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Warriors work at recovering this week

The Hawai’i basketball team took its first step towards recovery on Wednesday afternoon. It involved an afternoon practice in the Stan Sheriff Center, with junior guard Brandon Spearman on the sidelines with his injured ankle.

“Now we have to adjust and it’s our job as coaches to adjust the game plan and it’s the players’ job to adjust to the new roles that they may have, and go from there,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “It’s part of the process.”

The Warriors will have two more days to make the necessary adjustments before they host Northern Arizona in a non-conference game on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Hawai’i is 15-11 overall and tied for third place in the Big West Conference at 9-6, following two road losses last week. Northern Arizona is 10-16 overall and tied for fifth in the Big Sky Conference at 7-9.

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It will be the first game this season that the Warrriors will be without Spearman, who is tied for third on the team in scoring at 9.7 points per game.

“It was definitely different,” senior point guard Jace Tavita said of Wednesday’s practice. “We didn’t have his energy out there with us. He was out there supporting us, though, on the side, doing his treatment.”

Arnold said the Warriors will likely have to use a variety of players to replace Spearman’s all-around skills.

“The guys that are going to play have played – we played those guys early,” Arnold said. “It’s not going to be a totally new role for anybody, it’s just going to be more minutes.”

Freshman Brandon Jawato, who leads the team in 3-pointers with 39, is one of the prime candidates to earn more of those minutes.

“I’m just going to bring what ever I can to the table in order to help this team win,” Jawato said. “Be a team player. Help out on the defensive side a lot, much more than I have in the past. I know the offensive side will come.”

The Warriors also have the option of going big by starting the trio of 6-10 Vander Joaquim, 6-8 Christian Standhardinger and 6-8 Isaac Fotu together. They started 12 games together earlier this season (the team went 6-6 in those games), but Fotu has played the role of sixth man in the past seven games.

Northern Arizona’s roster is similar to other Big West teams, and the Lumberjacks normally start three guards (6-2 Gabe Rogers, 6-foot Michael Dunn and 6-foot Stallon Saldivar) alongside two forwards (6-6 Gaellan Bewernick and 6-8 Max Jacobsen).

“We just have to keep working at it,” Tavita said. “Keep working at different aspects of our game … getting everyone’s groove right in practice, getting our confidence up in practice by working hard.”

— — — — —

While Hawai’i has a break from Big West Conference games this week, eight of the other teams were in action on Wednesday. There were some interesting developments:

• Long Beach State defeated UC Davis to improve to 13-2 atop the conference. It eliminates the remote possibility that Hawai’i had of tying for the regular-season title.

• Pacific lost at UC Irvine to drop closer to the middle of the pack. The Tigers are still in second place at 9-5, but are now only a half-game ahead of Hawai’i and UC Irvine (both 9-6).

• Cal Poly lost at Cal State Fullerton to drop to 8-6. The Mustangs were in third place before the game, but are now in fifth – a half-game behind Hawai’i and UC Irvine. UC Davis (7-7) and Cal State Fullerton (6-8) are not far back.

14 Comments

  1. Guys, MBB team, love your team attitude. Pick up the slack for Spearman, give the same energy and effort. Get the offense and defense going. Rebound like the leader in BWC that you are. Keep turnovers down.
    And DO NOT LET N.Arizona be a trap game for you. You have to give total effort, winning effort, no letdown, to get a W for overall record and possible secondary Post Season tourneys, if you do not win BWC tourney and auto NCAA bid. Go for it guys!

    And Brandon Spearman, keep on rehabbing, and get well, will see you when you are really healthy, who knows, a young man such as yourself might be a quick healer, and be ready for 2nd round of NCAA playoffs. You never know.

    Back to reality, Brandon, keep on getting healthy, do well in school and help to coach, and cheer on your team from sidelines, you are a warrior, or (Rainbow Warrior- old school!)

    Go UH, get this important W against N. Arizona, to get to 16-11 , very important!!

  2. I hope the team doesn’t take Northern Arizona lightly. They’re not very good, but they still defeated a couple of UH opponents — UC Davis and North Dakota.

    Interesting note:
    Blake Hamilton got 33 minutes in their last overtime win @ North Dakota.

    Big West notes:
    – The Cal Poly @ Fullerton game was a shocker last night. Fullerton dominated the game without Sammy Yeager (15ppg). Cal Poly, surprisingly, had trouble with turnovers. This game had huge ramifications for UH’s seeding.
    – In the UC Davis @ Long Beach game, UC Davis was up by nine points at the half, but couldn’t hang on. Keala King had his best game yet, while Hawkins continues to light up the scoreboard.
    – The UoP @ Irvine game was close for the most part. However, Pacific was without their starting center. Irvine pulled away late.

  3. As Dayton pointed out, NAU is very much like a typical Big West team and that should be of concern. I can see another tightly contested game going down to the final few minutes.

    One player Dayton didn’t mention is freshman guard DeWayne Russell, who started in place of an injured Saldivar in NAU’s last game and scored a team-high 21 points. Interestingly, Russell — who led the state of Arizona in scoring as a senior — apparently was recruited by Hawaii, along with Blake Hamilton and Cameron Forte (who also led the state of Arizona in scoring as a senior, went to Texas Tech, then transferred to NAU; think he’s redshirting). If memory serves me, I believe Spearman, Hamilton and Forte were on the same recruiting trip to Hawaii last year.

    NAU also landed Ako Kaluna, who also was recruited by UH, for 2014. Being familiar with NAU’s recruiting targets, I’m sure Gib is aware of its capabilities and won’t allow his team to go in overconfident. Having come off an 0-2 road trip and hoping to finish strong down the stretch, this is no time for a trap game.

  4. Looks like the best they can do is 19 – 11 (12-6); which is short of expectations! Start thinking about CIT or another lower level post season tourney! Mahalo.

  5. Dallan:

    My preseason final regular season record for UH MBB team that I put in a box? Either 18-12(11-7 BWC) or 19-11(12-6), if either record stands, Gib and team have nothing to be ashamed of. And for those, whom I thought were a little too optimistic, considering type of athletes , especially perimeter , that UH had this year, a 20+ winning regular season was a little too ambitious. Hey Dallan, if UH goes into BWC seeded 2-4, and can get one or two wins, they are on pace to finish BWC tourney with 20+ wins, and a post season tourney. Of course, it has happened in the past , with the Trevor Ruffin, Jarrin Akana, John Molle, Toney Maroney, Kalia McGee, Phil Handy ,

    Coach Wallace team, that had a horrible start, team very inconsistent, roller coaster ride, a lot of fans jumping off the band wagon, criticizing players and coach Wallace,.What happens, UH goes into WAC tourney in Salt Lake City, at I believe 14-13, they get hot, win 2 in a row end up in championship showdown with Big Blue BYU and coach Reid and his boys , the Reid brothers, UH, losing by double digits with about 10 minutes(?) left in the game, Jarrin gets hot from 3, then Trevor, then John Molle, Phil Handy, BOOM, UH MBB upsets BYU in the Beehive state, ends up 17-13 and a date with Syracuse in first round of NCAA’s , so MAHALO DALLAN, I think your prediction will come true. UH finishes with regular season of 19 wins, and then goes to the dance, or at least one of the post season tourneys.

    Guys, UH MBB , keep improving, get tough, physically and mentally, I am sure, the success of Beeman’s Wahine is in the back of your minds, so you all have to represent the Kane (Men’s)side. Go get em UH BB team!!

  6. Dallan: from coach Gib and staff and UH MBB players 1 through 12, they say , thank you, MAHALO, for your support! They will try to win BWC tourney for you!

  7. If the Warriors finish strong, they have a legitimate shot at winning the Big West tourney. Just gotta finish 2nd place and beat Long Beach St. again! Let’s GO BOWS!!

  8. Jawato is correct, he has to be as physical , as strong, as active on DEFENSIVE side to compensate for Brandon Spearman. Jawato can shoot the three, streaky shooter, has to take it to rim too, sometimes, however, if he can play some fantastic defense, will help starting five and first 3 off the bench tremendously. Same goes for Hauns, Jefferson, Clair(Roop you just have to use your quickness, and will power, even though slight build, in MBB

    , there are some very, very tough slim defenders, think, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo), just have to be STRONG on Defense and Offense, NO FEAR, if other team knocks you around, and you protect your D area and man, or on offense, you protect ball with skill and body position, you will draw fouls on other team. Also, very important, Christian, Isaac, Roop, Jawato, Davis, Jefferson, you guys have to start hitting about 7 out of 10 or better from FT line, or at least 70% or better.

    Even, Jace T., might come a game, in the beginning half, where other teams, just to mess with Jace, will start fouling him in first half, and force him to go to line. So Jace, concentrate, relax and nothing but net. Jace if you can hit 6 out of 10 in several games or 60% or better clip, would be awesome, continue your very good 3 ball shooting,! One of the best on the team,..Keep other teams honest, nice to see , you have range to 25 feet plus, good Job Jace, you are one player these past 3 weeks who have gotten better, steady!

  9. Jace , forget the 25 footers ,just drive that ball inside and lay it up off the glass or dump it off to the big guy otherwise go to the basket and draw the foul at the same making the shot. Refuse to Lose Warriors , this is your HOUSE , Protect the House .

  10. N. Arizona is no pushover. Hawaii needs to play with lots of energy and they need to play with heart.

  11. Wahine win, Pacific loses. UH has sole possession of first.

  12. Darn. Jumped the gun. Pacific loss was from its previous game. No results yet.

  13. Oh, well. Pacific did win, so still a tie for first.

  14. jjay -Agree, Jace ‘should be able’ to drive and pop 5-10 footers OR Dish — it’s not necessarily about speed and athleticism (those 6-5 freshmen will be able to Finish @ The Rim Next Season – but just as significant, drawing the defense, illiciting a reaction that opens a path for our smart, consistent front-line; And IF the defense refuses or is slow to react, burn them with those 5 -10 foot ‘lay-ups’ (like other teams are doing to us)… [IF Not Now, we can expect to see it next season…Sweet…]

    AND HIT 2-3+ Threes per Game the Rest of the Way like B.Spear would have…. (Jace is second to Jawato in three efficiency in Conference play….435 vs .333 for Spearman; even respectable .391 whole season).

    clyde — you may be having a premonition, seeing the future; Play a Better (Normal) Game and get past Cal Poly [THAT would be a great name for a Private Pacific Islander University in NorCal sim to BYUH] … that would be beating ALL of the Top Four — Then WIN All the Rest @ Home — IF Pacific CAN Handle That Kind of Heat from Na Wahine they deserve the honour of tying for First as they Exit the Conference…

    Go ‘Bows!
    Figure Out the Winning Team Formulas for the Rest of Season
    Win Warriors!

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