Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors preparing for big test against Big Ten’s Illinois

The Hawai’i basketball team passed its first series of quizzes. Now comes a real test.

The Warriors will host Illinois on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. It will be a battle of early-season unbeatens: Hawai’i is 3-0 after winning the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic; Illinois is 2-0 after two home blowout victories.

“They’re very athletic and they get after you defensively,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said of the Fighting Illini. “You expect a lot of athleticism, you expect them to get up and really guard you and they got some scoring weapons, most definitely. They’re a very good team.”

Illinois is led by 6-foot-4 senior guard Brandon Paul, who is averaging 17.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. He also led the team in scoring last season with 14.7 points per game.

Like Hawai’i, the Illini has displayed a balanced attack this season, including: 6-1 sophomore Tracy Abrams (14.0 points, 4.5 assists), 6-3 senior D.J. Richardson (8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds), 6-9 senior Tyler Griffey (13.5 points), and 6-11 sophomore Nnanna Egwu (8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds).

Illinois opened the season with convincing wins over Colgate (75-55) and St. Francis of New York (89-64).

The Warriors have four players averaging double-figure points: Christian Standhardinger (17.3), Hauns Brereton (16.7), Vander Joaquim (15.3) and Brandon Spearman (12.3). Freshman Isaac Fotu is contributing 6.3 points per game and is tied with Brereton for the team lead in rebounds with 8.0 per game. Senior point guard Jace Tavita is averaging 2.7 points and 9.0 assists per game.

“Obviously we’d like to try to do the best we can with getting it inside and hopefully establishing an interior game,” Arnold said.

The Illini finished 17-15 last season, but are under the direction of new head coach John Groce this season.

Friday’s game will be part of a 10-day trip in Hawai’i for Illinois. The Illini are also scheduled to play three games in the Maui Invitational next week.

The Warriors and Illini have some recent history, although under previous coaches. Illinois is 6-0 all-time against Hawai’i, including victories in 2007 in Honolulu and 2008 in Illinois. In the 2007 game at the Stan Sheriff Center, Calvin Brock hit the game-winning basket with 5 seconds remaining to give the Illini a 79-77 win.

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.


  1. Great video and writeup.

    Here my preview:

    Illinois will run a three guard lineup. I’d have to assume after looking over their stats and their message board write-ups that we have the advantage in the post and a disadvantage in the backcourt. Backcourt D is going to be of utmost importance against Brandon Paul, a lottery pick caliber SG. They’ll have four guys on the perimeter that can pop it from downtown on any given occasion. We’re going to have to be stout on our perimeter D. Also, we won’t be able to help off the 4 spot, because their PF can really shoot it. As for the frontcourt, their big-men do not rebound the ball as well as us. Two of their guards are their better rebounders in their first two games. However, that center does get 5 boards per game, and Coach Gib says he can block shots as well. It should be an interesting game. Wheeler and Portnoy are predicting a Hawaii victory.

  2. UH MBB team: Gib will tell you..Defense, Rebounding, get good shots, inside / out, race(run when get the D rebound), and most importantly, since going against a very athletic and Big Illinois team, take care of the ball, have press break ready, don’t get caught in traps, Jace, or Manroop, or anyone dribbling, keep dribble tight, ..also, Team has to communicate, if they see, Illinois defenders, sneaking from backside to strip ball away from PG’s, ..

    Basically, UH still play your game..limit turnovers to 14 or less..shoot well from field and FT line..come out with the W!!!

  3. In a game like this a surprise or two will happen. Look for more of Jefferson on the floor and Clair will see more if he gets it going offensively. I think our depth will make the difference.

  4. I should have proof read my first post. There’s some grammatical errors. My apologies.

    I think turnovers and rebounds are going to be huge as well Uhfanzonly. Illinois’s backcourt is very athletic and quick, so they’ll convert on any mistakes rather quickly.

    I also wanted to add that Ken Pom’s predictor has Illinois as a 6 point favorite, so it will be a tough game. I should have noted that Wheeler and Portnoy are expecting a close game, but still are picking Hawaii.

  5. Let’s come out and support the team tomorrow. Would be great if the students come out and fill the seats tomorrow night. Illinois is a good early season test for UH. I think if UH can cut down on unforced turnovers, they’ll be fine tomorrow night.

  6. Pre-Season Mags and Coach Jackson Wheeler seem to agree that a Key X-Factor in Upper Division 1 Ball is Turnovers (yes, Defense, Shooting and Rebounds all matter but) …”at the Upper Levels good teams will turn every steal and turnover into easy baskets because they can score the ball” … One Pre-Season Mag criticized Illinois for its worst season last year in Turnovers versus Assists (Minus 30 for their 32 game Season) – Hawai’i currently @ 50 Assists versus 55 Turnovers – Gib (paraphrasing) says he considers Turnovers a little more significant than Assists because you can score the basket without an assist but not without the ball — we need to do better on taking care of the ball… Good Test for Our Guard Development… BigTen Basketball Conference Rated #1 Nationally …

    IF the ‘mainlanders’ and/or Vegas already see this as a 6-point game, maybe the good news could be (oversimplifying) that the team just needs to step up, like 6+ points or better than expectations to be in position to compete for the win…

    Any Kind of Hawai’i Win would be good… for this early stage of a young, developing team…

  7. jefferson get ready!!!…i believe the illini will wreak havoc on our guards….it’s bad enough if unknown teams make our guards pass to vander to bring the ball up court but good test early in the season

  8. Big time game Friday Nite ! Be there Warrior Fans! At least we have the BB season to look forward to.! Illinois ! Sudents get your free Fro!!

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