Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Happy Thanksgiving

The Hawai’i basketball team has much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, such as a 4-1 record to start this season and a relatively healthy roster. But the international cast of Warriors can also appreciate the meaning of family, both here and abroad, and that’s what they will be celebrating most today.

“I’m thankful for these 16 guys that I have the privilege to coach,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “It’s a great group and they’re my extended family.”

Appropriately enough, the Warriors will spend Thanksgiving together at the Arnold family home, where the wives of the coaching staff will prepare a traditional meal.

It should make for an entertaining day, as several of the international players have never experienced the Thanksgiving holiday. When asked what his favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is, Australian Michael Harper responded: “I don’t know. What do you normally eat on Thanksgiving?”

In any case, the holiday comes at a perfect time in the early season for the Warriors. They defeated North Dakota, 71-66, on Tuesday night, and will not play again until December 1, when they travel to Las Vegas to play at nationally-ranked UNLV.

“We need a day to just relax and enjoy the food and the company,” Arnold said. “The guys have been going really, really hard these past few weeks and will be going hard again so it’ll be nice to have this day to get together and give thanks.”

— — — — —

One player who is especially grateful on this Thanksgiving Day is freshman Aaron Valdes. After nearly three months of waiting, he was finally cleared by the NCAA to officially join the Warriors.

The 6-foot-5 guard/forward has not been allowed to practice or participate in any team activities since he enrolled at UH in late-August (he was granted a two-week exemption, which allowed him to participate in the ‘Ohana Hoopfest in October).

Because he has missed so much practice time already, head coach Gib Arnold said Valdes will sit out this season as a redshirt. However, he is now eligible to become a valuable player on the scout team during practices.

Valdes is one of four players likely to sit out the 2012-13 season as redshirt players. The others are Keith Shamburger, Caleb Dressler and Dyrbe Enos.

— — — — —

WarriorInsider.com is thankful on this day for all of you who continue to support this site.

Biggest thanks go to our sponsors – Pacific Risk Solutions, Ameriprise Financial – Valerie Schmidt, and the Schmidt family.

Additional thanks to those who responded to our latest call for donations: Henry, Ronald, Clyde, PaperWell, Uncle Gary, Mark and Anonymous. Every bit counts and your contributions will go a long way toward helping this site.

Reminder to others that the fundraising is an ongoing campaign, so any other donations or sponsorships are more than welcome during this season. Please e-mail Dayton@warriorinsider.com for more information.


  1. Aaron Valdes: Airon..very relieved and happy that NCAA finally cleared you, so you can officially be part of MBB team..you will be great help on Scout team…that D wizard and athletic guy, that can help 12 man active roster get prepared for BWC and beyond..

    Of course with RS, and immediate eligibility this year, Caleb, Dyrbe, and Aaron, if emergency,,like 3 guys go down with illness/injury, those guys, if not too late in season, could be activated…Gib and team, good situation..

    Aaron, once again, thanks to you and your family for hanging in there! Do well in school and work on weights and eat well, and sleep well..You are the foundation , along with the 2 early signees for a great 2013-14 team..

    Now, UH MBB team…keep that chemistry going..keep together as a TEAM..and keep battling for championships!!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!!

  2. Love that this team is : OHANA, once again..they are friends, not enemies, great student athletes..

    shout out and kudos props to Aussie Mum, Tonganator, Memphis, Chicago side, Cali families.., Zagreb crew, Lativa ohana, Angola friends and family, Enos Ohana, Canada B.C.,

    Great team and coaches and fans!!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

    And thank you Dayton and sponsors and continued donors..for this site: the best UH MBB coverage, now literally globally!!

  3. Aloha to families in Germany, New Zealand. too!
    This video, great stuff Dayton..!!

  4. And Washington state…hey to the whole world for the gift of 16 really great young guys playing for UH MBB team..Dayton, you are doing great service to families of guys so far away from home..their Ohana appreciate without question..and this has to be a GREAT RECRUITING TOOL,,..Recruits can check it out and see coaches, games…and players before hand…Great stuff once again Mahalo for Warriorinsider!!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to the Fans of Warrior Insider and UH Men’s BB!

    I am thankful that this site allows all the families from around the world to check up on their sons. At this time of Thanksgiving, we normally think about sitting around a table and sharing a meal with the ones we love. It is great that the team can enjoy a meal at Coach’s house and for all the families to know that their sons are part of their new family while they are away from home.

    Special shout out to Aussie Mum and Ozi Mom! It makes me so happy to see the moms of the team on WI on a regular basis.

    Thank you to Dayton and the WI staff for the great coverage and wonderful stories!
    Aloha from the Schmidt Family

  6. It’s about time! Hanging in there Aaron. My thought is that as he practices and get in shape if he’s in the top 8 or 9 on the depth chart maybe he should be activated and play. Why save a year if he can help us win ball games and possibly win a conference championship. Let’s see what happens. By all accounts Mr. Valdes is a terrific defensive player and he’s a jumping jack who can make athletic plays and is a creative scorer.

    I was correct about Iilinois after reading today’s paper. Coach Groce gives the players confidence to take shots without fear from anywhere on the court. Just let it fly, no hesitation. Man, I like that. I hope Gib Arnold coaches like that. Practice all shots without fear. Good things will happen.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving all and aloha.

  8. Thanks to ALL The Warriors, Players & Coaches
    for Investing of themselves in This Hawai’i Men’s Basketball Experience;
    May This Be Among The Richest & Happiest of their Lives…
    Even as So Many Are So Far from The Family & Friends they grew up with…
    Protect and Help Them All to their Greatest and Highest Good for ALL Concerned…

    Thanks to Dayton & The Staff, Sponsors, Bloggers and Visitors of WarriorInsider.com
    who all Help make the UHMBB Experience So Much The Richer….

    And Thank You, Dear Father-Mother for the Bounteous Gifts We Are About to Receive…

    Happy Thanksgiving, All !


    Congratulations, Aaron
    Great Things come to those who Wait….

  9. UNLV hosting Oregon tomorrow on the tube. Channel digital 247 or HD1247. Good measuring stick for our team. Sure Gib will be watching and scouting along with the team. I will watch for sure too. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody! We have much to be thankful for because we live in the greatest country in the world. Amen.

  10. Derek: That is an interesting thought Derek, if Aaron continued to run, lift weights, eat well, shoot and handle on the side..just kept doing his own personal workouts…if he as a scout, is playing stellar D, and help with controlling Shamburger(who is quick), drives to rim and 3 pt shots..Maybe Gib could activate him…if no one else is that 8 or 9

    man…Good point..I think, if Gib sees in AV, that ability, he top tier guy in practice already, Why not activate..now..while still has 25 games left and BWC tourney and possible post season tourney in the mix..

    Still think Gib has to decide….however you never know..you want your best on the court at all times..

    Good observation..if can use Airon V. , why not! Challenge for BWC championship..and AV’s athleticsim , he is quick on help side D too..could help team guard the quick BWC guards..

    We shall see…at least Gib has that option, to activate 3 RS’s if need be!!


    Thanks Dayton and all the sponsors for keeping WI updated, all of Isaac’s Ohana and friends are all hook onto this site!!!!

    Keep up the good work.

  12. Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i

    To all my new friends in Hawai’i, thank you so much for making us all in Australia feel like we are part of your huge, friendly family.

    We are overwhelmed by your generosity of spirit; your interest and love of all things UHMBB; and your continued support of our sons.

    A big thank you to The Schmidt family and all the wonderful people that gave donations – this site makes a huge difference to all of us in every part of the globe.

    Also a big big thank you to Dayton (and Wes!) – I am not sure how you guys do all that you do but I am very thankful that you do what you do!!!!

    Have a great thanksgiving day and remember that we are all thinking of you on this day.

    Lots of Love


  13. Happy Thanksgiving to all of the UHMBB Ohana (coaches, players, fans, Dayton & WI sponsors & supporters)! Really meaningful day especially to those players who have come from so far away! The entire TEAM has great character and effort – really shows on the court! Continue to work hard and play together and the rewards will come! Especially happy for Aaron Valdez – can finally rejoin his teammates & coaches! GO WARRIORS!

  14. A big, big mahalo to Pacific Risk Solutions, Valerie Schmidt, and the Schmidt family for sponsoring this terrific site, and to Dayton and Wes for the great work you do. No Division 1 college basketball program anywhere in the U.S. gets any better day-to-day online coverage than UH gets at WarriorInsider. As a nearly 30-year fan of UH basketball, I really appreciate it.

  15. Indeed, a huge mahalo to the Schmidt ohana, and to Dayton and Wes, two seasoned journalists who manage to find time in their busy schedules to bring us the latest in UH basketball. Great job, everyone.

  16. Congrats to Aaron. Was hoping for some film scenes at today’s happenings at Gibs house hopefully we will get a update soon. Thank you to the Warrior BB team

  17. A big shout out to Dayton, Dean, Wes and the rest of the WI Team. We are all thankful for your time committment as well as a big thanks to your families for allowing you to spend so much time covering UH Men’s Basketball. As supporters of this website, we know that our contribution is just a small piece of the huge puzzle that makes this website so special. We are hopeful that more businesses step up in the future to continue to make WI the #1 source for fans of Hawaii Warrior Basketball.

    Coach Gib, Coach Benjy, Coach Brandyn and Staff, thank you for your tireless efforts to build the UH Men’s Basketball Program (yes, we are becoming a program)! The future is bright for UH Basketball because of you! To the players, we are all behind you as you enter the first season in the Big West Conferece. We can’t wait to see you develop as a team and as young men. Keep it up.

    Aloha, Tony Schmidt (Pacific Risk Solutions) and Family

  18. Dayton,
    I echo the sentiments of many fans on here in thanking you, your crew and sponsors on the great coverage of UH Men’s Basketball. This website has given college basketball junkies, such as myself, a remarkable source regarding information about our team. Prior to your site it was next to impossible to find out what was happening with the boys during the off-season. I feel with this extra coverage you have increased the bond between players and fans. Your player interviews have helped us get closer to seeing the non-basketball side of these young men. Your comments section has given us fans a chance to interact with the parents, relatives and friends of these players. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  19. Watching UNLV v Oregon now… UNLV is extremly athletic and long. UH will really need to take care of the ball because UNLV plays a very intense man defense and pressures the ball up and down the court in effort to force turnovers and run n gun. On offense, UNLV is a dribble drive and kick out team. They take a ton of threes and push the tempo.

    Vander, Standhardinger and Fotu will need to be productive vs the athletic front court of the Rebels… this should be a great matchup to watch, especially on the rebounds. Both UH and UNLV crash the offensive glass and the rebounding battle will be very important. I think whoever wins the rebounding will likely win the game. Vander needs to establish himself at the post and must make some mid range jumpers. Vander has struggled vs big men who can match his size/strength in the past.

    Both teams are deep so no major advantages for either side in regards to the bench. UH’s weak point vs UNLV will be Tavita and Brereton. Brereton is going to face taller, more athletic defenders so I do not think he’ll get many good looks. Tavita just needs to play under control and take care of the ball. UNLV will be all over Tavita so he needs to have his best game in the turnover department for UH to have a chance to win.

    UH will need its more athletic players to step up. Spearman has the athleticism to cut through UNLV’s defense and Jefferson will probably see more minutes for defensive purposes. If UH can finish their short shots, (they have missed a bunch of shots around the rim this year) this will be a competive game.

    UNLV’s big weakness is their ball handling. They don’t have a true point guard… Anthony Mashall is a 2 guard converted to point and he’s a score first guy, but now he has to get shots for everyone else. If UH pressures the point, they should be able to get some cheap turnovers.

    UNLV is also a very streaky team on offense. they can go on some ferocious runs during the course of a game, but they also give up some runs also when they run cold from the 3-point line.

    The game is projeted to be at or near sellout. The Thomas & Mack will probably have about 18,000, so the place will be hostile. UH will need to quiet the nerves early to withstand the runs UNLV will go on.

  20. UNLV’s Reinhart can really shoot. His stats haven’t been great today but he has a great shooting stroke and a beautiful rotation on his shots. Dangerous shooter UH needs to keep track of next Saturday.

    Bennett and Moser are two of the best players in the nation, so Vander and Standhardinger will have their hands full on defense.

    Watching the Rebels play now… they take a ton of bad shots (contested jumpers early in the shot clock) in the name of playing up tempo. So UH will have chances vs UNLV.

  21. Gonna be a good test for Joaquim and Fotu. UNLV’s big look big, thick and can run. They ain’t BIG slo pokes for sure, they BIG earth movers

  22. Oregon beat UNLV at it’s own game. They kept being aggressive and kept shooting and scoring. In the end, the Rebels made the big mistake. 83-79. I watched the entire game. UH will have to use our depth. Vegas is going to push the tempo for sure. We have to match Vegas’ 3 pt shooting and shoot 75% at the foul line. To win, UH will have to score in the 80s. Our UH guards have to score enough points. That means Tavita, Jefferson, Clair, Jawato, and Spearman. Somehow this group has to contribute about 35-40 points. Vander,, Issac, Christian, Davis, and Ozi, needs to get around 40 points. We have to keep the TOs below 14 or less. Otherwise, we can’t win, unless Vegas shoots terrible. That’s not likely.

  23. Maybe the ex-factor will be Brereton. He has to play well and defend the perimeter.

  24. Great assessment Former UH Athlete.

    I hope UH doesn’t come out flat from their ten day layoff. An early season road game @ the Thomas & Mack Center is certainly not going to be easy.

    I’m surprised UNLV went down against Oregon. They supposedly have much more talent than Oregon. UNLV fans are blaming their inexperienced coach, Dave Rice. Their coach, btw, played for Jerry Tarkanian in the early 90s and was an assistant under Dave Rose @BYU and Stew Morrill @USU.

    Additional Notes:
    – Katin Reinhardt (starting wing) is only a freshman. He doesn’t play very good D and gets blown off the dribble. However, he can really shoot it as Former UH Athlete mentioned. I suspect that he will be matched up against Hauns, so we will need a big night from him.
    – Doug Gottlieb said that their USC transfer (I recall UH fans wanted him to transfer here), Bryce Jones, is a black-hole. He was one for eight from beyond the arc against Oregon.
    – Their big man, Anthony Bennett, is the real deal. He was the #1 power forward in the nation last year out of HS. Both of their bigs will also shoot it from downtown. Their other big, Mike Moser, was their leading scorer last year. He’s having trouble finding his rhythm so far this year.
    – Jace Tavita, interestingly, was 2-1 against UNLV during his sophomore year. He averaged about 23 minutes in those three games and about 1.6 turnovers (not bad). He did play against their current point, Anthony Marshall, that year.

  25. All
    I love your analysis of the other games and teams – it really helps me!!!
    This is a great site

  26. The number 1 recruit for 2013 is Andrew Wiggins. He currently plays at Huntington Prep and is from Canada. I wonder if ManroopClair can help Gib Arnold to get Mr. Wiggins to play for us?

  27. Do we have any scholies left?

  28. Thanks so much for this!
    What at team!

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