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Spearman knows thy enemy in Illinois

The distance between Chicago and the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Ill., is approximately 125 miles. The distance between Chicago and Honolulu is approximately 4,250 miles.

Brandon Spearman was raised in Chicago and now plays for the Hawai’i basketball team. As fate would have it, the Warriors will host Illinois at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu on Friday night.

Hawai’i is 3-0 after winning three games by double-digits in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic. Illinois from the Big Ten Conference is 2-0.

“Illinois was pretty much the home college team for Chicago,” said Spearman, a 6-foot-2 junior guard. “I grew up watching them. I grew up watching (former Illinois stars) Deron Williams and Dee Brown, other cats.”

Spearman said he knows or knows of “probably the whole roster” of current Illini players because he played with or against them in AAU, summer league or high school games.

Interestingly enough, Spearman will play a key role. The Illini’s strength is in the backcourt, with the guard trio of Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, and Tracy Abrams combining for 39.5 points per game. Spearman is expected to be in the starting lineup for the Warriors and will be matched up against one of the Illini guards.

The dynamic has made for some interesting conversations with family and friends back in Chicago. “They really can’t wait to watch all of us play,” Spearman said.

Another Warrior who will play a key role is senior point guard Jace Tavita, who is averaging 2.7 points and 9.0 assists per game this season.

“We have to take care of the ball, minimize the turnovers,” he said. “Just defend and run — the things that we’ve done in the first three games.”

Tavita has some distant memories of playing against Illinois when he was still at the University of Utah. In November 2009, the Utes upset then-No. 20 Illinois in a tournament in Las Vegas. Tavita was a sophomore on that Utah team and got 12 minutes of reserve action in the win.

Paul and Richardson were already starting as freshmen for Illinois that season.

“We beat them in Las Vegas with a buzzer-beater so hopefully we can beat them here,” Tavita said.

Note that Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., following a UH women’s basketball game at 5 p.m. It basically gives fans an extra 30 minutes to make it to the Sheriff Center.

“The home court advantage is more important than people think,” Tavita said. “It gives us extra energy and motivation. It gets us pumped up, and the other teams they come out here and they kind of get rattled … we need everyone to come out and support us.”

GAME FACTS
When:
Friday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. start
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: Live statewide on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on ocsports.tv.
Radio: 1500 AM The Buzz will carry the game. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: None
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: $26 (lower); $18 (upper-adult); $16 (upper-sr. citizen); $5 (upper-youth, ages 4-HS); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6. Fans with a men’s ticket will be admitted free to the preceding women’s basketball tournament games. Special upper level ticket rates will be also be available on from two hours prior to the start of the women’s basketball game until halftime of the women’s game.
Promotions: Chevron is the game sponsor and will distribute 400 rally towels at Gate A (distribution begins at 6:30 p.m.) and another 100 rally towels in the student section and award up to $650 in Chevron gift cards. In addition, 2,400 bottles of Pepsi NEXT will be distributed to fans as they leave the arena. The student theme is “Wig Night” as the first 200 students will receive a free wig.

And for those who did not get a chance to see this, here is video of head coach Gib Arnold commenting on the recently signed recruits Michael Thomas and Stefan Jovanovic (it is the same video as the previous post):

7 Comments

  1. Big game tonight. Hopefully it bodes well that Brandon and Jace are familiar with some of their personnel already. Can’t wait for tipoff!

  2. Nice interview with Gib on recently signed recruits…and yes, that answers a question I had, and perhaps many others..Gib said he is a recruiting coach, his agenda with

    whole staff, look for good student /athletes…Dayton, nice question: are you still recruiting for 2013?(i.e. since signing the 2 HS guys is the recruiting done for next year?)..Gib: we’re always recruiting(looking for talent , right fit..I guess..JMO)..So,

    Gib is doing what he says he was going to do , constantly recruit…and we don’t know what movement will be I guess, if any with a few in spring..however, now Gib is one

    step ahead in the recruiting process. just in case..he is constantly looking to keep the roster filled with good athletes and good charater students..Good way to go, ..doesn’t leave program in scramble mode..

  3. Do not have a fear of Illinois
    I believe you can beat everyone
    a message to you is do not worry be happy and just play

    Special greeting for Spearman (who knows thy enemy) to lead the team to victory

    we will watch you in the morning

    GO WARRIORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. seen Harper with the Fro going dorm door to door. Where’s the Tim Tams? hahahahaha

  5. Ozi Mum,
    Good Message…
    As Ozi’s ‘comfort’ and calmness settles in, really looking forward to Ozi’s ‘break-out’ game…
    The Fact that he took Three Threes this past game tells me that his teammates and coaches are encouraging him to “keep shooting” (versus what the coaches tell developing shooters: “…take a three in the game to start developing the feel …as you have more success, that is, start hitting some, take another…etc.”) … For coach and teammates to have Ozi firing three means he’s already hitting them consistently in practice (as y’all already know and expect) … so His Breakout Game may be right around the corner (could even be Tonight)… but as coach says about the team’s “most skilled” basketball player … not to add any pressure on him….

    …Nice Message, Ozi Mum

    Go Warriors!

  6. Aussie Mum…

    Michael Harper was the Trivia Question CORRECT ANSWER on one of this morning’s radio sports shows (KKEA ESPN 1420 Honolulu) … “Who is Hawai’i’s First Australian Basketball Player?”

    Paaa—eeeee Time !

    Fro-Day Night Lights…
    200+ Afros??
    Tomorrow’s Videos could be “Keepers”…
    (Makes me want to take more classes so i can ‘qualify’ for an Afro….)

  7. Great fan and family following of UH MBB team! Aussie Mum , now Ozi Mum…I presume from Zagreb to Melbourne?

    Mahalo(thank you for support)..we look forward to team giving 110% and more..they will not back down…I am sure if the Illinois gets physical, Hawaii will get physical, if Illinois, trys to get up and down the floor,..well UH warriors will be right with them..

    and anyone on the team , 1 through 12…Gib and team want the Win! Ozi, Harper, Jawato, Jefferson, be ready!! Takes a Team to beat a pretty athletic team..No fear..hopefully there are 6000 plus fans, in the SSC cheering you on! Now we know , from Australia to Croatia.,..they will follow you!!

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