Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors begin preparations for first road trip

After one day of rest – and giving thanks – the Hawai’i basketball team went back to work with an afternoon practice on Friday.

“Sharpening the axe,” is how head coach Gib Arnold described it. “Things that we already have in, but getting better at it. Angles on screens and technique.”

The Warriors have a full week to prepare for No. 18 ranked UNLV. The game is scheduled for Saturday, December 1, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. It will be the Warriors’ first road game of this season.

“I think we’re going to have a team that’s toing to be able to compete on the road,” Arnold said. “The signs you look for is maturity. Although we’re young and we’re new together, all the off court stuff, they’re very mature … I don’t think Vegas is going to be a distraction for this group.”

Hawai’i is 4-1, with its only loss by one point (78-77) in overtime against an Illinois team that went on to win the prestigious EA Sports Maui Invitational.

The Warriors’ last game was a 71-66 victory over North Dakota on November 20. Because of the 10-day break between games, the Warriors are still working on self-improvement. Arnold said the specific game plan for UNLV will be implemented next week.

“Today we didn’t do anything specifically for UNLV, but we worked on all our stuff,” Arnold sdaid.

UNLV is in quite a different situation from Hawai’i in terms of preparation for the December 1 game. The Rebels lost their first game of the season, 83-79, on Friday night – a loss that could jeopardize their Top 25 ranking next week. UNLV also has a home game on Saturday night against Iowa State, and another home game on November 28 against UC Irvine.

The Warriors also welcomed two players back to practice on Friday – redshirt freshman Brandon Jawato and true freshman Aaron Valdes.

Jawato sat out the North Dakota game with an injured thigh. He has been cleared to return to action, and said he will make the trip to UNLV.

“We’re actually very excited and hyped for the game coming, so we’re working hard, training hard in practice,” he said.

Jawato got a sneak preview at road travel as a Hawai’i player last season, when he made several road trips as a practice player (he did not suit up for games). “People don’t realize how tiring it can get from traveling,” he said.

Valdes was finally cleared this week to join the Warriors after nearly three months of waiting. He participated in Friday’s practice as part of the scout team.

“It felt great to finally get out there and practice again and be able to help out the team,” he said.

Valdes is targeted to redshirt this season. He said he was working out on his own while awaiting the NCAA clearance.

(Photo courtesy Charles Simmons)


  1. Some related recruiting news …

    Ako Kaluna has signed with Northern Arizona. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound forward from California expressed interested in Hawai’i during the summer evaluation period.

  2. thanks dayton…i was wondering where he’d land.
    i am also wondering what gives with the likes of ronnie stevens, dillon biggs, gerry blakes, et al…?

  3. Thanks for the update, Dayton. Like al, I, too also wondered what happened to Kaluna. Interesting that two prospects from the last recruiting class — Blake Hamilton and Cameron Forte — also landed at NAU … though, there was that rumor about their visit here. Believe Spearman was on the same trip, and I’m glad he got the offer! Spearman’s really settling in, and playing more like the guy we saw score 46 (think it was) in the summer league championship.

    On another note: Saw that Brad Pineau’s son (Dane) signed with Saint Mary’s … good for him. Brad was a good guy. Maybe Beeman should take a look at Pineau’s daughter — supposed to be a real talent Down Under.

  4. UNLV 82 Iowa st. 70

    11/28 UNLV VS UC – Irvine (of Big West Conference)

    12/01 UNLV VS UH

  5. We’re only 5 games into the season…any chance of Valdes getting into action this year? I noticed you said he’s “targetted” to redshirt this year, which means it hasn’t happened yet, which means it’s still in the evaluation process…I think we could use him!

  6. Clyde, I apologize for being negative, but isn’t this website about the Hawaii Warriors Basketball team. Why post about a guy going to St. Mary’s? I understand Pineau played for the Bows, (back in the day) but that was many years ago. Let’s keep the posts related to our currnt Warriors!

  7. Agree with Isaac …Let’s Keep that Door Open as long as possible…

    We and Aaron waited all this time…

    Although Not a True “Mid-Season” Transfer, esp. since he missed most of the team practices,
    Only 1/2 -plus of the offenses are in…
    Aaron’s Greatest Potential Contribution right now, may be ‘shut-down’ defense and he could be ready by the time the Big West rolls around…
    In Many earlier Years, where the team didn’t have so much depth we ‘would have to’ rely on a talented newcomer, late qualifier;
    Aaron’s additional athleticism could make him an X-Factor in matching up with or Neutralizing one of the several Big Weat Big Scoring Wings…

    Congrats FB Brothers– “Also” Beat UNLV to Prep for The FB-BB Sweep — P.S. KEEP The Unis…

    BB Team should have a “Special” Uniform as well….

  8. Isaac: Interesting, I only notice that now..the comment from Dayton that Aaron V. is “targeted” to Red Shirt this year…as long as he doesn’t enter game, could be on that RS year..however, he could still , if Gib saw he could

    contribute, go into game and start his BB eligibilty clock..I agree with some other posters..Aaron, his strength is length, huge wing span, D, help side and individual, he can block shots, get steals, and would be a great help on perimeter D as well, guarding out to 3 line and helping shutdown the PG’s that drive the lane on UH..

    Just my opinion, If AV lights it up on D in practice for next few weeks, and can get into running game, rebounds well out of his position, and can shoot mid range to the rim…maybe , he will play this year…remember, that was

    the missing ingredient from last year’s team..” the athletic Wing”..maybe not a Michael Thomas or Dillon Biggs type, however AV, is a rebounding and Defensive player…something that UH could certainly use to help their TEAM D be perhaps even better..

    If Aaron, for next home game against Pepperdine is not suited up, perhaps, RS..if he is…nice addition to team for this year !! I think Gib has a nice back up roster of a Big in Caleb, a SG/PG in Dyrbe, and the athletic wing and high flyer in Aaron,..so 3 guys, that are eligible to play this year..and can come off of RS at any time..

    Let’s see how UH MBB team does against Vegas..if they keep it close, or possibly get a huge upset..well team is pretty fine tuned..if lacking that AV ingredient..would be nice if Gib,says, hmmmm…maybe, AV is up to speed and could help..especially if one or two key guys go down(hope not!!) to injury or illness..

    Hey AV has paid his dues..other guys, might have called home and said, that’s it..all Pau, done with UH, the young guy stuck it out…and NCAA cleared him…

    Once again..”Targeted RS” Hmmmm…we wait and see..exciting and interesting development..either way AV is a great young man and team player..as are ALL of this year’s team , active and RS players..!!

  9. Manoa Baller: No apology needed. Just thought those who remember Brad Pineau (and Tony Webster) would be interested to know what happened to their sons, especially since it would have been kind of neat to see one of them follow in their dad’s footsteps and play for Hawaii. But, you’re right, the focus should be on who is here and who will be, and I like what I’ve seen so far. I’d like to think, though, that there will be others who will follow Fotu and Harper — some good talent from NZ and Australia.

  10. Is Aaric Armstead still in the cards? Blakes? ManroopClair, talk to Andrew Wiggins. Fellow Canadian and fellow Huntingyon Prep school.

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