Gib AND his entire staff. ..creates excitement, without the drama! Now we see how this season plays out…I think if the the entire team buys into TEAM, they potentially can have very good season!!

    Go Warriors!

  11. Thanks, AL K,
    Taking his Lead,

    Other than Big West & DHC Championships,NCAA Tourney Wins, etc. (All Scheduled Later)
    TWO ‘Signees’ Commitments, Ohana Fest, Good-to- Great Team Starting Up….
    How Many More Things can make for a….

    THIS SITE, Its Consistency, Its Constancy, Its Depth and World-Wide Breadth and Reach….
    YOU’VE Given US!

    Carried Us Through The Past-Historically Too-Slow Times right into THE Season….
    NOW UHMBB is an almost every day All-Year Fasci-“NATION”….

    THANKS Again, Dayton, Staff, Sponsors, Coaches, Players & Contributors


    UHA – Agree Good to See Gib’s Growth and Learning as a D-1 Head Coach
    Expect to see Faster “Head” Coach adjustment for Laura; Tough for Now with Norm…

    UHBOR Needs to Also Clean Up its Own Act and Clean House
    Then Ramp Up their UHAD Support along with the Governator and Legislature…

  12. Thanks for the update Dayton! It will be interesting to see how the scholarships get distributed for next year.

    I couldn’t find much on either player. Jovanovic has more info of the two. From the video he looks to have some offensive skills but will need to improve himself physically. His coach says he’s a good defensive player so that’s encouraging. I would project him to be a 1-2 year developmental player unless he improves a ton before he arrives. Nothing much on Filipovich… I did see a scouting report that listed him as a 6’2″ shooting guard who does just that… shoot. We should be solid at point guard next year with Shamburger and Clair (assuming he shows promise this year).

  13. i hope this is not a package deal of pargahlava and balocka…to get as early commits as we got, guess gib wants to lock them up or he doesn’t have anyone else on the list…i just hope there is no late transfer or 4* player that wants to come here and no scholarship

  14. Coaching staff well aware of scholarship limits Gib covering bases with earlier commit that can play the three now a point and a big man

  15. I think the one advantage that a mid-major has over top schools is that they are not afraid to go after players in the early signing period. Unless a guy is rated 4 or 5, major schools will hold off cause they think they can sign the big boy. So if Gib did his homework and really scouted these unknown players well, the window of opportunity is in the early signing period and he should grab them while no one is looking. Then when the majors can’t find the big boys they wanted to sign they will be scrambling to fill out their rosters. In the meantime we will be eating lamb chops as we stole them right under their noses. That’s how mid-majors need to play their cards and I think Gib is aware of it—do your homework, find those diamonds in the rough, roll the dice, and one day it could pay off to where UH MBB will be called a major basketball team.

  16. Servante, good comments! I think you are correct. That is the nature of recruiting for mid majors, the early signings, and Gib, might still have others in mind. These under the radar , and High Character young athletes, wherever around the globe and USA, can be the nucleus of a very good UH MBB program for years to come. Gib and staff did their homework…knew what type of athlete and young men they were after..THE FIT..

    Go Warriors!!

  17. like it or not >> players’ rush for scholarship is already on.
    pre-maturely arrived 2 years ahead of time!

    are you willing to be a walk-on?

    taking the meaning of “all-in” to a different flavor (sweet, you creditable 16!).

  18. Hey fellow UH MBB hoops fans, core base and new ones in USA and globally! Remember back in March..quite somber, downer..then one by one recruit here, there, and soon everywhere..interest at high level!!

    Without doubt, no matter what the schedule and what caliber of teams or conference, if team starts winning a bunch and in good fashion, a core group, hopefully 6000 plus, will come out, especially have students, a couple of hundred every game, and the MBB team will play their hearts out..

    These are exciting times..however, hold on, catch your breaths, Gib and staff have to start practices first, see which players rise to the top, and it will be competitive, hope the guys don’t get hurt!

    Hopefully PG by committee!!

    Tonite, Ohana Hoopfest….from March 2012 downer times to Oct 2012 high expectations…we give the team and staff support, they will play hard and win a bunch..there is definite offensive talent no question…now Gib will see who steps up Defensively and who takes care of the ball, and shoots FT’s well!!

    Go Warriors!!

  19. Also, it’s extremely relieving to see UH go after international athletes again. Under coach Wallace, his best teams had a bunch of international talent…

    Pedrag Savovic, Haim Shimonovich, & Carl English starred when UH won back-to-back WAC tournaments in 2002&3.

    GIb has reopened the international pipeline again, which is great because basketball across the globe has gotten much better over the past 10 years.

  20. Thankyou PB!

    According to UH Athletics site MBB roster, Aaron Valdes listed with photo on official 2012-13 roster..must be cleared by NCAA!! Wowee!!

    Dayton: is that correct? Has to be yeah?

  21. UHFanzONLY!

    Today’s Gonna Be A Good, Good Day !

    Already Is!

  22. Dayton Mahalo, you are spot on! You just updated your 2012-13 MBB roster at top of this page to include Aaron Valdes as official roster member of Warrior Team!! Right On!

    Going be fun night , Ohana Hoopfest…!!

    Airon, sky , and with excitement of finally being part of team, soar another 3 or 4 inches to 42 inch vertical, and flush the rock!!

  23. Aaron Valdes … cleared for takeoff.

  24. Thanks for all the posts to everyone – keeps me up to date with all things UHMBB – history, present and future – I really enjoy trying to understand the landscape and I feel sooo included by what you all share – Thanks

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAYTON – hope you can get your hands on some TimTams to enjoy – put a candle on top of one and get your family to sing to you!!!!

  25. hey, Airon:

    CONGRATULATIONS, the official Roster #31, Aaron Valdes, complete with your picture, appearing as it should be since your arrival.
    printer a copy, even looks better; and the one on WI, that * attached to your name, which i could do without, BRAVO!

    in just a matter of hours, zoom up as high as you can, flush it down..

    let’s impress Airon for the 1st time, stand up, put your hands together, please!

  26. Hoping ocsports will show midnight ohana after the wahine game for those that cant be there!!! What do they got to lose??

  27. Awesome news for warriors. Valdes has cometh

  28. i bet he was cleared but they just waited til first practice to announce

  29. I think Jace Tavita is a senior this year so that’s 3 departures after this season, besides Hauns and Vander. I assume Tavita is on scholarship right now.

  30. Upper-Classmen “School” Frosh in TEAM Ball, Shot Selection, Spacing & Interior Passing…
    Finishing and Lay-ups, Lay-ups and More Lay-Ups…..

    More Details to follow….

    Betcha Sophomores Do Better Next Year….

  31. Eagle, can’t beat experience…older, mature guys who have D1 background as well, will look better, and play better..thankfully first regular season game is 4 weeks away. Gib can coach up the young guys, and steady the PG position, using what he has got. Still potential there. With Jace, Vander, Hauns, Davis, Spearman, Jefferson, and in some respects Jawato , a RS freshman, there are leaders there for the frosh!

    Now we can keep up with practice reports, and any scrimmage videos from Dayton if Gib allows access…should be fun season…can’t wait for Vander to get well…!

  32. OtherThoughts…..
    (Just Tossing some snippets ’til the Thorough Full-Blown (Dayton et al.) Reports get posted…)

    IT IS Impressive How High Airon (Aaron) Valdes gets….
    when he Slams IT LOOKS Like Flushing Straight Down a Pipe….

    BUT Junior Garrett Jefferson edged out AV for Pre-Season DUNK Champ….
    I’m guessing the Regular Season Crown and Highlights may be even more ‘Competitive’…

    Like UHF pointed out, Formal Practices have hardly begun…Coach Gib will provide multiple frameworks for every player to hang and weave their game around and mesh with teammates…

    To me, The Best News for this talented group of Freshmen (Better than Long Beach the Last 4 Years or Northridge Last Year) is that the team Does Not Need to Rely on The Freshmen to Make Game Winning Shots they’re Not Yet Ready to make at High Percentage or even get into position to Finish….This Stellar Freshman Class gets to Grow & Learn under the Tutelage Umbrella, Watchful Wings and Leadership Oversight of Equally Stellar Upperclassmen…

  33. so now we know why the gibber was in serbia two years ago.
    planting seeds.
    establishing a foot hold.

    will both be on scholie?

  34. sounds like thomas is a qualifier, too.

    so, i am curious about who’s scholie may be on the line next year?
    or will someone be graduating early and leaving the program sooner than later.
    there is one guy who will fall into that category.

  35. al,
    Good Point on Serbia
    He might’ve even helped/encouraged Jovanovic & Parents to get him to Cali & Adjust to West Coast/U.S. ball…

    ODDS Are at least one or more (like Shaq or Orel, What Reasons?) will open up
    Too Early ? to measure Not-Producing or Not Improving along a Good Enough Curve?
    Suspect In-Season Production/Improvement counts ‘double’
    i’m Not yet bought into One (or Two, Three) and Done…Graduates hard to Argue too much…

    EURO-Hawai’i Pipeline looking More Like a Euro-Hawai’i EXPRESS
    The Seeds and Footholds are Producing…Size, Talent And Numbers…
    and i’ve also been wondering how he approaches The Arithmetic…
    AAU, HS, JCs working as a Network of Farm Clubs?
    Support, Feed them in, Help Build their programs at the same time
    as Farming, Sowing and Reaping for ‘Our Own’

    Kinda Reminds me of Start-Ups in Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Aqua-Culture…
    Didn’t Look So Impressive at first, Then We Woke Up to “World-Class”

    Coaches have long talked about getting to talent ‘early enough’ to help them stay out of trouble and ensure they take & pass the right classes to Get Qualified…Thomas sounds more like a ‘Beat Stanford, Schidler Business College, PAC-12 to him…’

  36. No doubt Coach Gib can recruit …BUT… can he keep ’em here for 4 yrs ?????

  37. you should understand that in the last 25 years, in terms of freshman from the U.S. mainland coming here and staying for 4 years – like you say – there have been about 5 or 6 total. That’s 5 or 6 in the last 25 years.

    In that time-period, there have been a couple more foreign players who have stayed 4 years (Phil Martin, Haim Shimonovic) and a number of Hawaii kids who have stayed 4 years (Kalia McGee, Bobby Nash, Alika Smith), but that’s about it.

    You should also know that last year, there was something like 600 kids who transferred from D-1 basketball schools.

    Your comment and sentiment, should be considered in context of what has been the case here, and what is going on nation-wide.

  38. Does this mean no Ako Kaluna?

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)