Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Meet some parents; update from Dressler


The holiday season in Hawai’i is often about basketball tournaments and family. The University of Hawai’i basketball team will combine the two when it participates in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and celebrates Christmas.

The Warriors will face Boise State at 8 p.m. on Sunday – the opening day of the eight-team tournament – at the Stan Sheriff Center. The tournament will continue on Monday and Christmas Day.

Several Warriors have family members already on the island, including Isaac Fotu, Brandon Spearman and Aaron Valdes. Head coach Gib Arnold said the team – including the parents who are visiting – will celebrate with a get-together on December 24.

Spearman joined the program in 2012, but this will mark the first time that his parents will watch him play in the Sheriff Center. “It’s awesome,” said Belinda Spearman, Brandon’s mother. “It’s beautiful. I feel close to nature, it’s beautiful.”

The Spearmans said there was six inches of snow on the ground in their home city of Chicago when they departed earlier this week.

Redshirt freshman Aaron Valdes has numerous members of his immediate family in Honolulu this week – both parents, three brothers and a grandmother.

“It means a lot – I haven’t seen my brother since July,” Aaron said. “It’s really nice seeing him out here, and my grandma, too. I’m just happy they’re here.”

Aaron’s parents have visited Aaron in Honolulu prior to this trip, so they have already established a couple of favorite food stops. “Kiss My Grits – love, love, love,” Julia Valdes said. “And newfound fans of Leonard’s – we love the malasadas.”

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And here is an update from redshirt freshman Caleb Dressler, who underwent season-ending back surgery last month:

Game 10 Tipoff Notes
2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
Who: Hawai’i (7-2, 0-0 Big West) vs. Boise State (8-2, 2-0 Mountain West)
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu
Television: ESPNU
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM. 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 sessions. All-session ticket packages for $90 (lower) and $70 (upper).
Promotions: One free admission to the daytime sessions on Dec. 22 or 23, and buy one (1) ticket and receive one (1) ticket free to one (1) single reserved seating evening session of your choice (upper level) for each non-perishable food item donated to the Hawaii FoodBank. 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. Greetings to all the wonderful parents of the great 17 young men who make up the UH MBB team! Your sons work hard in the classroom, and on the court. Great young student athletes, great HIGH CHARACTER guys. Thankyou from our family to yours for sharing your sons with Hawaii and its rising baskeball program!

    Mahalo and Aloha!
    And get well Caleb Dressler, great young guy, student and athlete!

  2. Mele Kalikimaka e Hauoli Makahiki Hou to the Spearmans, Valdeses, Fotus, Enoses, Arnolds et.al….

    Morinagas, Schmidts, WI.com Families (Christmas WILL be here So Fast esp. with a short Thanksgiving–Xmas Period)

    Hereʻs Hoping ʻSanta Basketballʻ delivers a few or Numerous Hawaiʻi WINS to Brighten Everybodiesʻ Holiday Season!


    Kudos & Blessings/Prayers to Caleb and Family for a ʻSpeedyʻ, Successful & Healthy Recovery & Rehab and Return to a Full Life and Basketball Health … Caleb, it Sounds like youʻve got your hard work and rehab Nicely Synced Up to that Huge Hawaiʻi Basketball Wave on the Horizon!

  3. High Hopes for Caleb to make a recovery from spinal surgery, very delicate surgery, and long time to heal, may not ever be what is was but we hope for the best, main thing you’re able to walk without the burning, tingling or numbness. Just take care of your academics and easy on the back Caleb. Merry Xmas .

  4. Tough, literal break, for Caleb, the ruptured herniated, back discs. He said, the worse type of back injury one can suffer. A lot of us, who played sports, or even through life, had knee, ankle, feet, shoulder injuries, the Back, can be major problems in later life. Caleb, one of our families, from day one, favorite UH player. As a Big, going against Vander, as a RS freshman everyday in practice, the young big, would never back down, use his big body against him. I really appreciated, Caleb’s skillset, in first summer league, then, before the back injury, his improved, and slimmed down, Big Boy play in this year’s summer league.

    jjay, and Eagle, both correct, Caleb has good head on shoulders, with support of UH MBB AD, Doctors, trainers, and input from his family, looks like he will stay the course, and have possibly , total of 6 years, to finish his degree, which is fantastic. He also states, that his Rehab chart, when fully , as best can be, recovered, he will be a better person and athlete for this trial. That is how life is in this crazy world 2013, a lot of people have accidents, or problems, and Caleb, instead of a stumbling block, is using this setback, as a Stepping Stone, for later career and life. Do well in school, and speedy recovery, Big D!
    Reminds me, always, of a young Jack Sikma, not the same high held, quick release, jumper that Jack had, however the skillset, and BB IQ smarts. Great, great young man, you are a great example to incoming recruits and the rest of the healthy teammates!

    Aloha and Mahalo Caleb for staying the course. Wish the best in your Rehab!
    Go Caleb and the Rainbow Warriors! Mahalo, thankyou to the Dresslers of Washington State for sharing Caleb with UH MBB!
    Part of the 17 great young guys on UH MBB team!

  5. Hello and Aloha to the Spearmans, Fotus, Valdes’ families, and other family members of team, who will be in town. Hope that UH will get 2 or even 3 wins in the DHC, would be awesome!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  6. Dressler is looking straight grizzly!

    Looking ahead to Boise… they are showing some cracks in the armor now that they have played some better teams. Will arrive with a 2 game losing streak. Losing handily to Kentucky where they were totally outclassed on talent. They also lost at home to St Mary’s. SMC controlled the game and kept Boise’s athletic guards at bay.

    UH can absolutely dominate inside with Fotu and Standhardiger. BSU has no size at all. As long as UH can play solid defense on Drmic and Marks, UH has a good chance to win.

  7. Former UH Athlete….
    that will win games for UH this year, great DEFENSE. They shutdown, teams, perimeter, and double other teams bigs, since they are playing teams outside of top ten, UH should have a good shot to win a lot of games at the Stanley. Pretty much same thing and more on the road, those tiny venues, Big West teams, they know the rims, the floor, the atmosphere, UH has to pound it inside, limit turnovers, shoot Free Throws well, and DEFEND, they can at least split on the road.

    This team, hopefully, just progresses, and peaks in March, I really like this team, probably the best in past 8 or or 9 years.

  8. we just gotta pray dressler isn’t a greg oden

  9. hawaiifan09: That is what a lot of us are concerned about, the guy’s health. I hope that Caleb can rehab best he can. Back, problems, and having the worse case scenario type of Back Surgery, and recovery, it makes it hard for Caleb to be the basketball athlete he was before. By the time he hits the court as a healthy Freshman, he will be close to 20 -21 yrs of age. He should use the scholarship to work on getting his degree. I really feel bad for Caleb, really do, great guy, who would of helped UH’s frontcourt this year, smart BBIQ big!

    Go Bows!

  10. Get well Caleb, and when you can sit in classroom,do well in school, work towards getting an early degree!

  11. And of course, your attitude is great, no quit in you, a real Winner, ..wish the best on your recovery, since we care for the UH athletes as people too! When you can comeback next year, you will be welcome addition for team, what you have gone through at an early age, a lot of the new guys, will value you even more, pretty sure the coaches, boosters, and fanbase do, Caleb, not forgotten as a true Rainbow WARRIOR!

    Go Caleb!

  12. Welcome to the Spearmans! Welcome to the Valdes family! Big smiles to have you in the islands!

    Looking forward to “hearing” Fotu’s family who will be in full force on Sunday. As well as Aussie Mum to cheer on Michael.

    To all the other families that couldn’t be here for Christmas, we want you to know that your sons are surrounded by love. Many families and fans support your young men! Many blessings to you all.

    The Schmidt Family

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