Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Valdes is the new King of the Beach

Almost like walking out of a prizefight, Aaron Valdes held an ice pack to his forehead at the conclusion of the King of the Beach competition on Saturday morning at Waikiki Beach. The contusion on his head was a small price to pay, as he also walked away with the championship trophy.

The King of the Beach is an annual preseason training competition for the players on the University of Hawai’i basketball team.

Valdes, a sophomore forward who is in his third year with the program, won it for the first time. His victory was somewhat of a surprise, as returning guards Garrett Nevels and Quincy Smith were considered the favorites.


“Yeah, it’s a big surprise,” Valdes said. “There’s a lot of good competition this year. It was good, it was fun.”

This year’s King of the Beach featured 14 unique drills. Some were individual drills, such as sand sprints or bear crawls; other drills were designed for partners; a few drills required group efforts – upper classmen vs. under classmen.

Valdes displayed versatility, capturing first place in the sand sprint, long jump and weighted-ball toss. He also paired with freshman Sammis Reyes and sophomore Negus Webster-Chan to earn crucial points in other drills.

“This is my third year doing it, so I was kind of used to the competition,” Valdes said. “I know watching some of the freshmen doing it, they didn’t know what to do – throwing the (weighted) ball and stuff, so it was a good advantage.”

Valdes secured the championship when he took third place in “The Finale” – a run from the sand into the shallow section of the ocean, and then picking up a weighted ball and throwing it over a steel frame (which is normally used for screening at Sunset on the Beach events). In the process of throwing his ball over the frame, Valdes hit his forehead on a steel bar.

He wasn’t the only Warrior to walk away wounded from the competition. Reyes suffered a possible broken small toe, and redshirt freshman Niko Filipovich left the beach with bleeding knees.

“I feel good, man,” Reyes said. “Sadly, I got hurt, but that’s alright. I’m glad my man Aaron got the win. I’m just happy for him.”

Despite sitting out the final drill because of his toe injury, Reyes still finished in second place. He is originally from Chile, but attended high school in Florida. He said he has trained on the beaches in Florida, so he was used to the feel of running and jumping in soft sand.

Senior Nevels placed third, followed by Quincy Smith in fourth. Dyrbe Enos and Isaac Fleming tied for fifth.

Three players did not participate due to lingering injuries: Isaac Fotu, Brandon Jawato and Stefan Jankovic.

Valdes received a koa bowl trophy that will be placed atop his locker for the entire season. Previous “Kings” were: Bill Amis (2010), Hauns Brereton (2011) and Christian Standhardinger (2012 and 2013). Valdes is the first sophomore to win it.

The King of the Beach capped the Warriors’ preseason training program. The Warriors’ first official team practice of the season is scheduled for Oct. 4, and they will participate in a Green & White Scrimmage at the Stan Sheriff Center at 10 p.m. that night.


  1. Wow!! They were really into it and having a ball. Man, looks like everybody was having fun. Great team building experience. Hope Sammis is alright.

    Haha, scowl on G-money face. He really disappointed to come in third.

    Congrats to Airon (?RB) for this years King of Beach.

  2. PS.
    This video was really fun to watch.

  3. warriorhaw:

    agree with you. Where else but UH MBB in Hawaii, Waikiki Beach, young guys grinding and competing AND having fun? UH MBB , though ones try to tear it down, IT IS STILL THE BEST BB program in the state!

    Go Warriors and Sammis get well soon. It does not seem like major injury. Remember last year, when Isaac had fractured hand? took him awhile, he took off hand wrap, and had a All BWC first team year. Hope same for Sammis and all the guys!

    warriorhaw, get ready..you and Eagle, and all that can go to SSC , I really, really feel this team is going to do major damage in NCAA DI basketball!

    Great team One Ohana and Talent!

    Go Warriors, Go Bows!!

  4. As Always, Mahalo Dayton, Staff & Sponsors of WI.com for sharing The Warrior Insider experience.

    Team: Get RE-Charged, Healthy, Re-Focused and Prepped for a Quick Strong Start And Finish!

    The Long Haul Begins…

    Make It The Longest And Highest – Get That Program / Ball over The NCAA BAR
    Make Some National Ripples and Highlights!

    Good to See Veterans and Freshmen pushing their way to the Top
    Keep it Going On The Court!

    GO ‘Bows!
    Collect Championships!

  5. Whoa, Sammis is way ahead in the sand crawl. One player only had to carry Gib’s small son in the piggyback run.

    Almost had another player on the injured list – Valdes.

  6. islandman:

    sadly it is a part of life, they could be going to class, trip and stub toe and break it on sidewalk curb. Or at dorm, and they drop a heavy box on it. Accidents happen. Too bad, Jankovich, reason unknown, however I did see him briefly in the competition..? Fotu, well FIBA worn out, he is doing well get back to class he be alright. Jawato, feel, really feel for Brandon, those darn ankles, he will be perhaps the greatest success story of this year. Grad in May 2015, finish his degree, and make choice to stay UH with another grad major for final athletic year, or another choice. First class young man, the Jawato Ohana is great!

    Valdes, has to watch out, I am sure trainer, or doctor, will check him out, on Monday, make sure he did not receive, well actually, even minor bumps on head, your brain has that concussive effect, playing football, and even accidents at beach, or park, had several, terrible. Hope Aaron V is okay.

    NO MAJOR ACL/MCL, Broken Arms, Legs, Achilles tears, or blood born diseases.. so far..
    This bunch, all sixteen , they are close, so competitive, even the 6’11” bigs the Serbian Brothers, Janks and Jovan, they working it too. Nice… really nice team… islandman, hope all the guys ready for BWC play, at the least,… Probably begin season, Valdes, Fotu, Nevels, NWC, and Smith really step up, with help of Jovanovich and Thomas, Fleming and Bobbitt, Enos.. those guys healthy and ready first game, UH will still be very competitive team.

    islandman, from YouTube video, when Sammis was showing up on UH radar as possible get, earlier this year, and he blowing up in Spring AAU showcase, his hilites, and his physique, and training, that guy is the Real Deal, super athlete, strong, and I might be mistaken, he speaks so mature, like Stallone, or The Rock Dwayne Johnson…Gib said, he is top 3 in sprints, fastest endline to endline, and perhaps the strongest, like he really did cross train. Man, if all 15 other guys, are as fit, UH MBB team might be in the best physical shape come BWC season of all the teams in conference.

    accidents do happen, glad that Sammis, it is not season ending, baby toe, fracture, can heal in couple of weeks, and season does not start until 6 weeks over, so time..

  7. coach Arnold and son Ace, they have fun at Waikiki. really guys work together and compete. uh students ready to cheer team. starting with green white scrimmage, hope at least 500+ will stay for that event next Saturday. more like about 1000+ hoping.

  8. The young men were helping to beautify the UH campus yesterday too. Is that Valdes, Fleming and Bobbitt ?


  9. yes. Valdes has that short hair cut now. He really looks great. Same with Bobbitt and Fleming. NCAA should credit team for community service, good record, in class on campus and family guys. Really liking this team. And I believe it was A Post On This Site, “hey Ben Jay, why not paint, scrub, clean up, make landscaping nice, restrooms, weightrooms, practice areas really neat, doesn’t take too much monies if any, and volunteers could do it.”. and what happens, I guess Ben Jay does read forums, he schedules the Beautification Day for Athletics Dept and area lower campus.

    The guys take pride, and the area looks nice! Hey have to have DAGS or UH maintenance, just a little paint or private contractor donate paints, and volunteers, or contracted donation, paint and spruce up the Gym I and Gym II sites as well, .. That Student Activity center, with jog around court upstairs and center lobby downstairs the VB and BB courts, that is awesome.. really beautiful and functional. Jay his next project, if monies, Klum Gym, turn it into WBB practice, and activity center too, a dedicated one, that could host even HS games.. Klum.. remember, the WVB games, and Chris Gaines scoring 23 points against JR Reid led North Carolina back in the day, Blaisdell was booked so UH played North Carolina at Klum gym before about 1200 people.

    As a whole, until that final thing resovled, UH MBB is looking good, the guys and the Beautified Athletics area! Awesome..

  10. RunBows and others, there was only one department worker assigned to clean the lower campus and that employee retired. The campus cleanup was inspired by Bob Coolen and what he did to improve the area, including starting the first manoa makeover, per S Tsai.


  11. islandman:

    Bob Coolen reminds me of a relative, who did that, just spruced up ball parks, as a passion, beautiful volunteer work. He enjoyed it tremendously and took pride in it.Thanks for information! Appreciate it. Makes the volunteer effort of all the athletes that much more impressive. One guy to maintain, lower campus Athletic facilities, man that is rough.
    Well, The beauty of UH Manoa, the students, and the fans. We do our part support the student athletes and the programs.

    Go Bows!!

  12. Bob Coolen, now that is a long tenured hard working classy coach and guy! Hope his team will one day make it back to Softball World Series!
    UH has some great coaches, from, diving, swimming, to tennis, women track, etc.Shout out and kudos to Bob Coolen , he has a lot of Green and White Pride!

    Makes campus, and facilities look better for families and visiting recruits too! Hope Bob will one day have the Bob Coolen Softball Stadium in future after his retirement!

  13. If these guys play lockdown D, if season started next week, just my fantasy starters:

    PG: Quincy Smith 6’1″ 180
    SG: Garrett Nevels 6’2″ 190
    SF: Negus Webster-Chan 6’7″ 205
    SF: Aaron Valdes 6’5″ 190
    PF: Isaac Fotu 6’8″ 230

    That five, would have had at least one year in Gib’s system, including NWC with the RS year. And be able to run, and gun.

    Next guys off bench(remember only a fantasy pick.. we have to wait for the cream to rise to the top)

    Combo Guard: Isaac Fleming 6’3″ 180
    Combo Guard: Roderick Bobbitt 6’3″ 205
    PF: Mike Thomas 6’7″ 215
    C: Stefan Jovanovich 6’11” 235
    SG: Dyrbe Enos 5’10” 170
    PG: Niko Filopovich 6’0″ 160

    More like the WCC, BWC, Cali, West Coast, run and gun have fun teams.
    Then await, Sammis , Janks, Jawato, Stepteau, Buscher, as the calvary come BWC time.

    Well, hopefully, according to reports, Sammis says broke toe, I guess, Monday,he will see Dr. Ignacio and trainers, get the xray, and examine to really determine? Wonder, if just a strain or bruise, which still need time to heal, however, much better than ACL/MCL, or broken leg or arms!

    Hey fans, this week will fly by, and then,,, BOOOOOOMMMMM! Saturday Oct 4th official start of grind to get to post season big dances… legal, just be ready, get ducks in order, and straight, then UH will concentrate on championships which they are doing exactly, out of their control, so just do the Basketball thing.. UH hoops fans, getting juiced, and ready! To Rock The Rock and SSC for the BWC!!

  14. Good job Valdes. Good job Sammis and Nevels too. Everyone looked good as well. Broken toe shouldn’t slow Sammis down. He’s a beast! Happy the workouts are done and the new guys made it through this year. Looking forward to Saturday night.

  15. King of the BEACH! My favorite video to kick off the year! Great job to all and hail to the new KING!

  16. all the fun and games are over….now time to get serious

  17. RunBows…LIKE Your Fantasy Picks…
    FIRST YEAR We HAVE A Cavalry Comin’
    And They Could Really Crash & Splash the BWC Partee’

    Look Forward to Coaches’ Saturday Scrimmage DRAFT —
    As EARLY Indication of Who Coaches would Place their Unofficial WON-Loss Records On…

    COULD You Imagine a True Rookie Stealing KING of the BEACH?
    HE Almost Did, But for The Injury
    To RE-State: A “Potential” Standhardinger-Class Rookie’
    SO I don’t think Sammis is (likely to) Miss Many Practices
    Much Less Games
    TOUGH IS Tough….

    TO The VALDÉS !Ohana!
    Congratulations Summer League MOP Last Year
    NOW All the Way to KING
    I ¨Know¨Aaron¨Can¨ Make His Own BWC Highlight Reel
    I Figure BY NEXT Year He´ll Be Consistently Outstanding
    BUT Aaron Go Ahead And Blow Up The BWC This Season!

  18. Issac Fotu—from his experience and play in FIBA—-has taken his game to another level. Most schools by now have heard about him and will try to contain him like how they did with Vander. But we got some surprises that no one are really taking serious. Aaron Valdes is one of the surprises that will really turn heads this year. He has 2 years of playing here (counting red shirt year) and is ready perform at a high level. Gibs gotta play Valdes more this year since it’s such a waste to see all his potential sitting on the bench. Plus athletic players improve as the season progresses. Look what happened to Kentucky. Calipari had faith in his freshmen when they were losing at the beginning of the year. But they finally caught on and road that streak to the finals. And we got others that can score when they key on Isaac. This team should be if they key on any one guy they will be torched by the others. That’s the kind of balanced scoring that we need along with a balanced defense. If we can do that—hello Dance.

  19. Quit beating around the bush. What r the sanctions? just tell us already? DAYTON? ?

  20. good coach, coach Arnold, made it very fun for men basketball team. even son Ace, had fun. we students love coach and the Arnold family. Hope speedy recovery for Sammis, Isaac, Jankovich and Jawato. this year, coach Arnold will have a very good year, manoa maniacs support him. we looking forward soon to Jamie smith return. thankyou coach gib.

  21. Ok, the week of green/white has just started. I wonder how the teams are going to be divided. Maybe they’ll change teams at the half. Do the losers have to make protein shakes for the winners for the week maybe? Haha.

    No matter. I think we will all be impressed. Used to be that we looked forward to midnight ohana because we did not know the whole team and how each player (new) played. Now, with video that Dayton provides us, we get excited to for the green/white game BECAUSE we know guys. I have been to just about all of these game for the last maybe 20 years, and have never been more excited as I am to go to this years game. Dayton teases us just enough.

    Go Bows!!!!!!

  22. warriorhaw:

    True to his word. Gib found out have to bring in High Character student athletes, and Now have more athleticism. His fifth year, is payoff. young team, but very athletic, one goal, make noise, win championships. They all seem like very nice young guys. Good coaching staff, and administrative assistants. As, we can see , UH MBB going to get aright, and keep on fighting now for possible, BWC championship, and even higher goals than that. Been following team, and going to early , old time Green White scrimmages, like you, and always enjoyed it. Just hope guys stay healthy and guys rehabbing and healing get well too. This looks like a good year, Eagle, warriorhaw, servante , and all the long time season ticket holders, you all going to have great time at SSC arena!

    Go Warriors! Go Bows! Have fun warriorhaw…Rainbow Warrior Basketball about to take the scene for next 5 to six months!

  23. RunBows, wish UH MBB biggest fan and friend could be there with us, but rest assured, you will certainly be there in spirit. Dayton will do a great job in providing enough video for you to make it as if you are there.

    You thank a lot of people for their contributions to this site, but a big thanks should also go to you, my friend for keeping the faith and being the ultimate fan. Your contributions are priceless. Thank you.

  24. any news on Sammis’s toe?

  25. Mahalo warriorhaw. And Ditto.
    Go Gib Go ! . and . Run RunBows Run ! . and . Mahalo Dayton Mahalo !

    I don’t think Sammis’ toe will play. Hard to hold him back though.
    Nobody gets hurt. Rain the 3’s !! Have some fun !!
    First chance to see the guards in their element, controlling the game.
    Haven’t really seen Bobbit. Or Jankovic. They may not play either.
    Jankovic appears to have a serious problem. Any news on his recovery as well?

  26. I agree with Servante. Things happen, and then, Hello Dance.
    It would really be good if we set our sights on
    progressing through the rounds,
    Go Gib Go !

  27. Wouldn´t Expect to see Recovering / Injured Players
    in a G-W Scrimmage Any more than a Summer League Game…

    There’s enough Talent & Depth for 10 players anyway
    (without rushing or risking anyone’s recovery / season)

    Injury / Recovery /School Updates?

  28. Mahalo to WI and Dayton for providing a global fanbase to see the BB athletes in action this summer and open gym early fall. Wish speedy recovery, and success in classroom to all the BB team. Come Start of season, if everyone one ready, physically, would be awesome. Nice to have a large roster. Still have enough bodies to work full court practices, and scrimmages soon.
    Now is time for Jovanovich, Thomas to step up, really going to need their help down low!

  29. C’mon people, first year players missed the whole summer (Bobbitt) or a big chunk of it (Reyes). They are in a new system. Remember how Thomas couldn’t even get meaningful playing time last year? Remember how many juco players have come in, and had a lost year while “learning the system”?

    Yes, yes Fotu adjusted well. But his father was a professional rugby player, and having lineage like that makes him different. It’s more than just genetics, when your father is a professional sportsman, you see it every second of your life, how much work and dedication it takes to make it in your sport.

    Dedication. And it’s funny how people think the newbies can miss the beginning of practice, then flip the switch at game time. Reyes is the one trying to set the screen at 0:52 in the open gym video last time. Look how lost he looks, like Thomas.

  30. Horssse..yes…WI fans know…
    The work ethic and competiveness..of reyes..is great
    Horssse…give new guys chance to learn and rehab..going to take WHOLE TEAM..this year to win..
    As we say good having more athletes this year

    So thankful have fotu…nevels…smith..enos..valdes..thomas…jovanovich..and jawato back
    The lettermen..helps a lot
    Thomas ..he really has to put in work…team needs him right away to affect winning.
    Because injuries/ other matters ..to other bigs..

    MT work hard and bb smart..he can play a lot

  31. I think Sammis will do fine. I don’t think Gib’s “system” is really all that complex. Its not like Sammis is going into a team the runs the flex motion where everyone need to be in sync to make it work.

    From what I can tell, the offense is free flowing and let the players use their athletic ability to create shots for themselves and others. The hard thing for the newcomers will be the defense where Gib wants certain defense for certain teams or to contain certain players.

    Fotu is going to be the focal point in this offense so the offense will run thru him. There will be cuts and slips where if Isaac get double teamed and he can pass the ball to his teammates for open shots or layups but most of the set offense is going to be to get the ball to Isaac. KInda like the Vander Joaquim era. As for fast breaks, you just do what you taught to do as a youngster play bball. You try to get advantages with 2 on 1…3 on 2…etc..

    Sammis is a baller with international experience. He knows the game of basketball and has probably more basketball knowledge then someone like Mike Thomas. Just because Mike Thomas get lost at times does not mean every freshman will be like that. Some players come into the program with high Bball IQ and some are just great athletes with low bball IQ.

    I think Sammis will be a big contributor this season.

  32. kahuna:

    love your comments. spot on. Sammis, what a late and great get for UH MBB. I still cannot believe he will be 19 yrs old in October! Seems like a guy in his mid twenties. You are right, Sammis part of the Junior National Chilean BB team, so he has international experience. From all accounts, what we saw on YouTube, and how he blew up in the March 2014 AAU showcase for college coaches to view, He is a good one. He is young, I am sure his toe will be fine, and he heals fast. You notice on pix of King Of Beach and runner up Sammis, Sammis is definitely about 2 inches taller than Aaron, so probably about 6’7″ 240 pounds. what an athlete, if not breaking that baby toe, maybe he would have won the KOB.. that says something. His HS senior hilite clips, he can pass the ball, imagine he working with Fotu, and the shooters too, Sammis is a TEAM guy too, not going to put up 20 shots, ..Sammis Reyes, a strong, athletic, mature, SF/PF.. definitely will help team. And you are correct kahuna, if Riley W, were still coach, it would take some of these athletes, several years to get down the Flex, that is a real BB structured, yet when run correctly, a thing of beauty hard to stop, every has chance to score. Mike Thomas, I believe, only open gym we watching, and he of the 3.7 GPA, taking heavy class load to grad early, if he gets it on O and D, he will be very good too. kahuna, just a lot more athletes, for Gib to use this year.. sure that he is happy about that. We UH MBB fans too. Should be exciting year, if they play great Defense and take care of the ball!

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