Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

A look ahead at the Diamond Head

The 2012 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is a stellar one, with seven of the eight teams in the field bringing winning records with them to Hawaii this weekend. Which team walks away with the first-place trophy remains to be seen.

The Hawai’i basketball team will host the three-day tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center on December 22, 23 and 25, and the Warriors are hoping to unwrap a championship gift on Christmas Day.

“In this tournament, everyone can score,” Hawai’i junior forward Davis Rozitis said. “There are some great teams, great players, individually great. So we just have to stop them. It’s all about defense.”

Rozitis can actually speak from experience. He is the only player in this year’s field who can claim a Diamond Head Classic championship. He was a freshman on the USC team that won the inaugurual Diamond Head Classic in 2009. He transferred to Hawai’i a year later, so he has been at courtside for every tournament.

Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold was an assistant coach on that same USC team in 2009, so he has also been a part of every Diamond Head Classic.


“The field coming in this year is as good as it gets,” Arnold said. “Every game is going to be great basketball.”

Leading the field is Arizona, which is ranked No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. San Diego State is No. 18, and Miami (FL) is also receiving votes. The eight teams in the field have a combined record of 50-17.

The Warriors will open the tournament against Miami on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Here is a brief look at each of the eight teams, in alphabetical order:

Arizona (9-0)
Pac-12 Conference
Rundown: The Wildcats opened the season ranked No. 12 and have climbed every week after victories over Long Beach State, Texas Tech, Clemson and Florida. Leading scorer Mark Lyons played in last season’s Diamond Head Classic as a starter of Xavier. This will be Arizona’s first appearance in the Stan Sheriff Center. The Wildcats’ last appearance in Hawaii was at the 2009 Maui Invitational.
Players to watch: Mark Lyons (6-1, Sr., G) is averaging 13.9 points per game. He averaged 15.1 points per game at Xavier last season as a junior, then transferred to Arizona and was declared immediately eligible because he graduated from Xavier … Nick Johnson (6-3, So., G) is averaging 13.6 points per game with a .545 field goal percentage … Solomon Hill (6-7, Sr., F) is averaging 12.9 points, and 5.0 rebounds per game.

East Tennessee State (2-7)
Atlantic Sun Conference

Rundown: The Buccaneers have had more than their share of issues this season. Two key players were dismissed last month after being arrested on drug charges, and there have also been several injuries. As a result, 11 different players have started at least one game this season, and only four players have appeared in all nine games. ETSU has already played six road games, and is 1-5 in those games.
Players to watch: Lester Wilson (6-4, Fr., G) is averaging 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and is 29 for 74 from 3-point range (.392) … Jarvis Jones (6-2, Sr., G) is averaging 12.0 points per game.

Hawai’i (5-3)
Big West Conference
The Warriors have a 5-4 record in the three previous Diamond Head Classics. Head coach Gib Arnold was an assistant coach for the USC team that won the 2009 Diamond Head Classic. He became the Hawaii coach following that season. Two of the Warriors losses this season have been against teams currently ranked in the Top 25 (Illinois and UNLV).
Players to watch: Christian Standhardinger (6-8, Jr., F) leads the team in scoring (17.0 points) and rebounding (8.0). He has recorded double-doubles in each of the last three games … Vander Joaquim (6-10, Sr., C) is averaging 13.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game … Brandon Spearman (6-3, Jr., G) is averaging 12.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game … Hauns Brereton (6-6, Sr., G/F) is averaging 11.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Indiana State (5-3)
Missouri Valley Conference
The Sycamores are most famous as the school that produced Larry Bird, but that was more than 33 years ago. Two of Indiana State’s losses this season have come against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time (86-59 at then-No. 13 UCLA and 77-68 at then No. 23 New Mexico). The Sycamores participated in the 2004 Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center, going 0-3.
Players to watch: Jake Odum (6-4, Jr., G) is averaging 15.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game … Manny Arop (6-6, Jr., F) is averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is originally from Canada.

Miami (7-1)
Atlantic Coast Conference
The Hurricanes’ only loss of this season was at Florida Gulf Coast on November 13. They have since won six consecutive games, including a home-victory over then-No. 13 Michigan State. The Hurricanes are one of the top defensive teams in the country, allowing an average of 59.8 points per game and limiting opponents to a .379 field goal percentage. Head coach Jim Larranaga was the head coach of the underdog George Mason team that advanced to the Final Four in 2006.
Players to watch: Durand Scott (6-5, Sr., G) is averaging 15.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, with a .588 field goal percentage … Shane Larkin (5-11, So., G) is averaging 14.8 points and 4.1 assists per game. He is the son of former baseball all-star Barry Larkin … Reggie Johnson (6-10, Sr., C) is listed at 292 pounds, and is averaging 12.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game … Kenny Kadji (6-11, Sr., F) is averaging 11.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Ole Miss (8-1)
Southeast Conference
The Rebels are 7-0 at home this season. They are averaging 81.6 points per game on offense, while allowing just 59.2 for opponents. They have already surpassed 90 points in four games this season. This will be the first appearance in the Stan Sheriff Center for Mississippi.
Players to watch: Marshall Henderson (6-2, Jr., G) is averaging 17.8 points per game, and is 36 for 102 from 3-point range. He was the junior college national player of the year last season … Murphy Holloway (6-7, Sr., F) is averaging14.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He is in his fourth year as a starter for the Rebels … Reginald Buckner (6-9, Sr., F) is averaging 10.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game with a .623 field goal percentage.

San Diego State (9-1)
Mountain West Conference
The Aztecs opened the season with a 62-49 loss to Syracuse, and have won nine consecutive games since then. SDSU has won 20 or more games in seven consecutive seasons, including a 34-3 record in the 2010-11 season. Head coach Steve Fisher is a former NCAA national championship coach, having led Michigan to the 1989 title. SDSU’s last trip to the Islands was for the 2003 Maui Invitational. Hawai’i was also in that tournament, but the Warriors and Aztecs did not play each other.
Players to watch: Jamaal Franklin (6-5, Jr., G) is averaging 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year last season … Chase Tapley (6-3, Jr., G) is averaging 13.9 points per game. He is in his fourth year as a starter … Xavier Thames (6-3, Jr., G) is averaging 10.4 points per game.

San Francisco (5-4)
West Coast Conference
The Dons’ record includes home victories over St. John’s and Montana, and road losses against Stanford and Nevada. USF does not have any seniors on its roster. The Dons’ last appearance in the Stan Sheriff Center resulted in a 77-74 win over Hawai’i in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Players to watch: De’End Parker (6-6, Jr., G) is averaging 15.4 points per game. He is a transfer from UCLA … Cole Dickerson (6-7, Jr., F) is averaging13.6 points, and currently leads the all NCAA Division I players with 13.1 rebounds per game. He has grabbed 14 or more rebounds in five games this season … Cody Doolin is averaging 11.7 points and 6.3 assists per game.

— — — — —

Game Information: Hawai’i vs. Miami
When: Saturday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. HT
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: Live on ESPNU.
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on WatchESPN.com.
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM will carry the game live. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: $26 (lower) and $18 (upper) for evening session. $10 (general admission) for day session. All session ticket packages for $90 (lower) and $70 (upper).
Promotions: One free admission to the daytime sessions on December 22 or December 23, for each new, unwrapped toy donated to Toys for Tots Hawaii as you enter the Stan Sheriff Center. Offer is valid as long as tickets are available for sale. Military Discount (Must show military ID and limit four [4] per ID); Upper Level (Reserved Sessions 2, 4 ,5, 6) – $9; General Admission. UH Alumni Discount (Must show UHAA ID) – $5 off Upper Level (Reserved) or General Admission session.


  1. Go Aztecs! SDSU brings in a host of talented freshman and transfers. Very excited to see how they do in this tourney!

  2. WHEN The Home Team is playing admittedly a bit Above Their Heads (Far Above their Historic Road Record, which is What That Game Would Be for ANY One Else Versus UH)…ALL, irrespective of Name or Ranking: SDSU, Ole Miss, Arizona, Miami (similar to Kansas, Michigan State, Baylor, Butler, etc….) are Potential Fodder for The Home Team…

    PRIME TIME For A-Games, Warriors!

    FILL the Arena, Fans !

  3. Eagle: I like how Davis expressed it. Key: DEFENSE..if Miami, SDSU, Indiana st., any of the 8 , have their offense going..shoot 3 ball, transition baskets, inside game, O and D rebounding, cherish every possesion=take care of the ball…yes, a 4,5,6 , 7 stop in a row, defensively, could swing a game in your favor, catch up when behind or close out game.

    UH warriors have as good a chance as any team, even if the No.1 team in the land were here..and you are right, if UH has no fear, relax and just play hoops,..have fun and D up..they could win it..Heck , a lot MBB UH fans would take 2 wins out of a very good classic..if UH gets 3 and the trophy…man oh man, great, great momentum going into BWC play Dec 29 2012

    Hey, you guys, if you read these posts, maybe not..fans pulling for you, Aussie Mum, Tonganator, Ozi Mum, Memphis, all over the globe and in Hawaii, NO FEAR, play to win!!

    Go warriors!!

    And pretty soon, Aloha and welcome to Hawaii Aussie Mum, hope your plane trip was safe and smooth..though weather around islands, very windy and turbulent..Michael H. will be glad to see you! Just like Isaac with dad, and Ella and Jacob!!

  4. Christian:

    We all appreciate your 100% maximum effort every game. You are a true warrior and team player, as you say, all you want to do is help UH MBB team WIN..great attitude..keep up the great effort and work..all 12 of you guys, NO FEAR, give your all, you guys hopefully come out with 2 or even 3 wins!!(and possible trophy)..play really well against quality teams, get at least a win and get ready for BWC..You all can do it!!

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