Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Scrimmage highlights

Here are extended highlights from the University of Hawai’i basketball team’s Green & White Scrimmage at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.

Notes from the scrimmage:

* This was a 12-minute scrimmage, and 12 players participated.


* The Green squad prevailed, 37-24.

* Sophomore forward Mike Thomas led the Green with 14 points and four rebounds. He shot 5 for 5 from the field, including 3 for 3 from 3-point range.

* Sophomore guard/forward Aaron Valdes had 10 points and four rebounds for the Green. He shot 5 for 5 from the field, including several highlight-reel dunks.

* Sophomore center Stefan Jovanovic led the White squad with 10 points.

* The team got into dance mode in the middle of the scrimmage. See from the 8:08 mark in the video.

* Injured players Isaac Fotu (back), Brandon Jawato (ankle), Stefan Jankovic (leg) and Sammis Reyes (toe) did not play in the scrimmage.

* Prep recruit Gligorije Rakocevic, a center at Cantwell Sacred Heart High School in California, was in attendance. He is on an official visit to UH this weekend.

* Former team captain Brandon Spearman is in Honolulu this week, and he served as a guest coach.

* There were several other activities at the event, including a slam dunk contest, 3-point shootout and a shorter scrimmage featuring Guards vs. Bigs. WarriorInsider.com will have more coverage of these in the coming days.

(Mike Thomas photo courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)


  1. Gib has a lot of good athletes . quick and can shoot it..They play great defense, boy, in about a little over month, HPU exhibition.. team will be ready and fully stocked!

    Go Bows!
    And thankyou Dayton for Video hilites, for those that could not make it to game and festivities..just like being there!

  2. Dayton,
    Did Spearman sign a pro contract somewhere in the states, Europe or Asia?

  3. Very entertaining style of play, but Gib slowed it down a lot last year, it seemed.

  4. Yes. Looks like Jovanovich has improved, taller, bigger, and can make that hook shot, and follow up dunks. Think that Gib’s first option: FOTU…Isaac can shoot 3 if open, or work down on the low block. With the perimeter, guys, those guards, when they get in system, and working together as team, take care of ball, they are very good ball handlers, should be able to run some, shoot some, and get ball to open guys.

    The Green White, just a scrimmage, a first look. About month from now. Team will look really different, even better. Imagine, the glimpse, of Fleming, Bobbitt, what they can do, and Thomas , Valdes, even Jovanovich have shown improvement.
    And…..Sammis, Janks, Jawato, and Fotu not even playing.. man..talk about the calvary coming to support the Team when they are healthy.. Now up to Gib and staff to develop and keep the Team Together. At SSC and on the road, looks like can be a very , very competitive team, i.e, Nevels/Fotu/NWC/Smith leading the charge.

  5. The more I see the more I’m starting to think that both Aaron Valdsz and Michael Thomas will—if not now–get starting positions. Also Roderick Bobbitt will be battling Quincy Smith down to the wire. Here is my starting five within one month:

    1- Bobbit
    2- Valdes
    3- Negus Chan
    4- Thomas
    5- Fotu

    Bobbit is still slow coming around. But he has size, quickness, and a great on-ball defender. Although he is a combo guard, he will be called upon more to play the point, which might be his strength after all. Yup, he even looks like AC.

    The reason why I’m high on Valdes is because he is quick, tall (2 guard), can rebound, and play defense. We got 3 legit shooters in NWC, Jankovic, and Fotu; so we need someone to hit the boards. Valdes got the tools and temperament to be a Kauai Leonard.

    Negus Chan is Julian Sensley reincarnate with discipline. He is going to be scary good once the season starts.

    They need Thomas for more height and also his versatility in scoring/rebounding.

    On certain games Isaac will have to play center along with Jovanovic. Center will be the achliles heel for this year. But I think in half the games we will not need a true center. .

  6. servante

    yes…. One of MANY options for starters… Gib can go big, with Fotu, Reyes, Jovanovich down low, for the teams that get physical.. or go finesse and athletic, Fotu, Valdes, Thomas.

    Same with the guards… Bobbitt, he is going to be a good one… Fleming, really impressive.. Enos, solid 3 ball man, Niko the true PG, playmaker and defender.. even Stepteau, he is my little Head Coach, smart BB player, and can shoot floater, get the quick layup or the 3 ball.

    That Mike Thomas and Aaron Valdes are only Sophomores? Wow.. the future looks bright! And this season, they going for the March Madness Dancing show..

    Bigs, Jovanovich, much improved and taller, bigger, Thomas, super soph. Reyes, Fantastic Frosh, so many more weapons, and even Buscher, if he were 15 pounds heavier, he is soooo long, a lengthy local 808 combo guard, UH never had a guy that tall from local HS, who actually can ball!

    Servante…. and all , Eagle, warriorhaw,, TAVS all the loyal fans, the team stay Healthy, Together, No Ego trippers, ONE OHANA, Finish Strong! They going do a lot this year, 20+ and BWC tourney champs, GET CHANCE!!
    Go Bows. Warriors. Tonganator, it is soon some 25 days away before HPU exhibition game, Go The Mighty Warriors!

    All Sixteen guys, can play the Basketball,Wow..

    And riding shotgun? When the Big Brother comes a knocking? Alabama Special and Friends of the Buff n Blu! Going be alright!

  7. I think the right strategy to battle Mamadou? Like last year, Fotu floating out, or Jankovich, and hit the 18-22 foot jumpers, the long two or three point shots,.. then , keeping Mamadou, out of the paint, double down, strip him.. when he gets the ball within 8 feet of basket, it is all over, Slam dunk, however he is HUGE 7’6″ and 300 lbs now, however slower than our shorter bigs.. If UH can speed up the game against taller teams, and hit their 3 pointers, they can beat those tall , good Big teams.

  8. I like what I see in MT. If he had just a bit more confidence, will power, etc. that he can do it all he’d be an MJ. ahhhhhh, I can dream right?

  9. Gib got it right: Captains for the year, Quincy, Isaac Fotu and Garrett Nevels, probably are the most experienced from last year, and leaders on and off the court.

    That depth….again, might be Gib’s deepest team in 5 years.

    PG: Roderick Bobbitt, Quincy Smith, Nikola Filopovich….Brocke Stepteau
    SG: Garrett Nevels, Isaac Fleming, Dyrbe Enos…..Zach Buscher
    SF: Aaron Valdes, Negus Webster-Chan….Brandon Jawato.
    PF: Sammis Reyes, Isaac Fotu, Mike Thomas
    C: Stefan Jovanovich, Stefan Jankovich.

    Interesting. of all the open gym and scrimmage video we have seen so far.. 15 out of the 16 guys on the roster, have shown ability to hit the 3 point shot. That is something.
    Maybe, one day, Jovanovich will launch a 3 pointer too. However, Jovanovich, is going to really have PT, because of size and take up space, and bang. It is a plus, his ability to score, down low out to FT line jump shot and corner jumper to 17 feet, .. Becoming a fan of Stefan Jovanovich, he will not back down to anyone, including Mamdou!

  10. Wondering if the offense will be running a “put up a shot at 8 seconds” offense, or something similar.
    The video opened with a team that looked like it wanted to pass 5 or 6 times and then put up the shot. Maybe it was just for practice, since otherwise it would look like a free for all. With all the shooters, someone will be open, and will be open early, every time down the court.

  11. Oh yes. Thank you Dayton. Much Mahalo.

  12. Always great to see a sneak preview of the Bowz…obviously Coach has a lot of talented individuals which will allow him to adjust to opponents this season, however, his challenge will be to get them all playing as one and yet getting them enough PT. I like their new mantra: “Finish Strong”!

    It is obvious to me that Quincy and Roderick are going to be going at it all year for that starting position. MT and Valdes are showing great signs of improvement…love it. MT still needs to work on that second step lateral slide on D and not jump into the shooter on his block shot attempts. Negus is showing another good sign in looking for the assist although I think he and Fotu will be the go to guys in the clutch. Nevels is a winner and always good to have on the court. Seems like a lot better chemistry than I expected…kudos to the Coaches.

    This team should have its way again on offense and when clicking will be hard to guard with the big men being able to stretch defenses. Never forget, Rebounding and Defense wins games!

    We all have to learn to root for our Big West opponents in the pre-season…it is the only way our SOS/RPI will get better. The big three in the BWC all have their opportunities for bettering our ratings this year.

    LBSU: BYU, Xavier, Kansas State, Washington, San Diego State, Texas, St. Johns, Syracuse and Louisville.

    UCSB: Kansas, Washington State, SMU, Oregon, Oregon State with a home and home with Florida Gulf Coast.

    UC Irvine: Utah, UCLA and San Diego State.

    Sure hope to see us peaking at the end of the season, yet winning enough games during the regular season to be considered for the NIT IF we do not win the BWC Championship.


  13. A bit of a concern. In all the videos i’ve seen, Negus and Jankovic have not been impressive. hopefully, they will step it up during a real game. I have been impressed by Valdes and Fleming!

  14. Went to scimmage. Actually not really impressed with Jovanovic as much as some. He got his ponts from great passes by the guards after they penetrated. His hook shot looked awkward and was fading away. I havent seen him really create his own shot. Not sure he has the footwork to be a good scorer. Will probably get most of his points via dish by guards or garbage plays. Defensively he is the tallest and biggest player on the floor yet he does not play like it.

    I rather go smaller and start Thomas at C.

  15. kahuna:

    good observations. I was thinking back to days, when UH MBB did have 6-11″ to 7 foot plus bigs, and they could not even hit the short jumper, baby hook , or the dunk off of great passes..they could not even catch the pass.. I think Stefan is a lot better than those past bigs. Still a developing Big, and nice to have along with Reyes, two young guys can use their bodies and be able to bang and get physical. Very sure at this stage, he will not be first option on offense, however, if he is open, and gets that pass from the guards, he has ability to score.

    Imagine if didn’t have Jovanovich, Hawaii would be very, very small and not have any depth at the 5 spot. AT least he has his 5 fouls to use, when Jankovich is eligible, , he will be that stretch 4/5 who can play that spot.. This year, to have good to great season, Gib will have to have 10-12 guys ready and able to play. If this team works, grinds to get better from now to March, even Jovanovich will be a big part of it. Remember that was only the first scrimmage, he is actually a very smart young guy, maybe not the most athletic, however if he can use his body like Haim Shimonovich, just body up, get rebounds, and try to alter shots.. which you are correct, the coaches have to develop his footwork, same with Mike Thomas, if they are doing it on D, by BWC time.. bodes really well for team.

  16. I heard that Gib predicted that Bobbitt would lead the Big West in steals this year. While that is not exactly lofty expectations, I guess it is fitting. Note that Standhardinger was 2nd in the Big West in steals last year, so Gib thinks Bobbitt can get 1.5 per game. But hey, if UH could start owning the conference for a few years and its NCAA invite, that would be a big step for UH.

    The Green-White scrimmage was easily won by the Green, 37-24 in just 12 minutes. If you do the math you realize that the Green was really pushing the ball, led by Quincy and Fleming. While the White would just dribble up the court and pass the ball around with no guard penetration. Their guards were Filipovich and Bobbitt. If Bobbitt is just going to dribble around and shoot 35% threes, we’ll have to tell him the tale of a guy who did that for one year and was run out of town.

    Of concern is that one of the things that Bobbitt got praised for was his toughness. But if he’s just dribbling around and not trying to get to the basket, what’s the sense of “toughness”? He needs to be going to the basket, because that’s his skill is toughness and finishing at the rim. If not…I don’t think he’s as good as Shamburger was at protecting the ball and shooting clutch FTs.

    Fleming is a good freshman recruit for UH. He is ready to play, no fear. Nice touch on his finish, which of course comes after driving left.

    Was not impressed by Webster-Chan. I was hoping to see an alpha who would want to take the court and show everyone this is his team. Instead his only noteworthy play was getting an assist to Zach Bucher; I guess that is his point guard upbringing that shines through. Very passive play from him, and his White team. The Green team showed they wanted to run, and the White team couldn’t handle that. I’m not going to predict that Mike Thomas can shoot 15-15 over a 40 minute game, but when he has guards collapsing the defense, it gives him the space to be a more consistent shooter.

    Jovanovich still looks good enough that he should get some PT. He loves going for rebounds, and is comfortable being the last option on offense, doesn’t need to take shots to be happy. And Gib loves telling the story about how he’s been pushing guys around and diving on courts since he was 13 years old. If Jovanovich would show that in a game, UH fans would love him too.

    From what I saw of Jankovich, he can shoot the 3 ball when he’s unguarded.

    The best athlete on the team is Aaron Valdes. He is a star whenever the game style is “playground”, look at him grabbing an offensive rebound over Webster-Chan and almost slammed it home (around 11:28 of above video, after Webster-Chan makes a no-look assist to Jovanovich at 11:14).

    Only one senior on this team (Nevels, who started the scrimmage by swishing a deep NBA 3). About half the team is juniors. There will be big expectations for next year’s team.

  17. Horssse and all those that went to scrimmage thanks for real time observations! And to Dayton, who almost ran the first half full, unedited, except for about 3 minutes. Mahalo Dayton.

    Horssse, I think Filopovich is that Hiram Thompson type of guard, just get into sets, and run the offense, sounds like he is vocal. However, he said his thing is defense. we shall see, Gib as any coach should do beginning of the season, open up All spots , so guys, even Fotu, Nevels, Smith will work hard for those spots as starters.

    Bobbitt, He was really great HS NorCal, player and very good at Indian Hills… and here is the big Reason: He broke His Left arm, a major, break, he still has that metal plate there and it is wrapped, Gib says causes him some pain, and he will baby it for now…Maybe that is the reason, he was not going full out on D or O.. trying to work into shape, and still protecting that arm, not going to dive on the floor, did see him harass Quincy quite a bit..Bobbitt, maybe when he is more healthy, and in game shape.. He will be that Elite JC guard we heard about..

    As we can see, at the guard rotation, Nevels, Smith, Bobbitt, Fleming.. also possibly Niko and Dyrbe, for Gib, he finally has a lot of guards that can handle the ball and score or dish. You are right about last year’s PG, he helped UH win 20 games plus the huge road win, and the one thing good about him, his assist to turnover ration, he hardly turned over the ball, except for that devastating loss to CSUN in BWC tourney, not a ball handling error, a bounds error..

    Looks like these group of young athletes, they look like the are coachable, if they Are, look out BWC and next couple of years.

  18. Horssse… correct about last year’s PG, great that he did help UH do well. Never could figure out why, he would dribble so much in the half court offensive sets.. Either Fotu or Christian were not sealing off their man and making themselves open for receive pass, or he was just listening to HC and waiting until those two bigs got open then he would pass or take a shot. It was frustrating.

    How UH opened up the first half of last year, that take shot in first 8 seconds, really exciting, and they scored a lot of points per game. BWC time, as Nevels says, they went flat physically and mentally. Have to develop a lot of guys to play at all spots to be fresh, Finish Strong for BWC tourney, that is what it boils down to. Actually like Irvine and LBSU before them.. win the BWC regular season, that guarantees the NIT bid, then win the BWC tourney, that is the Goal, the NCAA bid..
    However, only few days into practice, and whole team not back until later this week, so Gib is trying to get whole team healthy, … bet his practices during season, wlll not be as intense, make sure guys are okay, and not worn down.. As of now, majority are in great shape, Nevels, Smith, Reyes, Fleming, Valdes, look like they can run all day.

    Who plays, who starts, ONE TEAM.. ONE GOAL… Get the Win before self and personal stats.. and listen to coaches, …let the guys that want to step up take the big shots to win games, Fotu, Nevels, Fleming, Bobbitt, NWC.. whomever, step up.. by BWC time..

    Go Rainbow Warriors
    And for Tonganator.. Go The Mighty Warriors..!

    By the way Tonganator, HOW DID ELLA AND DANIEL DO WITH THEIR SCHOOLS playoff games for championships?

  19. I really like the overall athleticism of this team but the lack of depth on the inside might be a problem. I think Gib can do a lot of experimenting with this team where he can mix up the lineups to confuse the opponents. Some games can go big with Jovanovic, Fotu and Mike Thomas with guards Quincy and Nevels. Other games can go smaller with just Fotu running with Quincy, Nevels, Valdes and Negus. Throw in Bobbitt, Fleming, Filipovic and Sammis and that’s a lot of options without too much drop off. When Jankovic gets eligible and Jawato gets healthy, that just brings in some more weapons.

    Of course injuries and attitudes will become factors so it will be very interesting and exciting to see what ends up on the court when the real games start.

  20. Chuck C. agreed. Gib has athletes. Maybe not the tall Bigs, however that is the future recruit gets, the athletic shot blocking rim rocking 6’9″ to 7’0″ bigs who can play.

    Another contributor mentioned, REMEMBER BILL AMIS? A Recruit that came in, was actually a SF at 6’6″ out of HS and then to JC, then Bill grew to about 6′ 9 1/2″ 235..by senior year, he was really good shooting, and helpside shot blocking.
    So to develop Stefan Jankovich, Jovanovich, and future bigs, even overseas, that is okay.. harder to get the City bigs, however as Senque Carey, says, make it the mantra.. JUST TRY…go after the 3 -4 star Bigs and athletes, the big schools cannot get them all, The top 300 in the world..

    Chuck with all of the drama, of the other thing from March till, now.. a real delight to watch some UH hoops,
    As you say, should be interesting how team develops.. IF Truly the Believe As ONE OHANA.. Team goal win championships, whether play 5 minutes or 35 minutes, and Whole team sits together, not at end of bench..Stick together.. Team can be successful..

    Go Bows Go Warriors!

  21. Just watching the video and folks we can see that Fleming is really an attacker. But watch the vid from 10:50. This is what happens when a team shuts off his left hand shot. Just a wild throw out of bounds after he gets trapped in the air.

    NWC is a nice player, with a nice pedigree. But UH is in trouble if he is the alpha they are going to war with. Because Alan Williams at UCSB is an alpha, and I don’t see that in NWC.

    I’m just worried that it will be How To Train Your Dragon 2 all over again, with UH as the white wilderbeast.


  22. wish more students go to games. they will. hope Jamie smith back soon. he is good.
    team looks fast and hope they are in good health.should be exciting 19 home games

  23. It will be interesting to see what Gib does on offense. All of the post players except Fotu seem to more perimeter oriented players vs post up guys on the block. How will he be able to create shots for the bigs if the guards have a tough time penetrating against the defense.

  24. Horssse: Think it will be really different, definitely with Isaac Fotu and Sammis Reyes, Jankovich, even a very healthy Jawato on the court.

    Everything, might go, If Isaac Fotu is going good , team doing good. NWC..he is more that Point Forward…He can shoot the ball, even go to rim… Think he is deferring to Fotu, Nevels,..Will need as I have said, and many would agree, the whole team to have successful year.

    And remember, the guys just enrolled in fall session, and first practice was on Sat. Morning Oct 4 2014.. so in a month, HPU Exhibition game, Nov 6 2014 at SSC, we shall see an entirely Different looking squad..If Thomas and Valdes, continue their level of development, and as Gib says, bring it to the Game Time performance, that 3/4 spot will be good with Fotu leading the charge.

    Fleming, true threw the ball away, above video, Both Green and White, tried to run, a Ton of Turnovers, just a scrimmage, Now Gib will concentrate on turning team into a DEFENSE first team, team can score, AND turnovers by the guards, will go down, keep it at about 12 or less a game, AND average 80+ ppg, team will do well.

    3 words on videos open and scrimmage observations of UH team: STILL VERY EARLY…

    Yes UH fans, wait until the injured guys return, and about a month of practices, plus the exhibition with HPU , then we will know who are top 10… or more..Guards will have to protect the ball, and make good decisions.. Bobbitt and Fleming, new.. have to learn, all the other guys game…A young team with a lot of Potential… should be interesting, and Very Exciting Year..!

  25. Dayton did you get a chance to interview Rakocevic?

  26. Fotu is more like Alan Williams. You gotta be able to score from all points on the floor. NWC like Sensley is a rhythm type player in that he needs to get into the flow of the game. And he will get most of his points from beyond the arc. So that means some nights he will be cold and other nights hot. Moreover part of Chan’s effectiveness is in passing. He is great at setting up others, which was Sensley’s trademark too. Fotu on the other hand can score in all scenarios: inside, outside, rebounds, free throw line. Therefore Fotu—unless someone else has a hot hand—will be the go to guy.

  27. servante :

    That is a given. Really opened a lot of eyes on the International world stage in FIBA play.. Isaac can play with some of the Best on the planet. You are right, NWC, more a point guard/forward/Sensley mentality, or Mark Campbell, the scoring, not priority, however getting the team involved , getting the assists, etc.. we need his scoring, rebounding, defense too, NWC puts that into play, and you know Gib will play The guys who are BB smart and especially do well Defensively.. hey… we sound like all coaches in NCAA now.. sure guys can shoot or pass, however have to get D stops to win..May the 10-12 best defenders and strong finishers, be playing a lot this year.. A lot of talent..

    .Fotu is the Focal point, have him working with guys that really play their role, PLUS have a Nevels, NWC, Smith, Bobbitt, Jankovich, Fleming, Thomas , Valdes, step up on O and D..should be in the mix for that top 3 or 4 spots or better in BWC…long as team healthy on and off the court..Finish Strong, One Ohana.

  28. For those at the Green / White scrimmage, just my imagination or did Thomas, Valdes, Jovanovich, and Jankovich put on some weight from the UH Athletic MBB site roster posted weights.

    Thomas, listed at 210..he looks like at least 225
    Valdes, listed at 190…he says he is 210…he looks bigger than 190
    Jovanovich, listed at 235….He looks on video to be about 240+
    Jankovich, listed at 235…. looks to be about 240+…
    Bobbitt, definitely looks to be about 205 or thereabouts…

    Especially Mike Thomas, from first Open gym, looked muscular but thin, now looks to be a good weight at 6’7″
    I believe, Gib giving them the ligher workouts, and chance to rest and lift before the full bore practices, the guys were able to put on some good weight..

    Isaac Fotu, I think during summer, he said he was about 235+.. he has good height and size, can do it all.. Fotu, Nevels, lithe and strong, hops, Smith, hops and quick.. Niko The Little General, he is good PG… just run the show.. Dyrbe, he of the 808…UH has a lot of guards that will play.. good to keep fresh, if going to go up and down the floor and full court, and half court traps, pressure D..


  29. Entertaining fun night. Always exciting to see all the players new and old. Team looks real good. Some players looked like they were just going through the motions. Keep in mind it was a long day/night for the team. Tomas looks ready to contribute this year. Q looked strong and Bobbitt looked like he was still feeling himself and the team out. I still liked his conservative take care of the ball play. Valdes had a good night. Nevels also looks ready to play. Excited for the season to start.

  30. Senque was on sports animals, maybe you heard it too. He was saying the point guards are Quincy, Bobbitt and Niko. Does that make Fleming a shooting guard or wing ?

    He said he handles the guards and is the recruiting coordinator; Gib, the big men; Akana and Benji, the wings.

    He said recruiting is harder for UH, in that you can’t just make visits, unofficial, etc. to schools like you can when living on the mainland.

    Said he didn’t like to come here when he was on the visiting teams due to the distractions like the beach.

    I forgot the rest …

  31. islandman, missed Senque interview so Mahalo for the update. Geez, Fleming looks pretty good, guess he, Enos, Nevels #2.

  32. Also, Senque said the plan is to recruit the kinds of players that they couldn’t get before .

  33. After watching the scrimmage in person it seems like Jovanovic is still not ready to contribute. The walkons Stepteau and Buscher should redshirt since they can’t compete at this level yet. Bobbitt was not impressive at all, I’m hoping this is due to not being 100% yet from the arm injury. Fotu is going to need to avg 25 and 12 for us to finish top 2 in conference. He has the potential but I’m worried that the back issue will nag him the whole year. Those back issues need a lot of time to completely heal.

  34. I don’t see a top 5. Not even a top eight. At least for now. it depends on our opponent and defense capabilities. The scrimmage offered no clue, especially since three key players were held out. Valdez and Thomas have improved. we know what Nevels can do. Ditto with Fotu. There will be a battle at PG, although we need two. Webster-Chan low keyed his play. He has yet to demonstrate that he can take over a game when the need arises. There is talent and it will rest on Arnold on how he molds his team and whom he selects to run it when it counts. We need to wait to see who can bring it and separate from others. That is the bottom line. Should be a fun season for the home folks. Looking forward to a successful season.

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