Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Meet the Stefans

Stefan Jovanovic is listed at 6 feet, 10 inches tall. Stefan Jankovic is listed at 6 feet, 11 inches tall. They are both sophomores for the University of Hawai’i basketball team.

“I’m the better looking one,” Jankovic said with a smile.

“And one is playing better, of course, so I’m Stef,” Jovanovic countered.

Screen shot 2014-10-09 at 9.20.03 PM

Their similarities require differentiating nicknames, and UH head coach Gib Arnold said Jovanovic will be known as Stef, and Jankovic will be called Jank or Janks. “I don’t like it, but it is what it is,” Jankovic said.

Both players are originally from Serbia, although both have spent recent years in North America. Jovanovic was living in Southern California for two years prior to attending UH, and is a graduate of Bishop Montgomery High School. He saw limited action as a freshman at UH last season, but is expected to play an expanded role this season.

Jankovic was born in Serbia but moved to Canada with his family as a child. He transferred to UH from Missouri last December. Per NCAA transfer rules, he will become eligible to play for UH this December. Until then, he will be allowed to practice with the rest of the team.

Jovanovic and Jankovic said they did not know each other until they last December – when Jankovic enrolled at UH. They are now best of friends, thanks in part to their Serbian roots and common language.

Jankovic said he converses with Jovanovic in Serbian “99.99 percent of the time,” on and off the court.

Their camaraderie is evident in the video above, which includes discussions about which Stefan is taller and which would win in a fight.


  1. The Serbian brothers. Twn towers mr inside . .mr. outside
    Thirfd serbian bro..niko!!

    Eagle ..definitely fine talent developed

  2. Basketball players from Serbia include retired Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac . For those that follow tennis, players from Serbia include No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 8 Ana Ivanovic.

  3. i originaly had ‘some’ concern about similarities, competition, resentment, etc.
    getting in the way of better teamwork;
    But Good, Smart, Team Players find ways to make things work
    and in the case of our sophomore(!) Stefans, work Really Well!
    They Look Genuinely Happy Together, like Brothers
    and Appreciative of their opportunity to support each other
    and share a Home Heritage and Connection;
    They seem extra-mature for sophomores
    (much better than freshmen per Gib)
    Their Long Travels and Hard Work/
    Taking and Making the Most of their Opportunities in Life
    seem to have toughened them;
    they exude a game-readiness;and display good (to Great) Skills.


    OUR Stefans come across as very cool — clearly Good Guys…
    and i some ways, thay remind me of Steve Martin and Dan Akyroyd’s
    Saturday Night Live Characters/skits:

    “We Are Two Wild and Crazy Guys!”

    Have a GREAT Season, Stefans!
    Go ‘Bows!
    And… Finish,,,STRONG!

  4. did not know coach Arnold was half Serbian. just joke. yes good basketball in Serbia were they not in fiba finals?two stefs, students cheer them on.

  5. Thanks Dayton. That clip was fun to watch. Amazing team with so many divergent backgrounds. Basketball at the college level has become a global sport. At least @ Manoa.

  6. Love the Chemistry of Team. Diverse, and in the land of Aloha. Hawaii. Some from Chile, Toronto, Serbia, Cali, Delaware, Hawaii, Indonesia to Cali, New Zealand, guys are competitive, doing well in school, well liked. No wonder Gib is saying this group, his 5th year group of MBB Ohana, one of the best for getting along, one goal, One Team, One Family. Last year, had the CS vs KS battles, before the JT.. case guy, the V blues, etc. For that hard core die hard 4000+ MBB fans follow teams for decades or past few years.. good team for young and old to fall in love with. Going to be a good year.

    On video , of Green White scrimmage, I think the loudest guy I heard, was Nikola Filipovich, directing G Money Nevels to go left, go left.. where he should be to receive the pass and triple threat position.. As Jankovich says, when he eligible in December, we shall see his talent.. I think with the strength and knowing what it takes a DI level, Stefan Jovanovich and Jankovich have the perfect match, the inside/ and the outside game, imagine two guys about 6’11” on the floor at same time.. on offense, they guarding Jovanovich, Stefan Jovan, passes pall out to Jankovich for an open 3.. next time, two guys go out flying to cover Jankovich’s 3, he makes the perfect pass to Jovanovich for the two handed dunk.. A Serbian Sandwich on offense for UH MBB.. lethal.
    Shaping up to be fun year.. they win 20+, and go post season. They will be all smiles, just enjoy the ride fans, hope they all , the Great One Ohana, only in Hawaii UH MBB,

    Also, check out the posted coaches and assistants for UH MBB, Gib, Benjy, Brandon, Senque, then, Jamie Smith Performance Analyst,2 Adminstrative assistants with lot of experience living in Hawaii, and 3 grad managers, that , I think is the adjustment, 10 guys part of MBB staff, so that all parts, of MBB program covered, from coaching to video breakdown, assisting with strength, equipment, scheduling, camps, make sure UH MBB is strong and aright, good job Gib.

  7. Hilarious. They might have a second career going in the Jank and Jo comedy hour.

  8. Funny stuff. I did not realize these two had such personalities. Two Wild and Crazy Guys is right except that was popular waaay before these players were born!

    If there is something else to take from this besides a good laugh is that these guys are good friends and that can mean a lot for team chemistry especially when they are kind of competing for playing time with each other.

    I also appreciate Dayton and this forum for letting us watch videos like this one. I don’t think any other forums could do this and get the guys to act like this on camera. I will watch it again now.

  9. Reality may have to set in, as some of the posters have said earlier. Portnoy on Bobby’s show said UH is picked 5th in preseason magazine polls. Many of the Big West teams have four or five starters returning this season, per them. However, the home non-conference schedule is “favorable” in that a lot of the players can get playing time, due to the lack of really strong teams, except for a few.

    Jeff’s opinion is that it’s better to have one definite starting point guard with the others as backups.

    They said the only way to get to favorable post season play is to win the conference tournament ( or the regular season, i would think).
    As others have said, playing in the game against the opponents is often different from playing in practice against your teammates.

    Today’s paper said Fleming is also competing at point guard and that Negus and Valdes have to play out of position in practice,due to the injuries to the big men.

    It said Niko was communicating loudly at the 5 on 5 drills, often with the opposing team, apparently on defense, per Bobbitt. I notice he is feisty and saw a few gentle shoves by him in Dayton’s scrimmage videos.
    HoopsTalk radio show starts on Wednesday at 7 pm .

    Call the Coach on Tuesday at 6 pm, per Eagle earlier.

  10. islandman:

    Spot on. True, we WI UH MBB fans, happy that the team is in place, enrolled in UH, and the LOI guys all on board,…few months ago, did not know if would get to this point, nearing start of season.

    I think is we did poll like other forums, because those other top 3 or even 4 other BWC teams have more starters back, I thought , BWC would pick UH even lower, perhaps, 6th or 7th because of only 2 starters returning. However, it is fun to see the videos of UH MBB up and close. Only Dayton’s forum, and maybe an imitator, will have these personal interview, and exchanges, benefits the athletes and their families can view it, from far away or mainland.

    As we all know… ain’t how you are picked pre season to finish, it is how you finish at end of March.. that is THE FORMULA…..1)Win the BWC regular season title would guarantee spot in NIT 2)Win the BWC tournament, and wow… NCAA tournament bound… So , UH take care of first part, getting used to playing great defense, and cohesion, as a starting 5 or maybe even having up to 5 other guys having a lot of PT, total of 10 or 11, 12, pre BWC play to get ready.

    What Jeff says, long time UH MBB fans know, even Gib he knows, All the preseason things, getting ready, and the 16 games before the BWC play, it is about FINISHING STRONG.. something that hasn’t happened YET for a Gib team.. This Could be the year! We are really hoping..

    Go Bows Warriors Rainbows!

  11. Preseason polls are based on statistics—how many players returning, how you finished last year, etc. What they don’t know is what UH fans who follow this team closely can feel that we got something special this year. We had something special last year too if it wasn’t for the late burn out. Won’t happen this year because we have depth at every position. This team is much better than last year. We have become a more complete team. The second team—whoever that will be—is not too far from the first team. We got shooters, and we got inside players. We got quickness, height, bench depth, and hopefully a better defense. No one knew the Fabulous Five in the preseason when they first started; and they ended up number 12 in the country two years later. This year’s team can do it again. I got faith in Gib, coaches, and players that they will take us to the promise land we UH fans have been patiently waiting for all these years.

  12. Do not agree with Portnoy that you play with only one pg and the rest are backup. There may be times where you want a certain matchup or a certain type of player playing against a certain type of team you might want to “switch up”.

    Of course is one pg is miles ahead of the others, then you start that guy…its common sense but it the competition is close, then you play the one who had the better week of practice/or give you a favorable matchup.

    Many coaches like to have one qb(football) or one setter(volleyball) but I don’t think in basketball you need to have that. The other sports wants that one guy due to timing issues and ways of throwing/setting. In basketball, I don’t really see any issue in having a different pg start every game because the backup will come in later in the game anyway unlike the other sports where the qb/setter plays the whole game..

  13. Runbows, Eagle, gibisgood, kimo, servante,chuckcheese,kahuna, and all,

    Artie agrees with some of your thoughts – he said he thinks this team has a chance to be special. But he’s usually on the optimistic side at the start of every season. He thinks Negus is something special, he had him on his summer league team two years ago.

    For Wahine fans, Coach Laura has high regard for her players including 6′ 4″ center Morris, said she runs the floor well, has soft hands and is in the film room looking to improve. Also for the whole team, they have team chemistry (so far) ,they did canoe paddling and standup paddle board, etc. Mentioned Northridge, Cal Poly and Long Beach St. as the probable top teams, besides the Wahine.

    ” …He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land …”

  14. servante …absolutely correct about the Fab Five, remember that first part of 1970, when UH was playing home games at HIC/Blaisdell, word did not get out until , UH was starting to beat some schools by 100-70 scores, they were exciting and on a winning streak. Something entirely different from previous season and years, where they did not have that starting 5 talent. Then, TV station started to pick up LIVE TV coverage, and then the RBC live coverage, By March, when they went to NIT, the Fab Five were superstars, talk of the town, some businesses and even school class room, the teachers turned on those cable BW tv to have class watch UH in the NIT first round game.

    So, we knew Rocha recruited Nash, he looked so tall, at 6’8″ +, and we knew he was a good on, we never knew, until a few months into season how good they would become, The Pre Season to 1971-72 season, a lot of hype , All of Hawaii knew the Fab Five and the bench guys too.

    Same thing with AC Carter, we heard about him, ones saw him in open gym before practices started, and said “that guy AC, he got skills”, they were absolutely right, UH took some losses initially, no sellout crowds, until they started to win. and ended up with back to back 21 game win seasons. Again a case of , we never knew with AC , one guy could affect the whole team for good.

    Same with Tom Henderson, he was Olympic athlete caliber, his running mates not same level, we thought he would take UH to two 24 game winning seasons , like the Fab Five, He led them to 15-11 and 19-9( NIT his senior year.) he ended up as world NBA champ with Washington Bullets.

    So , All UH MBB fans, and now WBB fans, we get excited, ..nobody predicting that UH MBB or WBB team will win the NCAA national crown,however as Janks and NWC said last season, Why settle for less. set goals higher, and work, grind for it.. WHY NOT set goals to win championships

    Let the season begin.. hey if they make NIT, and finish with 26-8 season that would be fantastic, NCAA and a run into tourney, better yet.
    However, first things first, get the guys playing shutdown Defense, .. then effective offense and taking care of the ball, close out games, whomever in there.. That would be great!
    Hype, and Anticipation, better than no basketball, and we bored to death during College basketball season, and have to watch some good DII Hawaii schools play(they are very good teams, in PacWest)

    Go Bows Warriors!

  15. This team reminds me of the euro..international teams..back to back nqcaa appearance s..savo ..martin..english..guys who got along ..smart bb wise and academics.
    sometimes better to have 16 guys united and work for one goal..winning ..rather than superstars. Ego tripping
    type of team parents and youth really like

    Makes even old time uh mbb fans feel good


  16. Dayton, appreciate the clips. Any chance coach will allow video of some of the scrimmage sessions before the exhibition game? I think that could help season ticket purchases because some fans waiting to see how good the team is. Of course that is only excuse for us die-hards to see organized basketball—the kind where they play defense.

  17. however….band of brothers… in the land of Aloha….

    GOOD THING…. UH MBB has that 16 man roster… Fotu….Sammis, …Jawato….Reyes…and Jankovich…do other things, shoot FT’s ., outside shots, slides, etc.. sit out full contact drills, and practice.. so 11 healthy guys plus the preferred athletes.. going at it..IN a way,…Nevels, Smith, Valdes, Thomas, Jovanovich, Enos, NWC, Buscher, and Stepteau, getting a lot of reps, and working together.. Hey, ..as they say.. when guys on injured list.. next man up…Good to let guys heal… don’t hurry them back, Sammis, Isaac Fotu, Jankovich, Jawato.. and Bobbitt for a little bit, just go easy , let his arm get stronger, hurt with plate in there I guess..

    Eagle….like the old western movies… Here comes the Calvary…when needed… Fotu, Jawato, Reyes, Jankovich, Bobbitt…

    Makings of ALL 16 guys can say, they had a shot to show what they can do.. Unfortunate the injuries, however, let the guys get better, and ONLY when really ready, bring them back for Full workouts and drills…. Makes team that deeper and READY TO ROCK THE ROCK… Rock The SSC in the B…W….C!!

  18. Go servante, Go !
    Yeah !
    Big Mahalo in any case though Dayton !!

  19. KKEA Ads announcing Call th Coach with GIB Now Tuesday Night @ 630 pm

    Hoops Talk Wednesday Night — Hope JACKSON Actually Sees them play before he talks ANYONE Down …

    Those International Teams also had multi-Canadians — Phil Martin And Carl English …
    BM Reporting Jawato Close to FULL-CONTACT Clearance … already in many/most drills…and looking smooth shooting and athletic (as opposed to gimpy like last year)

    MOST Ready and Already Much Participation despite the shin splints is Jankovic…

    SAMMIS Wants to Play — Coach having some difficulty keeping him lightly mobiilized …


    BUST Up those Pre-Season Picks !


  20. if janks can add defensive he’ll be better than amis

  21. Bill was killer from mid-range. Deadly from the shoulder. I have only seen Janks shoot from the 3. Hope he can bury the mid. But I like what I seen from the G/W 3 point shooting contest. Janks and Fotu will spread the def. Allow our guards to dish and drive.

  22. What happened to the ngative three “fans”? Hey UH MBB ready to run ..gun and have fun..servante…eagle..akuhead…Never remember gib allowing practices be shown on video..think he closes practices..except to media guy and Da Man..Dayton Morinaga..doing video..writeups..video edit and uploading..
    thanks Dayton a labor of love of uh mbb and program..mahalo plenty..

    UH MBB …NO real…love respect by preseason bwc ..media and national bb mags..
    This group..the eight letter winners and eight newbies
    just geev umm!!
    go bows..warriors..
    Eagle ..double trouble
    Rainbow Warriors
    soon..soon..couple weeks
    25+ and counting down till HPU exhibition game..

    Basketball hoops heaven..

    Eagle agree…wheeler called out by coach ..has he ever seen in person..bobbitt..fleming..janks..reyes
    niko..? Noooo! Objective? Nooooo!
    Jackson still living in the past..really don’ t believe he is fan of gib or uh mbb..artie is..alumnus..JW hoops talk? or balk?

    Fans ..true of bb team..we like team..hope for best!!

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