Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors entertain crowd at ‘Ohana Hoopfest

It was a late night of dancing, leaping and running-and-gunning for the Hawai’i basketball team on Friday. The Warriors are looking to carry that kind of fun into the 2012-13 season.

This season’s team was introduced to the public late Friday night during the annual ‘Ohana Hoopfest at the Stan Sheriff Center. The fans that stayed up past 11 p.m. for the event watched in delight as the Warriors entertained with a dance routine, a slam-dunk contest and an intrasquad scrimmage.

“It was a fun night overall, a real fun night,” said junior guard Garrett Jefferson, who won the slam-dunk contest.

It started with the team introductions (the UH women’s team was introduced first), and then junior forward Davis Rozitis – all 7 feet of him – led the team as they danced to the international smash hit “Gangnam Style.”

“That’s UH basketball style,” Rozitis said. “I looked up the video and when we were having a repetition, I had the best routine.”

Head coach Gib Arnold addressed the crowd immediately after that and said: “Give them an A for effort. I hope we can play a lot better than we can dance. But if Davis can move like that on the floor, he can be the defensive player of the year.”

Four of the Warriors – Jefferson, Ozren Pavlovic, Brandon Spearman and Aaron Valdes – then participated in the slam-dunk contest. Jefferson and Valdes advanced to the final, with the junior prevailing over the freshman. Jefferson’s final dunk came off a jump over associate coach Benjy Taylor’s son, Ostin.

“It feels good,” Jefferson said. “I haven’t won a slam-dunk contest in a long time … I wanna say in high school we had a pep rally and a dunk contest and that’s the last one.”

Valdes also impressed the crowd – and his teammates – with him jumping ability. He was cleared to participate in the ‘Ohana Hoopfest earlier in the day (he has been awaiting NCAA clearance ever since he enrolled at UH a week late back in August).

“Human beings should not be able to elevate as high as Garrett Jefferson and Aaron Valdes,” Rozitis said. “Those guys are video games.”

The finale of the event was an intrasquad scrimmage, also known as the “Freshmen Challenge” because it featured the eight freshmen against the seven upper classmen.

Due to time restraints the scrimmage was limited to eight minutes of running time, so it was mostly a run-n-gun exhibition. Junior forward Christian Standhardinger scored 10 points to lead the Upper Classmen to a 30-21 victory.

“We held our ground; they came close though,” said Jefferson, who scored six. “They almost tied it up … and then we blew it open a little bit.”

Friday was the first day that NCAA basketball teams could begin full practices. The Warriors will open their schedule on November 2 with an exhibition game against Hawai’i Pacific at the Sheriff Center. The first official home game is scheduled for November 9 against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

— — —

Prep recruits Niko Filipovich and Stefan Jovanovic were in attendance at the ‘Ohana Hoopfest, and they confirmed their commitment to join the Warriors for the 2013-14 season.

Filipovich, a 6-foot point guard, and Jovanovic, a 6-10 post player, are senior teammates at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif.

“Actually, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Jovanovic said. “It was really interesting to see the guys do all those crazy things. It was really funny.”

Of their commitment to play at Hawaii next season, Filipovich said “definitely,” while Jovanovic said “100 percent.”

Here is video of the intrasquad scrimmage in its entirety:

Photos courtesy Brandon Flores/www.brandonfloresphotography.com

To view more photos from the ‘Ohana Hoopfest, please visit our facebook page at www.facebook.com/warriorinsider.

— — —

Season ticket packages for the home basketball games at the Stan Sheriff Center will be available starting Monday, October 15.

Here is the link to the UH announcement:



  1. Let’s just start the season already! There wasn’t much defense happening, but I really love the uptempo style the guys were playing. Part of it was the time restraint and the entertainment value for the fans in attendance, but in the past with scrimmages like this, the offense was strained even with no defense being played. This team looks good. I wonder how gib is going to divide PT. Davis looks like he’s worked on some athleticism. My fellow Filipino, Christian hustling as usual. Athleticism on display with a lot of players, not just valdes and Jefferson. I think Manroop will be fine at point in the future. Mansu mansu UH bball! Looking forward to seeing coach Beaman and her girls as well.

  2. It looked like a night of alot of fun – thanks so much Dayton for letting all the fans far and wide view the night’s activities so quickly. We really appreciate your efforts.

    Thank goodness they are better basketball players than dancers!!!

  3. Great job, Dayton. Thanks for recording the entire scrimmage. I’m sure it was most appreciated by parents and friends world-wiide. Fans shouldn’t be concerned about a lack of defense in this kind of showcase. It’s about providing entertainment and coming away injury-free. Gotta love the “Gangnam” style intro; Davis got the moves down.

  4. Great coverage once again. As clyde said, the primary focus was to have fun out there and minimize any risk for injury. Especially after what had happened to Vander a couple weeks ago.

  5. Agreed with Clyde and DK and probably Gib, team and staff, Hoopfest for fans and students, an introduction for WBB and MBB teams. Both featured a little scrimmage.

    THE REAL PEDAL TO THE METAL practices, were started earlier on Friday, and now on , it will be intense..Gib and Benjy( I think he doing defensive schemes) want to get back to that Amis, Hiram year 1 of Gib 19 game winning team defense, that was out of sight..

    This year, the skill set of freshman to seniors, is denitely higher, that is how much MBB players improve, in a few years, the athletes at all level keep getting better and better..

    I would not panic in regards to PG play. Gib has Jace, Manroop, Spearman, Jefferson, Enos, Harper that can really play smart ball. take care of it, inbound it safely, make good decisions in passing ball, with Spearman and Jefferson at the point putting pressure on opposing point guards, it will give UH an advantage, ..if they lose their man, then the guys driving have Vander, Davis, Isaac, Christian and Caleb guarding the basket. An X factor on D, a real catylyst..IMO..? Aaron Valdes, his athleticisim, BBIQ and length, will help D greatly, look for him to get weak side blocks, even chasing down guys on the break at blocking shot at the rim..

    Yes, Gib has a luxury of 15 active on roster, he will give EVERYONE a chance to show what they can do..and may the best rise to the top, I hope it is the entire Team!!

    Go Warriors!!

    Thank you Dayton, you are light years ahead of any other media coverage of all things UH MBB..Mahalo from Hawaii to Angola, to New Zealand, Croatia and Australia and points west , midwest of USA..truly a global site for UH athletics…..Hope the team has a good year, can get 19 , 20 plus wins, and maybe win tha BWC tourney..you get that feeling that Hauns, Vander, Christain, Garrett , Davis, Jace, want nothing less…the fantastic freshman will contiribute right away..without question that was a major recruiting point, you come to Hawaii and work with coach and team, for TEAM, give it 100% all the time..you will play..look forward to several true freshman having impact this season.

    Go Warriors!! And thanks for support from Aussie Mum(loyal follower) and Tonganator, Zagreb Crew, and Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada, and point in between

    Go UH MBB, rock that Stan Sheriff Center…go get em guys!!

  6. for clair, ozren, jawato and harper to play they have to come into the game and hit shots no matter coming off the bench cold….i can see this team settling for way more jumpers than taking it to the hole during the season

  7. Awesome work once again Dayton, much appreciated. Just finished watching the Hoopfest videos and looks fun, the guys got rhythm!!! So looking forward to the start of the season.


  8. Thank you Dayton!!! I was there last night but had a different perspective and it is always good to see things twice, or three + times. The upper class men did win this fight but if we were to have this scrimmage in a few months i thin the outcome would be closer (if Vander would not play again). Freshman missed a lot of shots that they will make at a higher percentage later in the year. This will be a very fun team to watch.

  9. Hey Davis, this is your time, lead, get that team rocking and win that BWC tourney! Great academic guy that you are,…wish you best for perhaps your best season!!

    Mahalo to Da Beast Films..you could have post BB career in film making or media personality, you have great communication skills, and conflict resolution…!! wish you the BEST!!

  10. DAYTON…As Usual, OUTSTANDING Re-Cap of ‘Ohana Hoopfest….

    Even for those of us fortunate to be there,
    Better Yet with Your Re-Creation, Documentation and Interviews…
    Davis, The Beast

    i think some of the shots that weren’t falling were due to “Tired Legs”
    from Two/Three HOURS of Tough Defensive Practice….

  11. YES!!! Valdez cleared by the NCAA is awesome news.

    Now Gib needs to assign multiple tutors at all times so he can stay eligible.

  12. Hmm, if Filopovich and Jovanovic are committed, is that all the scholarships for next year’s class? I wonder if one of bith committed as walk ons?? There’s only 2 seniors on this years team.

    I wouldn’t think Gib would spend his only scholarships on players that are developmental players. Jovanovic looks like he needs 1-2 years before he’s ready. So either these guys are a lot better that we all know or they may be non-scharahip commitments.

    It’s a long ways to go for the 2013 recruiting year, and I think Gib has an extra scholarship ready for a big time talent. That’s the luxury you have when you have a great foundation already in place.

  13. CREDIT TO al —

    First to Question WHO Might be Graduating Early OR Marginal on Progressing to Retain Scholarship….

    Did YOU Hear Confirmation of Clearance for AV AFTER Annotation that he received Two Week Waiver?

    TAVITA is also a Senior (IF on Scholarship then Three)

    SO SUSPECT One or Both Walking On…
    and Trying to Earn Scholie…

    Counting Scholies is Challenging here
    BUT Gi

  14. …BUT (Fairly) GIB doesn’t want walk-ons Treated Differently…

    NO Support of Self-Limiting Prophecies and Expectations Here…..

  15. Eagle:

    Available scholarship players for NCAA D1 MBB programs, 13 scholies.

    Freshman: Fotu, Dressler, Clair, Pavlovic, Valdes(well he got 2 week NCAA waiver to participate in Hoopfest and frist two weeks of practice)! = LOI scholarships or Scholarship agreements total-5
    RS Freshman: Jawato= LOI scholarship -1
    RS Jr Transfer: Keith Shamburger(scholarship)-1
    Juniors: Christian, Garrett, Davis, Spearman(scholarships)-4
    Seniors: Vander, Hauns(scholarships) -2

    If above correct, then TOTAL used scholarships for this year(pending AV getting cleared officially ..or maybe he is, will be..?) = 13

    Freshman- Dyrbe , MIchael H.

    Any fellow UH MBB fans and posters would know? Coach cannot comment maybe, who is and who isn’t..I think Gib is just happy he has 15 guys(potentially) to work with this year!!

    We just know there are a lot of athletes, and still more interested ones presently with team and more on the horizon…coming for future year/years..which is good for UH MBB..didn’t know how Gib would replace TW, JT, BM, SS, and OL, but he did, with Aaron, Ozren, Manroop, Spearman, and Keith S….5 scholies opened up this spring, and 5 were filled as of Oct 2012….

  16. Eagle:

    Really on the other Recruiting site board for UH athletes, I could not go back into archive, moderator is really great in listing who were LOI,, Schloarship agreements, committed walkons, or HS verbal committs..

    Maybe we let Gib and UH and NCAA work out the math!

    Just enjoy the season!!!

    Go Warriors!!

    And former UH athlete , thank you for your positive and insightful, yet objective comments on UH MBB program!!

  17. Thanks Dayton for this website

    Former UH Athlete—Got me thinking

    I would doubt it that Flipovich or Jovanovic, coming from so far away, would sign early without scholarships in hand. I think Gib had his sights on these two a long time and believe in their upside potential. Those last 2 scholarships are gold (puka afta dat) and don’t think Gib would waste it on projects. But he made sure he got one big and one small to cover the court.

    Uhfanzonly1—got me thinking too

    About AV and his shot blocking abilities. That’s what makes Duane Wade so special as not only can he drain daggers and explode to the rim, he can stop you with his shot blocking from the weak side. That’s what wins championships—which the Heat did!

    I have a good feeling about Clair and point. Will take a little time though.

    With this team inside first option. Outside second.

    Men’s BB looks way more polished than women’s BB.

  18. servante:

    Good observations and comments. Hope Aaron is all set to go. He is a D guy and rebounder at SF or 3 spot for sure. Even as true freshman, I always look for that, can they play D and impact a game, I think AV can do it, just as Garrett did last year. AV has very long arms, he at a legitimate 6’5″ or maybe even 6’51/2″ plays like he is 6’7″ or 6’8″ IMO…if you had 5 guys on floor with that length and ability, wow…lock down, and disruptive D for sure..would be fun watching the D MBB guys who step up..yes, DEFENSE..that wins championships!!

    Manroop has been hampered by injuries so far, I think Gib, is really fair, he is opening up competition at PG, and I agree Roop wants to run PG,, he will work hard.. really,whomever can get job done. Roop is taller than SS and MO at 6’1″ or 6’2″, he has pretty good court vision, and in open gym, makes good passes. With the intense D they are into now in first phase of Practices, if Roop can handle pressure from Garrett, Spearman, Tavita etc…it will take time…Hope Roop works in weight room and just gets stronger , BB wise and physcially, huge upside IMO!!

    Go Warriors!!

  19. hey, Manroop Clair:

    you are on “the Chess-Master’s Seasons”,
    ~ 2. make perfect.

    how’s the body holding up?

    you are special, you got to do special things everyday;
    (1) review “Manroop Clair Motivation” on YouTube.
    (2) least-wise 40 minutes of self-masaging on sore-spots with Shea Butter.


    Good Summary UHF

    Ours is Note-Taking/ Archiving, and Speculation
    Because Progress and Player Status can/will Change,
    for themselves & the team, ideally for the better…

    Last Year, Gib had three early signees…
    By the time they were done with their senior seasons & summers
    ‘Everyone’ who knows basketball knew about Frotu
    and Caleb had shown enough that most of us can see he can help lock-down
    the post for seasons

    Just strongly suspecting that with All the Talent Still Out There…
    A Few More may be heading this way….

    So We Can Officially Declare “Victory”

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