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Spearman likely to miss rest of season

Starting guard Brandon Spearman is not expected to play the rest of this season for the Hawai’i basketball team, head coach Gib Arnold said on Monday.

Spearman, a 6-foot-3 junior who is currently tied for third on the team in scoring at 9.7 points per game, was diagnosed with a severely sprained left ankle on Monday. The injury occurred in the closing seconds of the first half of the Warriors’ road game at Pacific on Saturday.

Spearman was able to travel to Honolulu with the team on Sunday. MRI tests revealed that the ligament damage in the ankle is significant enough to keep him sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular-season.

Spearman1UCR

There are three weeks remaining in the regular season, followed by another week at the Big West Conference Tournament. Even if the Warriors were to extend into a postseason tournament, Spearman’s return would be questionable due to the recovery and rehabilitation process for such an injury.

In addition to his 9.7 points, Spearman is averaging 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He also ranks second on the team with 29 steals and third with 28 3-pointers. He is also considered the team’s best perimeter defender.

When Spearman got injured in the Pacific game, the Warriors had a 36-32 lead. The Tigers then went on a 16-2 surge to take control of the game.

Arnold now has a variety of options for replacing Spearman’s spot. After Spearman’s injury, freshman Ozren Pavlovic was sent in as his replacement. But freshman Isaac Fotu started the second half, alongside fellow bigs Vander Joaquim and Christian Standhardinger (with Hauns Brereton moving from small forward to Spearman’s shooting guard spot).

Junior Garrett Jefferson and freshmen Brandon Jawato and Manroop Clair are other options.

The Warriors have this week to test the various lineups in practice, as their next game will be on Saturday, when they host Northern Arizona in a non-conference game.

In any case, the Warriors have already clinched a spot in the Big West Conference Tournament. Where the Warriors finish in the final standings is the only question.

The top eight teams from the final regular-season standings are assured of participating in the tournament, and the Warriors can finish no lower than seventh.

Hawai’i is 15-11 overall and currently in fourth place in the Big West at 9-6. The Warriors have three conference games remaining – home contests against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, followed by a road finale at Cal State Northridge.

The conference tournament is set for March 14-16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

If the Warriors win all three of their remaining conference games, they still have a mathematical shot at the No. 1 seed – although it would be an astronomical shot at this point.

Long Beach State is currently in first place at 12-2, and it would take a complete collapse for the 49ers not to clinch the No. 1 seed for the tournament.

Pacific, which beat the Warriors, 80-71, on Saturday, is in second at 9-4. The Tigers have five Big West games remaining, and would need to lose at least two of those games for Hawai’i to have a shot at second place. That is not impossible, as the Tigers still have to play at UC Irvine and at Cal State Fullerton, and have a home game remaining against Long Beach State.

Hawai’i is one of five teams that are likely battling for the 2 through 6 seeds, along with Pacific, Cal Poly, UC Irvine and UC Davis. Here are the current standings for the top nine teams, along with each team’s remaining Big West games:

Long Beach State 12-2
Remaining games: UC Davis, at UC Irvine, at UC Davis, at Pacific

Pacific 9-4
Remaining games: at UC Irvine, at Cal State Fullerton, at UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Long Beach State

Cal Poly 8-5
Remaining games: at Cal State Fullerton, at Cal State Northridge, at Hawai’i, UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton

Hawai’i 9-6
Remaining games: UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, at Cal State Northridge

UC Irvine 8-6
Remaining games: Pacific, Long Beach State, at Pacific, at UC Davis

UC Davis 7-6
Remaining games: at Long Beach State, at UC Riverside, at Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine

Cal State Fullerton 5-8
Remaining games: Cal Poly, Pacific, UC Davis, at UC Santa Barbara, at Cal Poly

UC Santa Barbara 4-9
Remaining games: at UC Riverside, at Hawai’i, at Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside

Cal State Northridge 4-11
Remaining games: Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Hawai’i

11 Comments

  1. Brandon Spearman, you are a true warrior, a team player, good student, teammate and friend to UH MBB . Coaches I am sure appreciate you very much!. We fans, our hearts go out to you. We know how all 1 through 12 want to win so badly for coach, team , UH and the fans. We extend well wishes and speedy recovery. Hopefully you will come back to full strength as soon as possible, not too early, you might reinjure. It would be miraculous if you had recovered like Vander from MCL, however, listen to doctors, trainer and therapists, I know, if someway you could make it back on to the court to help team win, you would. Your presence on the bench and vocal support, and shouting out coaching instructions to the guys on the court will help.

    Best wishes to family and friends in Chicago, we are pretty sure they are devastated by news. Take care, and keep going to classes, rehab, and hope to see you in Warrior MBB uniform when you are healthy. Hey, you might be a fast healer? You never know, by second round of a Post Season tournament. Anyway, we fans, miss your hustle, defense, fearlessness and BBIQ helping team to run O and D and win. You have been a great recruit picked up by Gib last spring, when team had chance to decide which of 3 guys, coming in for visit they wanted(the returnees, running open gym with you) they said: we want Spearman! And they were right. Classy guy and warrior to the end.

    Take care, and hope your rehab goes well. Keep the school work to notch in the mean time, very important!!
    Aloha, and we will all be pulling for you “B” Spearman, out of Simeon High, Chicago , Illinois!!

  2. What an unfortunate ending to the season for such a nice kid. Time to focus on healing and rehabbing, hitting the books and prepping for a solid senior season. Don’t get discouraged, and continue to support your teammates.

    While Spearman’s athleticism and versatility on offense will be missed, Dayton said it best on what the team will miss the most: “He is also considered the team’s best perimeter defender.”

    Gib has a number of options on how to fill the huge void. It’ll be interesting to see who steps up.

  3. Get well Brandon. We’ll need you for a huge run next year if you can’t make it back for this year.

    Thanks for the remaining conference breakdown Dayton. I still think that Hawaii has the most favorable remaining schedule (between Pacific, Irvine, Cal Poly, and Davis).

  4. DK, it seems if UH can peak NOW, go out and sweep these last 4 games, would be huge momentum going into tournament, and every win these last few, including the Bracket Buster game is huge. for Gib and his program and team morale. I think guys can do it. Guys who have been reserve, since upperclassmen took PT, now is your chance to step up big time!

  5. playhoopsa, it would be great to finish strong and gather momentum going into March.

    Note: Hawaii (along with Northridge) has two extra days to prep for the Big West tourney due to a bye on the Saturday leading into the opening round on the following Thursday. That gives the team seven days of prep work and rest. I’m hoping for a good showing in the tourney.

  6. Brandon S., a BIG MAHALO for your terrific hustle on both ends of the floor this season! All of the UH MBB Ohana really hope that you can make it back for the postseason. We know that you will be rehabbing to the max (just like your efforts on the court). I’m sure that the coaches and doctors will make the right decision for your long-term benefit. The rest of the team will just have to step up their games for their brother WARRIOR!

  7. Itai, that hurts in more than one way. Big loss to one of the few athletic players on the team. But where there is a loss there can also be opportunity. Looking to see someone step up and elevate his game. As for Brandon, don’t know if he is completely finished this season as young guys tend to heal fast. I did not hear anything about tears or fractures so I’m assuming he won’t need a cast. If they put him in a cast then he is done for the season as the cast will delay his rehab time. Take care and heal fast Brandon.

  8. Probably best to shut Spearman down and evaluate if he needs surgery. The tough thing with sprained ankles is that once the ligaments are sprained, they stay a little stretched out after healing. Might be best if Spearman gets surgery and fully repair the ankle and shoot for a full recovery by next fall camp. Surgery would be approx 4-6 month recovery& rehab, but once healed, the ankle will be more solid structurally vs just letting it heal on its own + rehab.

    In any case wish for a speedy recovery.

    UH is now withouts it’s best perimeter defender/athlete and UH is now severely handicapped in the speed/quickness department.

    It will be tough sledding the rest of the year, but the good news is that Northern Arizona is the only game this week and it’s basically a glorified scrimmage. The result will have no bearing on any post season consideration and Gib will get a chance to figure out how to set the roster without Spearman.

    We may see more 3-2 zone with Rozits on top to deter 3 pt shooting, or more man-man with Jefferson playing D on the opponents best player.

    UH will get destroyed if they try an play 2-3 zone because they don’t have the quickness to close out on multiple 3pt shooters when opponents park their shooters on the perimeter.

  9. Come on Garrett ,Step it Up ! Refuse to Lose Warriors

  10. Oh, man. This is a tough loss. Brandon, we’ll miss your energy. Someone has to step in and step up……real fast.

  11. Can’t take Northern Arizona lightly. They beat UC Davis, who handled UH easily twice. Bad to look ahead. One game at a time please. This is a team still looking for an identity, still searching. Too many young players, but young players have to grow fast.

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