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Time to focus on the games

The whirlwind of drama known as the preseason for the University of Hawai’i basketball team is finally over.

The Warriors will begin the 2014-15 season on Friday night, when they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff on the opening night of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Over the course of 17 days, the Warriors lost a head coach, one assistant coach and their star player; the previous associate coach was promoted to acting head coach, and he has been implementing a new system with the help of just one full-time assistant coach and one acting assistant coach; a touted freshman player – Sammis Reyes – asked for a release from his scholarship, then asked to return to the team two weeks later; several key players sustained injuries, on and off the court.

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In effect, those 17 days seemed like 17 years. But now, finally, the Warriors can focus on an opponent.

“We’re ready,” acting head coach Benjy Taylor said. “We’re competitive. We got good legs. We’re in good shape. We’re ready to see somebody else and play some games.”

Thanks in part to all the changes, there is a sense of mystery to the season opener. Only one starter – senior guard Garrett Nevels – is back from last season’s 20-win Hawai’i team. “We have one returning starter, so they’ll have to guess at us, too,” Taylor said.

Nevels will be one of eight players expected to get the bulk of the playing minutes. The others are guards Roderick Bobbitt, Quincy Smith and Isaac Fleming, wings Aaron Valdes and Negus Webster-Chan, and post players Mike Thomas and Stefan Jovanovic.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting team,” said Smith, who saw significant time as a back-up point guard last season. “We’re going to get after it defensively. We’re going to get a lot of steals, a lot of fast breaks. Offensively, we still have to find our identity – what our roles are. But overall I think we’re going to play hard, play tough.”

Like Hawai’i, Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a guard-oriented team. The Golden Lions finished 13-18 overall last season, and 11-7 in the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC). They were picked to finish fourth in the 10-team SWAC during the preseason by the conference coaches.

“They have three good guards,” Taylor said or Pine Bluff. “They’ll be scrappy, they’ll play hard. They’ll go for steals. We’ll have to play very well to beat them.”

The Golden Lions return their starting backcourt, and both are 6-foot seniors. Mark Mosley averaged 13.6 points and 2.6 assists per game last season; Tevin Hammond averaged 13.1 points and 4.7 assists. Hammond also led the team with 57 3-pointers and 83 steals in just 29 games, while Mosley added 47 3-pointers and 61 steals.

The Golden Lions traveled more than 4,000 miles to get to Honolulu, but it is just the start of a somewhat ridiculous pre-conference schedule. Pine Bluff will play 14 consecutive away games to start its season, and its first home game is scheduled for January 3. The road slate includes games in seven different states (Hawai’i, Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, Nevada and California).

The Warriors, meanwhile, are hoping that hometown fans will come out in force to support a team that has already been through an emotional preseason ride.

“We’re definitely counting on the fan support,” Smith said. “Just come out there and cheer us on. That’s who we play for. Of course we play for each other but we definitely play for the state of Hawai’i and all the fans that cheer us on.”

Friday’s game is part of a doubleheader. High Point will play Cal State Bakersfield in the first game at 5 p.m.

The UH student section – also known as the Manoa Maniacs – held a campout outside the Sheriff Center on Thursday night. The first students in the ticket line on Friday morning received seats in the front rows of the student section.

Friday is also “Warrior Tattoo Night” and paint stations will be set up outside the arena for students who want to have temporary tattoos painted on themselves.

On Saturday, High Point will take on Arkanas-Pine Bluff at 5 p.m., followed by Hawai’i vs. Cal State Bakersfield at 7:30 p.m. Satuday is also “Star Wars Night” and the first 700 UH students through the turnstiles will receive Lightsabers.

GAME INFO

What: 50th Annual Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic
Who: Hawai’i (0-0, 0-0 Big West) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-0, 0-0 SWAC)
When: Friday, Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, O‘ahu
Tickets: Lower level – $26; upper level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens (65-older), $5 for students (ages 4-18). Parking is $6.
Television: Live on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on Big West.tv.
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, KTOH on Kaua’i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com

Promotions: Outrigger Resorts is the tournament sponsor and will distribute 1,000 “rollabannas” each night, beginning one hour prior to each UH game. Also, Outrigger will award up to $2,000 each night during the popular “Shoot for Loot” contest at halftime. Kids can sign up to to be a lucky winner in the Outrigger Keiki & Tween Prize Giveaway. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic, Outrigger will award a prize at Friday’s game to the first 50 people that present their ID showing that they turn 50 in 2014. Also, Outrigger will award a prize at Saturday’s game to the fan wearing the oldest Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic t-shirt. Monday’s midnight game is a “Black Out” and fans are asked to wear UH-branded black shirts, which can be purchased at H-Zone stores at Ward Center and the Stan Sheriff Center.

UH Student Promotions: Friday’s game is “Warrior Tattoo Night” and the best painted student wins a GoPro. Saturday’s game is “Star Wars Night” and the first 700 students receive a free Lightsaber. Monday is a “Black Out” and the first 700 students receive a free black t-shirt.

28 Comments

  1. Malasada in the morning ! Sammis shows good rhythm . Good comments by Quincy.

  2. Did any players stay at the camp out ? Better to be at home getting a good night’s sleep.

  3. Lookin’ forward to a fun night tonite.
    Go get ‘um Warriors!!!

  4. islandman:

    I am so impressed by the coaches, the athletes, and the fanbase. throughout this ordeal of past 17 days, and really about 7 months.. It has had a gavalnizing affect on UH MBB nation.
    Hope the team has good first game. Team settles in, along with good fan support.
    islandman, keep up the great updates and questions on several fronts !!
    NOW get ready for some UH MBB hoops! Team staying positive and together, they keep that tight, through wins or losses, come March , they can do fine..

    Go Bows. Go Warriors!!

    Eagle, warriorhaw, servante, josh, jjay, Chuck C., Horsse., Bigfan, 808, Palolo Warrior, and so many others including bigdaddy, Tonganator, and of course The Valdes’ Ohana. Get Ready to Rock the Rock at the Stan Sheriff Center.. One game at a time !!!

    🙂

  5. Following the lead of Eagle from the previous comments, this is a great site and thank you to Dayton and the Schmidts for allowing us die hard fans to see the ins and outs of the team. The articles and videos here have really give me a new appreciation of the team and what they are going through. Just a few weeks ago, you could see the sadness in all the faces and hear it in the voices. Now you can see and hear the excitement and confidence back.

    Now lets go get a win tonight!

  6. Runbows, others; Sammis was going to take a recruiting trip today but changed his mind after a long talk with Senque and then he talked to Benji and then Quincy and Nevels.

    But he has to learn the plays and get in condition, per newspaper article.
    ———————————————————————

    The PIne Bluff guards were 5th and 16th in the nation in steals last season.

  7. Sammis that’s what is called the aloha spirit as everyone has welcomed you back with open arms and no hard feelings. There is no place like it on earth and in the days, weeks, months, and years you will say it was all worth it to play out your collegiate career in Hawaii. Mahalo nui loa, and for those that can make it, see you all at the Stan Sheriff. The waiting is over! Let the party begin!

  8. Yahooooo!!! Ok today is the day. Begin start of a new era. Hope for tons of people.

    RunBows there in spirit. We feel you bra!

    700 students strong. All with sabers.

    Go Bows!!!!!

  9. Hey 15Champs + Staff,

    Am impressed by your showings and doing it RIGHT from the beginning!

    Admirable progresses permeating all around-
    Be suprised if we don’t tamed those lions by 15pts or better (money).

    Establish our STANDARD now, gang!

  10. Time for BenjyBall!

    I have a good feeling about this team and Coach Benjy. Glad all the noise is gone and it’s finally time to get real. Lets go Warrior Dogs!

  11. My vote for MVP of the preseason is Dayton Morinaga.
    Thank you Dayton.
    M-V-P!!

  12. For now until the NCAA finding comes out. Don’t know how may still feel badly for the Arnold Family. I do for he is a father with children that he is still financially responsible for. He made a commitment to Hawaii when he purchased a home here showing he wanted to make Hawaii home forever. (However only he knows that)

    When the finding comes out and he is responsible for breaking of rules that could be minor and corrected, then consideration for reinstatement is deserved. If the findings were bad really bad that was beyond reproach, then the removal without cause may have been a blessing to him, giving him the time to put his career back on track and more importantly his family matters.

    Here is hoping for the best for the Arnold Ohana. Now go out and win Rainbow Warriors.

  13. Not an Expert…. great comments , however a little off the topic… How do You and Eagle and Valerie Schmidt get that Green colored font for your user name? Is is a feature of Word Press or is it a download plug in? I was curious, shows that along with NOW hundreds, well at least I count another dozen or so NEW fans of the forum who have been following the trials, AND THE NOISE, which Dayton will correct.. It is all about coaches, the Team and their Ohana.

    I agree with you, as do thousands of faithful supporters of pono, Hawaii, the UH, and Admin all the way up to Governor/ Legislature, get University from top to bottom fixed.. It should be THE TOP School Academically and Athletically in the mid Pacific.. without question..

    THE HUMAN ELEMENT.. I follow your posts, on about 3 different forums,.. that is what you are talking about, the human factor, doing right by PEOPLE.. including the ex coaches and athlete departed.. Coach Arnold was passionate.. and we wait that thing out.. what if? reversal.. what if.. not a severe death blow, ? what IF like St Mary.s the limit in things and still Post Season?

    I think that letter whenever comes down, it will give UH, and the Admin ,.. better get it right.. the appeal and Betterment, that they say for UH student athletes, they will use all their resources to make sure that these 15 great young guys and their families and fans, will see good days ahead.. if
    it were bad as alleged, we accept.. if not, .. well who knows.. if there is REVERSAL complete.. and apologies, Remember the HUMAN Element.. what went down affected, 3 families, 2 coaches and one ex UH MBB star..

    We MOVE on , and Not an Expert, you sure are an expert ! You sure you not Jim or Kanoa L. ?
    Great job, fellow fan, and pono.. citizen.. UH will have to get it right..

    For NOW.. enjoy season, Benjy Ball and 15, give em!!

    Go Warriors!! Go Bows !!
    🙂

  14. warriorhaw, Eagle, and all the die hard, whomever on the court or coaching for the Rainbow Warriors.. shout out, cheer, and Let’s Go Bows !!
    I be listening for you all, hopefully, I would not doubt 5000, or little more.. with Sammis back, look out. .. can be some rock and roll, Slamming Sammis..!!

    warriorhaw, get ready to Rock that SSC..

    And , man I is shaking…….)))) !!!!!, Go Bows !
    🙂
    Eagle, man, IT IS FINALLY HERE, Jump ball, Pine-Bluff the 3 athletic, shoot first guards, get steals, just might be a great up and down game,.. however, UH can get good shots inside, with Thomas, Valdes, Jovanovich, drive and dish the dime, AND ONE!!

    Go Bows !!

    Yeee Haaaa.. Cheeeeehoooooo!!
    🙂

  15. RunBows,

    you get the green font if you enter your Website below your Email address when you make a comment.

  16. My apologies to the men’s hoops team for not being there tonight. In the Bay Area in hopes that the football team can end it’s losing streak…GO BOWS !!!!!

  17. By the way…”Slammis”…great to have you back !!!!!!!!!!

  18. islandman:

    Rock on , and Mahalo Bro.. Go Warriors.. man, I tell you islandman, however season goes, what a shot in the arm of something positive, the negativity, surrounding athletics and the world, really gets to all of us..Well for now

    Go Bows!!

    And Thanks, now I can go green!!
    🙂

  19. Bball is Back!

    If you are near your computer, check out the Long Beach State game at BYU…its halftime.

    LBSU is playing without their best outside shooter, Lamb, (2 game suspension), and both teams are pushing it up and down. Where The Beach was weak last year with height…not this year. They have some real athletic Bigs. They have 8 O Rebounds in the first half and BYU is not small.

    Everything is running thru Caffey who may have just tweaked his ankle, but they are very athletic. If they are said to come in third in the BWC, I hate to see how much UCSB and Irvine have improved.

    47-46 halftime…The Beach.

    http://www.byutvsports.com/gameday/game/?id=8cc199cb-ad3e-4dd8-b841-063bd9211d64

    GO BOWZ

  20. RunBows, great you got green. Frankly speaking I did not know why I gad the green.

    Thanks again for the positive feedback. You must be one of the most positive person on any blog in Hawaii. Your family must be proud of your character. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the rest of the people who frequent this site.

    Props to Dayton for all the hard work he has done to make this site a very positive and informative place to visit.

  21. Sammis not in uniform tonight, per sports animals.

  22. I’ll be at the football game too, but will be back for the games next week.

  23. How sweet and exciting this is?

    Our 15 lovely Waihine gotten an OT win with 61-58!!!

    Mahalo, Coach-Staff.

  24. 1st game. Triple OT

  25. 5th OT period now

  26. correction, 4th OT period

  27. game on! 22 min. Till tip off. Then it’s finally Warrior Time !!

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