Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

UPDATED Official signings: Thomas and Jovanovic

The Hawai’i basketball team received the National Letters of Intent from recruits Michael Thomas and Stefan Jovanovic. Both players previously announced their intention to join the Warriors, but their signings now make it official.

Both players are currently seniors in high school, and will be freshmen during the 2013-14 season. Here is the official announcement from the UH Media Relations office, which includes comments from head coach Gib Arnold:

HONOLULU – University of Hawai`i men’s basketball coach Gib Arnold announced the signing of a pair of players during the early signing period. Post player Stefan Jovanovic and wing Michael Thomas each signed with Hawai’i and will join the team with four years of eligibility.

Jovanovic is a 6-foot-10, 235-pound center and native of Serbia who attends Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif. Jovanovic earned second-team all-Del Rey league honors as a junior last year after averaging 10 points and eight rebounds per game and helping lead his team to a 25-4 record.

Jovanovic also had a strong showing on the AAU circuit this past summer while playing for the Pump-n-Run Elite team, particularly at the Fab 48 Tournament in Las Vegas where he averaged closed to a double-double.

“I first saw Stefan five years ago in Serbia,” Arnold said. “At the time he was just 13 years old but I remember he had a great work ethic and the potential to be a very good player. In the five years since he has done a remarkable job of developing into very good high school player. He is big and strong and already has a Division I body. I’m looking forward to working with Stefan and I am confident he’ll become an outstanding college player.”

UH, meanwhile, reeled in another top Southern California prospect in Thomas, a 6-6, 200-pound wing player out of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Thomas averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks per game as a junior. Playing a multitude of positions, the versatile Thomas helped the Conquistadors capture the City Section Division II championship last season, recording a double-double in the title game.

Thomas received interest from programs in the Pac-12, Mountain West, Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference, before ultimately choosing UH over Northern Arizona and UC Santa Barbara.

“Michael has the whole package,” Arnold said. “He’s an outstanding young man and basketball player. In high school he played most of his minutes in the post, but he’s worked hard and become a very good perimeter player. I’m sure he’ll have many above-the-rim highlights at UH with his incredible athleticism. He’s a gifted young man and will be a joy to work with as a new member of our team.”

2013-14 Recruiting Class
Stefan Jovanovic, 6-10, 235, C, Fr., Belgrade, Serbia., Bishop Montgomery High School
Michael Thomas, 6-6, 200, F, Fr., Woodland Hills, Calif., El Camino Real, High School


  1. Great to Lock in Two solid Recruits…post & wing…

    Is pg Filipovich far behind ?

  2. It’s good to see these two getting signed and locked up (as Eagle said) in ink before a potentially big senior year.

  3. Is the PG a preferred walk on or did he decommit?

  4. Scholarship limit is probably filled now, unless a current player leaves

  5. i think pocho nailed it …

    ’til someone “leaves” (could ‘volunteer’ to vacate) or walks on…
    (NLOI’s “Guarantee the Player” a scholarship if he enrolls (qualifies, etc. but we all know those rules better than ever?…)

    Just Ideas….

    NCAA ought to Award “Bonus” scholies for good grades & good behavior….

    AND Get Aaron Legal/Legit…

  6. I really appreciate the work that coach Gib and crew put toward recruiting. So relieved to know that Hawaii can get great recruits. I’m actually “re-angry” over the fact that it was always said, “Hawaii cannot get quality high school recruits or freshmen”. So happy to have coach Gib in charge.

  7. I think Gib is still recruiting PG…on interview or statement from a recent media outlet, use time during 11 day stretch between Nov 20 home game vs North Dakota and road game at UNLV on Dec 1 ..he would go on the road..maybe, we don’t know. to work on relationship, ongoing recruitment of another PG prospect, HS or JC with 3yrs to play?

    Of the 16 young men with MBB program, I believe 13 or 12(depending if AV is on a scholarship agreement) are on full scholarship LOI or Scholarship Agreement…so 3 walkons……Vander and Hauns eligibilty ends this spring, so that would leave either 11 or 10 guys still on scholarship for next year with possibly 2 or 3 available…and you never know, though I am sure Gib wants to keep all scholarship freshman without question..

    We have to wait and see, until Dayton has a video update interview with Gib, and he would say, recruiting for 2013-14 is done..I guess..

    And Eagle correct, Gib really cannot comment on who is or isn’t on scholarship, who walk on, I think he can, when they enroll, or transfers(i.e. Shamburger)from another D1 school when they officially enroll.

    As for AV, don’t know if NCAA qualified or not..must be on financial aid or student loan..he must have great parents , as does Michael Harper…and Jace..

    Just my opinion..what dramatic turn for the MBB program, when they start having a RS program that includes pretty decent preferred walkons..usually , I have only heard of that at UH with football program..if you have guys willing to pay their way, or with family help, aid..i.e. the outstanding example and sacrifice of Tavita Ohana… and Harper Ohana,…., that speaks volumes of direction MBB is heading..

    Yes , I am not certain of rules, I think Nov 14 2012 , when it is past, is the date for early signees, then we have to wait for Aprill date(spring signees). or up to(hope not)the start of school for scholarship agreement recruits(i.e. Ozren)….

    Bottom line, Gib could state that official recruiting and filling of sholarships for next year is done….his recruiting on the road during 11 day break…he could be still after a walkon/financial aid PG or maybe still working the Jrs for 2014-15..? We all have to wait and see. sheesh, Gib is a recruiting coach , no question, and his staff works very hard at it..I like the direction and dynamics,..go pacific, go global, and if can, get the best fit from USA..

  8. with signing these players in the early signing period i hope they can contribute right away…..2013 class could end early with nothing to look foward to at the end of the season unless someone leaves…good pick-ups? who knows…there isn’t much video or information

  9. pierre jackson with 31 points

  10. At this stage in our program we need to go after players that top schools overlook. Jovanovick and Thomas could be dark horses that many schools passed on. Do your homework as Gib did scouting Jovanovick when he was 13 and then lay the cards down. Good job to the coaching staff following these players. The hard work will pay dividends in the years to come.

  11. 13 max. scholarships for men’s bb. we already know we got 13 this year. Of course AV is still up in the air but you gotta go with that he’s getting one, I mean he was supposed to but still he’s not cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse. It’s weird that UH admissions has AV on board and I would assume cleared to attend UH and the NCAA hasn’t. My good guess is that AV will get cleared. So that leaves UH with 2 scholarships to fill that’s being vacated after this school year with Vander and Hauns using up their eligibility. Also it’s a good estimation that both Thomas and Jovanovic have scholarships awarded to them with their LOI signed and delivered, prefered walk-ons do not sign LOI’s but they do need to clear the NCAA Clearinghouse. The scholarships for bb is filled with 13 next year unless a current player leaves in one way or another because of grades, unhappiness, homesickness, etc.

    I just wonder about Jawato’s situation, I don’t think he signed a LOI. Gib kinda promised him a scholarship and awarded one to him, I don’t know, maybe it’s a year by year thing BUT I’m TOTALLY guessing here.

  12. ^^^^^^ totally a guess above on Jawato. I remember so many people wondering if Jawato was awarded a scholarship. I mean, if he did sign a LOI there wouldn’t have been question marks, right?

    I still don’t know, hahahahahahahaha

  13. While it’s not likely to happen, sure wouldn’t mind seeing Tony’s kid coming here. Anyway, here’s an update:

    Tai Webster, a four-star point guard from New Zealand who committed to the Nebraska basketball team in August, didn’t sign his national letter of intent on Wednesday.

    That’s not necessarily cause for panic.

    Sources close to the situation say Webster is still firmly committed to Nebraska, and isn’t taking visits to other schools.

    Webster and his family do, however, want to wait until his official recruiting visit to Lincoln before making his decision final. That is set for Dec. 3, when Webster will attend Nebraska’s home game against USC at the Devaney Sports Center. It will be Webster’s first visit to Lincoln.

    The only glitch is the early signing period ends Nov. 21, which means Webster would have to wait until the spring signing period in April to sign with Nebraska, and he’d remain a recruiting prospect in the meantime.

  14. Hopefully Tai will have a stopover in Honolulu on the way to Lincoln. Hawaii in December versus Nebraska in December… it will be quite a contrast.

  15. Hope Tai is making a visit to UH.
    Also where is Niko’s LOI???

  16. I’m not quite sold on Jovanovic.

  17. An LOI, (for Niko or other) “guarantees” a signee a scholarship….

    as pocho pointed out fourth above, 1-13 probably all committed (at least for now)

    although most seem to agree,
    ONLY GIB knows for sure


    Hope Tai (And Mom & Dad) have Really Long & Great Hawai’i Stop-Overs…
    PRO Dad might find a Hawai’i tuition, room and board “wise, worthwhile and affordable”
    Agree with HM: December to February signing period is the right time to observe and compare
    (although it snows in New Zealand/Aotearoa)
    Once you SEE the Difference….
    Christian?! Isaac… Coach… Family/ ‘Ohana & Fans…

    By Then we could/should be better than Nebraska in Volleyball. Baseball and Basketball…Rugby, too

  18. Is there a highlight film for Jovanovic?

  19. nothing really on janovic and niko….niko didn’t sign but im not worried…im more scared if he does sign

  20. Ha Ha Ha…

    i think this is what Trust must look like…

    i’m impressed with the people visiting and blogging here

    “Trust Your Eyes” is a good guideline….

    Connections? Get some Cams on our signees’ Senior Seasons


    Illinois to UNLV would be a Really Good Time to Start an Impressive Bombing Run…

    Hauns, Brandon(s), Roop, Ozi, Jace everybody? (Now who doesn’t have Range to Three Line?)
    A little more like Game 2 — More or All of the Time

  21. Not bad… two more for next year.

    Jovanovic should be interesting because he’s a big boy and a big body. Hopefully he continues his development and can eventually replace Vander after this year.

    Thomas looks nice. Not overly athletic or explosive. He has a nice pull up jumper and looks to be a good shooter overall. Hope the coaches widen his shooting stance, because his feet are really narrow during his shot. Having a solid stance will be more consistent and on balance than a narrow stance. At 6’6″ or taller, a narrow stance makes you top heavy and it’s tougher to maintain consistent balance while shooting on the move.

    Hopefully these boys can develop in to solid players. The good news is that they won’t be needed to contribute right away because UH has so many good freshmen this year.

    I hope Gib has an extra scholarship in his back pocket available for a special athlete later on in the recruiting cycle.

  22. Solid pickups for next season.

    Jovanovic gives us another big man to develop. Thomas gives us more height and athleticism on the perimeter.

    Assuming everyone with eligibility remains on the team, next year’s roster would be (based on seniority):

    PG: Jefferson (6-3, 170, Sr), Shamburger (6-0, 170, Jr), Clair (6-2, 180, So), Dyrbe Enos (5-9, 160, Rfr)
    SG: Spearman (6-3, 200, Sr), Jawato (6-4, 215, So), Harper (6-4, 200, So)
    SF: Pavlovic (6-8, 210, So), Valdes (6-5, 200, Rfr), Thomas (6-6, 200, Fr)
    PF: Standhardinger (6-8, 215, Sr), Rozitis (7-0, 240, Sr)
    C: Fotu (6-8, 240, So), Dressler (6-10, 250, Rfr), Jovanovich (6-10, 235, Fr)

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