Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Opening practices are a work in progress

The opening game for the University of Hawai’i basketball team is still six weeks away, so this first week of practices for the season remains a work in progress.


“I do feel good about some of the things we’re doing defensively, although it’s a long, long ways to go,” head coach Gib Arnold said. “I do like the defensive attitude, I do like the quickness, we’re getting our hands on a lot of balls, getting a lot of steals. On the other hand, that means the offense isn’t very precise.”

Arnold and his staff have been busy implementing the plays, and trying to get the newcomers to catch up with the returnees.

“Today we put out a drill and I called a play and Garrett Nevels had never run that play before,” Arnold said. “He was out there with four returnees and I looked out there and figured the team just knew it … I gotta realize that and sometimes you gotta really slow it down and do a lot of teaching.”

Nevels is a junior transfer from Mount San Antonio College (Calif.). To his credit, he appears to be learning fast, and is one of the few newcomers who is already earning repetitions with the returnees.

“It’s like a whole different system, but I catch on pretty quick,” he said.

The Warriors will continue practices throughout the month, with a Green & White intrasquad scrimmage set for October 19. The opening game of the season will be November 8 against Tennessee State.


  1. Based on his track record, maturity and dominant summer league play,
    several of us have been projecting Garrett Nevels as a starter, prime time and Impact Player for awhile…

    Suspect he, like Michael Thomas, are the types to learn fast and just keep getting better and better…
    and so too, because of their energy and efforts, does the team…

    Consistently Collecting WINS Along the Way…

  2. BTW, Shooting Still Lookin’ Good, Improved

    Hackman also looking like a Thorn for the Opposition….

    Movement much crisper, quicker…

    Great Work ‘Bows!

  3. I just wanted to say that us fans really appreciate all the hard work that these players are / have put in for this upcoming season. Dayton thank you for letting of see parts of it your tireless efforts have been greatly appreciated! THANK YOU ALL

  4. Awesome, we got the horses this year, year of the Warriors!

  5. Sheesh, only six weeks away before the first UH basketball game. Can’t wait a’ready. I think we can look forward to an exciting season. Things are lookin’ good.

  6. Only Day 2, however a tough , tough 4 hour workout. They are more athletic, better stamina, the guys have bought in to having competitive winning year. Battling on every play, drill. Have to love it!

    As Eagle, jjay, PaloloWarrior, GoBows, FUHA,n2joy, hawaiifan09, Aussie Mum, Tonganator, TribeV Ohana, Chicago pride, clyde, al, servante, ROB T, and many others chiming in: Now the hard part, the guys will have another several weeks till first Scrimmage, (which should be fun)then first week of Nov, first NCAA regular season game against Tenn. St., to start Rainbow Classic.

    I love those FINISH at the rim drills, big on big, Wing on Wing, and guards on guards, the coaches in the background screaming: “Finish!, Finish! score the basket despite intense man pressure” If all guards to Bigs, can finish one on one, driving, stop and pop, floater, flush, hook shot or layup despite getting hacked(in practice, no harm no foul)..during real games, UH will score a lot of and ones! That is why so important UH MBB team , from 1 through 15 or 16 active this year players, ALL have to hit 75% or better, will help you score more, increase leads, or catch up, and close out win games!

    Cannot Wait, and Mahalo so much Dayton, still the BEST WI on the Planet for all things UH MBB!

    Still say, with due respect to LB and her WBB team, as Gib and MBB team goes, winning and going to Big post season dances, so goes the Entire BB program. Hope it is a Two For, Laura and Gib and their teams go NCAA in March 2014. Is it possible, with hard work determination and playing as team, sticking together, not factions, UH MBB and WBB can do it. Ben Jay should schedule in beginning part of season some double headers with MBB team, would draw more crowds!


  7. Added correction to above post: I meant from 1 to 15 or 16 on active roster this year, has to MAKE at minimum 75% or better from FT line, in fact strive to lead the WAC and maybe the country in FT percentage, it will translate to bigger scored, extended leads, and in crunch time, close out games and WINS!


    You all notice, totally different mind and body set, of these 17 guys this year. Speed, quicks, hops, lithe, abs, and strength, guys can run, run, run!!

  8. Hey Eagle, and fellow fans, are my eyes okay, ? To me it looks like Mike Thomas, has gotten a little more muscle, and has actually grown perhaps an inch, from 6’6″ out of HS till now fall of 2013, he looks like a legitimate 6’7″ maybe 214 lb. athlete, who is STILL growing. His arms, the wingspan, has to be about 7’2″ at least, he and Airon Valdes, with that length and hops, when they go in as shock D troops to cause turnovers, at SSC and on the road, with the great guard and bigs play, UH can be exciting, .

    Correct Gib, hope all the older guys stay safe and healthy the whole team, AND that NEGUS is okay and healing from loss of his TWO AUNTIES. Wish Negus well brother!

    Well Fans, Mike Thomas, might end up being a legitimate 6’8″ 215 pound SF/hybrid 4 by December, the young guy is bright like AV, and those two, are a key ingredient to the Wing spot, along with Harper, Jawato, Hackman, and possibly Spearman swinging down to that spot, Spear, is a physical specimen!

    Go Rainbow Warriors

  9. Looking forward to the season.

    Garrett Nevel’s ability to finish with the left hand (under duress while in traffic) is impressive.

    This group of guards appear more talented than the past few years. I think Coach has finally recruited a backcourt that can complete with the rest of the league.

  10. This team is far quicker as a whole than last year’s squad (although Dressler vs Jovanovic was a little gangly on the full court dribble/defense drill).

    Get ready fans… it’s going to be a fun ride the next few years. The pieces appear to be in place for this team to really take off. Having Shamburger as an offensive threat at PG, it will force defenses to play honest vs the interior players. Last year, defenses didn’t even guard Tavita and opted to clog the paint and made things tough for Vander.

    Fotu appears to have gotten better. His potential is so high

  11. Tonganator: Ella reminds me of Shawna Lei-Kuehu of UH WBB team. Shawna all around guard/forward, constant motor and BB IQ, similar with Gabriella!

    Plus, Isaac and Ella, back home in New Zealand, you must be feeding them right, they look in great shape, and they are nice attractive looking young people. Thanks to you Tonganator, Rugby pro player, and your wife from England!

    Hope LB of WBB team takes look at Ella, and maybe Isaac as Jr. and Ella as true freshman can both take their teams with help of their OHANA BB, to NCAA’s and win a bunch!

    Thank you Tonganator, you have two very nice kids, real Champions! Would love for LB to have Ella for 4 years, great competitor, and she has skill!!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  12. looks like sham nevels and smith could run all day and will keep up with the guard oriented BW…as for Michael Thomas he doesn’t really have hops…he’s just long…..as nevels said anyone can be good in open gym and now is the time to prove yourself

  13. hawfn09: have you seen Mike Thomas’ progress physically and BBQ IQ wise since July ? He has really improved as Gib stated. Mike does not have to leap 40 in. With length and quick reactions he will really help on D!!
    AV was denied by MT at rim .. only will.help if both AV and MT provide help D pressure D and get rebonds , blocked shots and tipdunks.. hey hfan give the two yong guys time, another 6 weeks or so they are going tobe fub to wat hand help team win, right Eagle!! Half fuull or empty glass, I choose the latter ,MT wiil be good withAiron V!!
    Go Rainbow. Warriors! !

  14. Sorry they will be , MT and AV ,fun to watch rockin the rim at SSC!!
    Go Rainbow Warriors! !

  15. Pre-season conditioning fun is over; Time for serious business is on your hand.
    Survival of the fittest will make someone cry-out loud! Why didn’t I do that when I got the chance?

    “All positions are open!” coach Arnold said. Are you good enough to go for one?
    “You got to compete, otherwise you lose your job!” coach Beeman advices her Wahine.

    A very young man declared that “Where I came from, I got to earned everything I got!”;
    “Hawaii offers the best opportunity for me to improve myself!”.

    Fair and square as ever; Aloha shall perpetuates.

  16. Love how Gib is breaking up the practice week, today, the guys have a day off, can ice down, relax, rehab, think about the Defense and Offensive sets, and what coach and staff want from them. Still long way to go, some 6 weeks before first game, so guys will only get better, learn Gib’s system, and compete. Team, really could be 3 deep at every position, and Gib is trying to avoid, last 3 years, where, guys were running out of gas, getting sick or injured, or ego problem or academic, This group seems different, just from first 2 days of practice, the intensity, atleticism, and competiveness, probably the best at UH Practices, in some 20 years.

    Look for UH MBB to have a really strong deep team this year. And hoopsa is right hfan09, give Mike and Airon time, they are going to be great athletes in Gib’s uptempo system, just have to learn the half court D and O sets, be in sync with the lobs, and outlet passes, and hands be ready for quick passes from the PG’s. Have you seen the hands on Fotu, Jawato, Mike T. and Airon V., huge hands, most of team, has soft big good BB hands.

    Work hard guys, and don’t give up, I anticipate, maybe 14 or 15 or 16 active roster, with a lot of rotation, if that is what Gib wants, I think that is the best way to go, instead of 12 or 13 man active roster! Just my opinion!


  17. I have seen progress since but he’s an average leaper….we’ll see if valdes and Thomas even sniff the court to be fun to watch

  18. hawaiifan09, Respect your viewpoint, however at this point we as fans have to be supportive and positive, I don’t know if you are a student, or a former BB athlete. Gib doing the right thing, guys have six weeks, total of 30 practices, to get in, show what they can do, before start of season.

    Gib himself, says a lot of the young guys, i.e. freshmen, have made a lot of progress in short time. Actually the 4 months or so they have been here, from early July till October, has helped the guys in weight room, building their bodies, BBIQ and now learning Gib’s system. You know Gib, after 4 years, if you play terrific D, individual and team, plus, run his O sets, without turning the ball over and take good shots, you will play, whether walkon, scholie, senior or freshmen. When he says, all 5 positions are up for grabs, makes for great competition. There is no lock that Shamburger, Nevels, Spearman, Fotu and Standhardinger will be opening day starting 5. Whomever Gib decides, deserves it., along with the first 5 to 6 guys off the bench. Very fair. It pushes the seniors , plus RS active, and freshmen to compete. Makes team better.

    hawaiifan09, we should not single out Aaron V. , or Mike Thomas as saying they won’t sniff the court, …maybe you are using reverse psychology, if they hear about your posts, they will go extra hard to prove you wrong. We should be, as Negus says, lovers of UH MBB and team, not haters.

    We shall see, Aaron and Michael Thomas, are the ones that Gib singled out as bringing the wing/SF athleticism to UH MBB this year. They will. Especially on defense!

    hawaiifan09, hope you are a fan of these young guys, going to school, and working hard on the court. I like this team, all 17 guys.

    Aloha. And give all 16 active , so far, guys a chance, don’t bury them, as not good players when they only had 2 practices under their belts.

    FUHA, servante, Eagle, n2joy, Tonganator, TribeV, Aussie Mum, jjay, gobows, feel free to chime in, if you feel we should give Mike Thomas and Aaron Valdes a chance to show what they bring to UH MBB, before, saying they might not sniff the court(which is pretty deragatory statement in my opinion)

    . I support the coach and all the young athletes, they are busting their butts off, and all will be successful, give them some ALOHA!


  19. Interesting reading. Regarding Aaron and Mike it may be a case of conservative optimism. Both are young with potential and what remains is, “what can they do on the court?” Have they prepared themselves during the off season? There are many stories posted about athletes playing D1 that “suddenly” woke up one day and got into shape to play; potential vs actual. Imagine that the hope is that both players have woke up and are doing the work to achieve their best. I am hoping both players have a break out year especially Aaron since he’s used his red shirt year.

    From the brief snap shot videos, the team looks vastly improved in four positions, talent wise, not so sure about the centers yet.

    There are lots of excitement and anticipation for this season. Personally, I am rooting for Harper and Hackman to be the X-factors during the season, the “howling hooligans” to inject energy and spice into games, fully expect to see Hackman make 9 three’s in a row in a game.

    Also, predicting that Nevels will provide a season highlight of a follow up dunk off a rebound.

    Should be an interesting and upbeat season.

  20. Hawaii09 i have to agree with uhfanonly1, while I like a lot of the posts that you have this one wasn’t that good. Thomas could have gone to Utah st or Boise st… Valdez is paying his own way … Regardless these guys are busting their buts out there and deserve a little more respect. They are both better than T Wiseman and he saw a lot of playing time.

  21. As was pointed out by several, these young men really are working hard (and good students); i count my own blessings that even one (and actually more) Value the Experience and Opportunity @UH enough to pay their own way [Mahalo guys AND Families…]

    For as hard as they work and as smart as they are to be here, Nothing ‘we’ say or write is gonna stop or slow them down — they ARE even smart enough that IF it ever bothered them, they’d turn it into More Motivation…

    i ‘hope’ Both Aaron Valdes and Michael Thomas have solid seasons this year, and Excellent Careers that solidify the three spot… while i expect Garett Nevels to be a Key Third Guard or Wing in the BWest, several teams in and out of Conference Will have solid threes, and probably more size, shooting forwards/wings that need to be guarded, ‘controlled’, maybe neutralized, and i’d like UH to have the advantage of numbers, good size and athleticism at the position …i expect Aaron and Michael to eventually (sooner, better) give us a chance to Win or Tie at the three, most nights… not sure how well we’ll score there, but skills are already good (as Rob pointed out, better than TW who we like a lot) and improving fast. AV winning MOP in Summer League is Huge for his growth & Confidence and highly re-affirming that more is possible than many, even Aaron, might think; better raise his own goals & expectations? What ceiling
    (although ? MT has already SHOWN a lot to coaches/recruiters/scouts to ‘Earn’ the three-star rating — Highest for ANY UHBB Player? so More than “Potential” is there — he’s ‘displayed’ the ability to turn ‘potential’ into performance with smarts and hard work… when someone as BBSmart and word-wise as Gib “Tags” MT as “the type of player that you can ‘see’ learns fast and just keeps improving” (which is what competing recruiters and scouting services also likely saw) we’re ‘potentially’ looking at an All-Freshmen Teamer (like Fotu), four-year starter or anchor and long, long, ‘feels like that kids been here forever’ problem for opposing coaches.

    i’m betting they’ll both be fine…

    One other thing i like… that’s only looking at Two (of 17) players and that’s also looking at potentially the ‘weakest’, most questionable (at this point) of the five positions, the Only One without a proven 10 ppg starter…but we should do well entrusting the three-spot to AV, MT and Nevels….

    They’re already ‘good’ and are workin’ it for six more weeks? Bet they’d look pretty decent ‘today’…

    Excited? Who? Us?

    BTW Gib on BC Morning shiow right now…

  22. As some PHD & 1/2PHD were lecturing “Wait until 3-4 regular outings are in”;
    “Those who do & those who don’t will most likely presented themselves”!

    For Gib is always a demanding headman, heavily stressing D, not just O, play execution-wise. He assigned tasks to those who finishes strictly (he’s known for yanking starter out abruptly).

    Player’s self-discipline, mental maturity earns PT unfailingly!

    Lot of faiths on this INCOMPARABLE TEAM!

  23. Nice objective posts by Eagle , ROB T, even tako and waxing poetic “n2joy” , hawaiianfan09, I guess you are the ying, yang , point , counter point, not every thing rosy, potential, however wait and see. Every forum has them. That is your viewpoint.

    I think Gib is smiling, as well as staff, that he has Athletes this year at PG, SG, SF/Wing, and some good BBIQ guys at Center, and of course, the awesome twosome of Fotu and Standhardinger. Gib does not want to, give any of the guys the reins yet. Until, start of season. Fair enough!

    Michael T. , Aaron V. Michael Harper, Jack Hackman, Stefan Jovanovich, Dyrbe Enos, Nikola Filipovich, as Eagle says,” they probably don’t read these posts, or listen to the negative HATER stuff”, too, busy going to class, working out, trying to get Gib’s O and D system down, one thing, this team with the extra 2 weeks of practice before Rainbow Classic, will be ready, I hope 10-12 guys ready to play at any moment with no drop off. UH MBB team we got your backs, and hawaiifan09. , just be supportive, Mike Thomas and Aaron Valdes will help UH win a lot of games with their talent on O or D!

    Go Rainbow Warriors! Good points from Eagle , and ROB T. and the rest!


  24. hawaiifan09, were you not the one who said: “alright MIKE” when you saw his explosion 9several open gym dunks)to basket in open gym video,? or maybe another fan, oh well.,.,. That is what9maybe you) you and all of the WI fans, and Gib were waiting for. The young guy, is literally getting bigger and taller each day.

    His confidence, if he can use his off time to study Gib’s play book, plus work on shot, handles, D, foot work, weight room, he could be , with Airon V. , key athletes when as Eagle says, Hawaii has to go up against NMSU, Mizzou on the road, LBSU two times this year, and payback against Cal Poly, as well as RBC and DHC that has teams that went to NCAA’s.

    So the 3 guard and to PF’s, starting lineup good for BWC, however, to go traditional, PG, SG, SF, PF and Center, possibility. Still long ways to go, however I appreciate how Eagle puts it. better now, or rather, the guys in a week or two or three, if these guys, which I believe they do, preferred walkons (5 which is unheard of for UH MBB history!)and scholies have great BBIQ and new guys pick up O sets and D quickly, a possible BYU-Hawaii exhibition, maybe they say, Hawaii will be able to experiment, should be fun.

    hawaiifan09, you like reports on the recruiting, our comments, the fans, and how positive or objective they are, has big, influence on some parents and recruits that read our posts. WI and Dayton, give us a forum to have input on status of MBB and how much we appreciate, or ways UH could improve. As my old friend always says: hey UHF, don’t start going NEGATIVE on me now, keep the Positive Vibe going. Join the fan club hawaiifan09.

    Stay as positive as you can. I know truthfully, Gib and his team has to win 20 plus, and NIT or NCAA invite, that would be a fantastic season, and encourage more 3 or 4 star recruits to come, howver, I like these Super Seventeen, hard workers, lovers, not haters of Hawaii, its fans, potential recruits visiting(who might read your or my posts)

    Aloha hawaiifan09…keep smiling and support UH MBB
    Uhfanzonly1 .

  25. Truthfully, I would say 99% or 99 out of a hundred posts, either objective, or very encouraging , no kool aid,if springtime in disarray, I will be first one to call out staff, what the heck, however, I can see MBB program on even keel!.. even Artie,W. on his radio show stated he, notices the improvement in athleticism with guys brought, in, and if Artie, who is Kamaaina now, after 40 years say they look like quicker, better athletic Ballers, I agree with him, he was a running backcourt mate, with Tom Henderson!!.

    With suggestions,honest ones, on how Gib, and staff, University, recruiting and athletes can improve, also for AD Ben Jay.

    However, I learned a long time ago, since I am old timer now, look for the GOOD in everyone, and everyone, hopefully will look for the GOOD in you! Same goes for the BB student athletes, just watching the 2nd practice, and Beach workout videos, as well as summer time Open gym, the guys are sweating bullets, however, look at about most of the team, if not majority, the abs, that core strength, I have never seen a UH MBB team, physically look in that great shape, they might not be 6’9″ 265 pound monsters, however, they are smart, agile and basketball strong!

    I like the Super Seventeen!



  26. Sure we can say this or that about MBB athletes, hopefully more encouragement and hope, then negative nancies. However, truth reality check, all of us have lost friends family that were very close to us. Negus Webster-Chan story, very heart touching and real, He just lost TWO aunties in a short time, so, if we as WI OHANA can take the high road, instead of always talking bout the hoops, we can express our heart felt genuine sympathy for the loss of your family members. Any death to close ones, it always brings tear to my eye, whether my family or not.

    Heal Negus, and welcome back home to UH MBB Ohana, work hard when you are ready to come back to practice, and help team get ready for regular season, the sit out RS season can be tough, however, by your helping guys like, Aaron Valdes and Michael Thomas try to guard your super quick spin moves, and 30 foot 3 point jumpers, it will only make them better this year!

    Sorry for your loss Negus, all on this Forum and those other blogs, should give condolences to Negus Webster-Chan Ohana! Great loss!

    Welcome back Negus we missed you!!


  27. of course I want the best for every athlete but im being realistic….we have a bunch of 2-faced fans here as well

  28. i DO Have many faces — i try to keep ʻem mostly for good and for the good of most…

    Realistic for smart athletes working this hard would be to start by eliminating Any Illusion of Limits

    Most Limits are self-created, self-fulfilling prophecies
    and inherently Less Productive than most, any and nearly all unlimited approaches….

    WHY would Gib invest Four to Five Years of His Time IF HE didnʻt think AV & MT Could Produce?
    He Had Many Other Options…

  29. Eagle, hope not, want to give him benefit of doubt, his statements, blurbs so concise, sometimes, elated, positive, other times seriously damaging and devestating. Hurts this WI forum, which is family, fan friendly, and is helping to recruit good families and their sons to UH BB. I don’t think so, hope, hfan is not trolling. Maybe trolling for Ulua would be okay, however not to knock down two really nice kids, Aaron Valdes and Michael Thomas. Don’t understand the logic. Watch what comes out of his lips, or key taps, when hfan next blogs, I hope it is uplifting for the team, the families the fans, Hawaii and UH Manoa.

    Keep it Positive hawaiifan09, otherwise, we will be like the other two forums!

    Go Rainbow Warriors, and kudos, to the really great families of Michael Harper, Dyrbe Enos, Aaron Valdes, Nikola Filipovich, and Jack Hackman, a huge investment, and WI fans and forum say a million thanks to you all for helping UH MBB get better!


  30. We All enjoy recruiting news —

    Report of Recruit Visit This Week (for 2014) is former UCRiverside 6-6 forward Josh Fox currently at CCSF…
    SO he would have two years eligibility and bring D-1 Big West game experience…

  31. don’t say why would gib invest 4-5 years….what about the players that left?


    I think that’s the other half of the “…better than TW” story…cashing in (some of) those scholarships, allowed for a Three-Star Michael Thomas to replace and upgrade the small forward position…presumably AV & MT need to have ‘acceptable Progression Curves’ to Earn or Maintain a scholarship over four or five years…

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