Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors wary of Hilo; Autry is new assistant

This has all the makings of a “trap” game for a young team like the University of Hawai’i. The Warriors will host its Neighbor Island brother school Hawai’i-Hilo on Wednesday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The game comes two days before Warriors travel to Maui to face national power Pitt, and a day-and-a-half after a physically and emotionally draining loss to High Point in the championship game of the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Rainbow Classic.


The Warriors, though, are not overlooking the NCAA Division II Vulcans.

“We’re very focused, just because we lost yesterday,” senior captain Garrett Nevels said. “We want to get a win and we just want to punish another team right now.”

The Warriors are 2-1 and experienced a roller-coaster of games in the Rainbow Classic. They routed Arkansas-Pine Bluff, overcame a second-half deficit to beat Bakersfield, then blew a late-lead in the loss to High Point.

“It’s a long season,” Nevels said. “That was our first sign of adversity that we’ve seen in a real game. Next time it comes, we’ll respond to it the right way and pull it out.”

Balanced – and inconsistent – scoring has left the Warriors with four players averaging double-figure points after the first three games: Aaron Valdes (11.7), Roderick Bobbitt (11.0), Negus Webster-Chan (11.0) and Garrett Nevels (10.3).

Valdes leads the team in rebounding at 7.3, followed by Webster-Chan at 6.3; Bobbitt leads the team in assists at 5.0.

Freshman forward Sammis Reyes, who rejoined the team last week and was working his way into playing shape, may have suffered another setback on Tuesday. He departed practice with a hand injury and did not return, which puts his status for this week’s games in question.

UH-Hilo is 1-1 under second-year head coach GE Coleman. The Vulcans opened their season last week with road games in Washington. They beat Northwest Nazarene, 89-81, then lost at Western Washington, 84-73.

Tre Johnson, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, is Hilo’s top player. He is averaging 24.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, and has converted 18 of 26 field goals this season.

Starting guards Darnell Williams (5-10, Sr.) and Joey Rodriguez (6-0, Sr.) are both averaging 10.5 points per game.

Because of the midnight game against High Point, the Warriors did not have much time to scout the Vulcans.

“I don’t care,” Nevels said. “It’s all about us. We just have to work together more on the offensive side of the ball. Get the ball moving more and less one-on-one.”

— — — — — — —

The Warriors will get additional help this week in the form of new assistant coach Brad Autry. He participated in his first practice with the team on Tuesday.

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Autry most recently spent six seasons with Marquette University – two as an assistant coach and four as a coordinator of student-athlete development. When the head coach at Marquette, Buzz Williams, departed for another job at the end of the 2014 season, Autry opted to return to his family home in Oklahoma to help care for his ill mother.

As timing would have it, Autry’s mother got better as the Hawai’i assistant job became open.

“The biggest thing was that my mother got healthy,” he said. “It kind of gave me the conscience clearance to pursue anything anywhere. The timing was bad, obviously, so I just prayed for an opportunity and where ever God wanted me to go I would go. And, bam, Hawaii opened up.”

Autry also had previous stints at Baylor, Tulsa and Arkansas-Little Rock. He was a player at Northwestern Oklahoma State.

Autry said his duties will vary, and it is a multi-tasking role he is comfortable with.

“My coaching style is winning – I really like to win,” he said. “I guess my specialty would be whatever’s needed to be done. I don’t say that arrogantly, I mean that sincerely. Defense, offense, guards, bigs. I think over the course of my career I’ve dealt with every part of that.”

Although he has only had one full practice with the team, Autry said he was near the team bench during the loss to High Point and said he likes the group he has to work with.

“This team has a tremendous mentality for winning and competitiveness and I absolutely love that,” Autry said.

Autry’s hiring completes the coaching staff under acting head coach Benjy Taylor. Senque Carey and Brandon Loyd have already been working as assistants.

— — — — — — —

Game Info
Hawai’i (2-1, 0-0 Big West) vs. UH-Hilo (1-1, 0-0 PacWest)
When: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (Honolulu, O’ahu)
Television: Live on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: Live video streaming is available on Big West.tv for the UH-Hilo game
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
Promotions: Fantastic Sams Hair Salons is the game sponsor for the UH-Hilo game and will award prizes throughout the game. Fans can register to participate at the sports marketing table near Gate A.


  1. Glad to see that the coaching staff is at full strength, but it’s a bummer that Sammis has endured another setback.

  2. Welcome aboard Brad. Do you what tune it is ? …… It’s Warrior Time ! Protect the house !

  3. Sammis, oh man! This kid can’t catch a break. First the toe and now the hand. Well lets hope his hand heals as fast as his toe and he can be back soon.

    I also wish a welcome to new Coach Autry. He sounds like a very enthused and energy coach. Lets hope he can bring in some of the same recruits Marquette gets! Bring the next D-Wade to Hawaii!

  4. Good luck Warriors! I know I’m still recovering from staying up the previous night to watch the heartbreaker against High Point. Need to rally and come out strong, get the W and move on. Let’s go Bows!

  5. Aloha, coach Bra:

    Welcome to Paradise, just could not be any “SOONER”!

    You love coach Benj & Hawaii; We love your Aloha Spirit & willingness to Kokua!

    You two looked like Bra(s) i.e. Brothers in Hawaiian-
    Whether your facial outline or body features are amazingly simular.
    Philosophically, you are categorized as “Great minds think alike”!

    The great Q was inherited by luck but, UCLA Bran, now Marquet Bra-
    Coach Benj, timing was perfect, what an excellent twosome that lady luck allowed you to picked!

    JMHO, this “Quadruple of Luck” is what Hawaii needs for decades!?

  6. Is it his right or left hand? If it’s left Sammis can come back sooner. Shooting hand will take some time to get the touch back. Coach Autry got some credentials there. We need someone like him. Thank you God.

  7. X-Rays for Sammis today, per Brian M.

  8. With a crazy week of games and a big game on Friday vs Pitt, I won’t be the least bit surprised UH-Hilo pulls off the upset if UH overlooks tonight’s game along with increasing the rotation to try to save the legs for Friday.

    5 games in 7 days… add in a 3 game tournament in Florida next week and that’s 8 games in under 2 weeks.

    Just me griping, but… I still am not sure why UH is scheduling D2 schools as regular season games. This game vs UH-Hilo should be a pre-season exhibition game, not a regular season game. It’s been 5 years since UH had 2 exhibition games before the regular season started. There’s been a D2 school each of the last 5 seasons played as a regular season game.

    These games vs lower level schools should be exhibitions to help the team tune up for the season. By playing one as a regular season game, it takes away using this as a tune up to experiment with lineups and concepts.

  9. FUHA I agree. The scheduling has been less than desirable the past couple of years. Look at the wahine’s schedule and you can see that they went with a really tough pre-season slate that usually pays dividends during their conference play. There is nothing to gain by scheduling a D2 team as a regular season opponent. We should try to schedule WCC teams and low level PAC12 teams to build our SOS and keep travel to a minimum.

  10. One team has Pikeville, Georgetown (KY) , Grand Canyon and Buffalo as its first four games. The first two are NAIA schools .

    Name of the team with those on its schedule ? Kentucky .

  11. This schedule wasn’t made overnight guys. Dont forget who was the coach when this schedule was put together and he had a good reason to schedule D2 teams. Its called $$$. Not his fault either. I think the AD put in the contract that 20 wins equals extension and didn’t say anything about no D2s. Any coach in his right mind in that situation would do the same.

    I also heard on the radio that this Hilo game was a free game on schedule for UH and had something to do with the Florida Golf Coast tournament. I wasn’t sure if was Bobby C or Dickman interviewing Gib but was a while back when the schedule first came out. I think they said all the teams in the Florida tournament got to schedule a D2 game at home as part of the tournament payout or something like that.

  12. The Wahine also play BYUH and Hawaii Pacific in their season schedule this year in December.

    Laura B. said something about it’s harder for the men to schedule bigger name schools to come to Hawaii. You have to guarantee money or something. And it may become more difficult for the women later too .

  13. Given UH’s financial situation, I’m surprised UH isn’t going on the road more often for payday games vs bigger programs. Even if UH is outgunned, it’s a good experience for the team to play vs the elite teams in big arenas. Also reminds them that the SSC is the best arena in the Big West by a wide margin.

    I don’t think it would be overly difficult for UH to set these games up. Maybe even set up a home-home series to energize the SSC. The only road block the past couple years to averaging 7-8,000 fans to the SSC has been the schedule. Other than the Diamond Head Classic, there has not been a single visiting team worth coming out to watch for the casual fan. The 2014 DHC only really has Wichita St as a draw, but many casual fans don’t know anything about them.


    Also, I’m not a fan of the live tv broadcast. Unless it’s sold out, there should be a blackout for Oahu residents. It’s too convenient for people to stay home and watch. Maybe set up a PPV stream for bars/restaurants to broadcast live. In addition to a tv revenue bump for UH, it would also spur the local economy by getting people out to watch the game and buy food/beverages at their favorite spot.

    For business that order the PPV, they could have a special “Viewing Spots” page on the UH Athletics website along with their own advertising to drive fans to their business. It’s basically the UFC model, go check their website and they have a great page dedicated to locations that will broadcast the PPV.

  14. Aloha and Mahalo for completing a very good staff Coach Autry
    Now , work with the guys and, help them to play on O as a team, not so much one on one, Team ball, Nevels is right, G is a catch and shoot, need space, and get the ball to him at his spot,, Aaron Valdes, as Benjy said on last nite’s Coaches show, Aaron his 3 ball stroke is so good, they want him on ball reversal to shoot more 3′s he is a weapon..
    Very excited, Fans.. just have to continue play nation’ leader Team D and get that Half court and transition O as a team, look for the open man, not always coast to coast.. Team will be good.
    UH Hilo, they start bombing and making 3′s , get out to lead, not good.. However, I believe, UH is take very, very seriously this DII game matchup will be ready..

    And Friday, if the do not look ahead tonite.. Pitt, though we love Jamie Dixon.. we want to see an upset on Maui..

    And PLEASE OC16 of any game you should broadcast, IN STATE.. do the Maui game live .. sheesh. that is when we need the Warrior Rainbow Sport network to provide a statewide and global fanbase, the live coverage.

    Go Rainbow Warriors.. loving the staff, and team will do well.

    Sammis, again hang in there.. hope only bruise, or small fracture, that can heal by time of DHC, or BWC..

  15. Also, Kentucky has Montana St. on its schedule, ranked 333 in the Pomeroy ratings.

    DHC has other high rated teams besides Wichita St, such as Nebraska, George Washington, Colorado.

  16. Agree on the live telecast. Black out on Oahu unless sold out

  17. Ever since No. 4 Michigan St. lost to UH in 2005, it has been harder to schedule bigger name teams to play UH in Honolulu. The coach, Tom Izzo, was complaining about something after the game . He complained that fans were booing his player who was cramped up on the floor, etc. (that story is not in the link below but can be found on the internet).

    “When they were booing, that kid was in absolute pain from his neck to his feet,” Izzo said. “I’ll be honest with you, that was the maddest I’ve ever been as a basketball coach since I’ve been in college.”

    The crowd of 8,802 booed as the game was delayed for several minutes.”


  18. Here’s the link on the game i meant to post. That 2005 team that beat Michigan St. had Lojeski, Sensley & Nash .


  19. Black out, and PPV expensive, 50 dollars a game if in Hawaii, that would cover expenses., generate income, and the real fans, hey.. we listen to games on radio, have done so since the sixties. either way, or delayed the next day… UH is getting there.. Unusual that even when OC16 took over they live cast and OC.com live stream if you have account.. around the globe,

    Would have to wait until next round of talks with rights to UH sports broadcasts.. Black out or not, a lot of fans, who have to work, are caregivers, or old like some of us.,, we listen to radio online or over airways..

    However, to generate interest, in MBB program, some select games, LIKE PITT on Maui, if UH gets that upset. will draw casual interest fan, and the empty seat fans to come to games. however, UH, is a bedroom and home bound community. always will be, unless UH sports teams just winning a lot every season and going to NCAA’s every year.. Only WVB like that for past 30 + years, ..

    You Know WHO SHOULD MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF ATTENDEES AT THE GAME.. The Students.. that is what they are trying to do.. if you have 3000 Students at every game, making up 1/3 of in house attendance, like the 2500 or so that was at the ESPN late nite game, that fanbase is what makes it College Experience. great.. watched the St Mary; and funny did not see or hear about.. Don’t want to go there.. sorry, on bench.. however, that gym about 2500, and SSC is 10300 with staff, maybe possibly close to 11000 if sold out.. REally great MBB and VB venue, the best in BWC bar none!

  20. Sammis does have a broken hand, you think he should red shirt ?

  21. Izzo must be one big crybaby. He got mad when fans boo??? I heard some college arenas shout profanities and personal insults at the players and Izzo is all hot and bothered over “BOO!”??????

    Maybe he expected Hawaii fans to just sit down, shut up and admire his team like some kind of love struck teenager. I guess he had to explain the lost to a lowly UH team so I guess calling out the fans is the next best thing. He cannot blame the refs cause they was no local refs. Lost a lot of respect for the man that day. Should have gave UH their dues instead of crying like a baby over boos.

  22. Islandman, you just struck a memory nerve as I was at that Michigan St. game. I must say that I might be guilty of starting that booing that night. I was caught up in the Madness but being a former person that wore the stripes, I noticed that Izzo brought in a couple of Big Ten refs, one who I “had” a lot of respect for. He took every 50/50 call Spartan’s way and then some.

    When the cramp occurred in front of the bench, they let him stay on the ground and I counted, for 12 minutes. He was half on the court and half off the court. The officials allowed him to use the time to try and let his team regroup. All it would have taken was to move him a few feet and the game and our momentum would have continued.

    If Izzo was really mad, it should have been at the way his staff prepared & hydrated his team.

    Nice UH Memory though and you are right…that is why even if you build it, they ain’t going to come here!

    Another game tonight…GO BOWZ

  23. I was there too and people were booing the long delay and felt Izzo was using time to regroup. Lot of people not even aware of the cramps. UH fans would never boo an injured player. Izzo can be a jerk, especially when he gets spanked by some “little” school in the middle of the ocean. He should have walked off some of that steam like Knight did when Indiana lost

  24. Irvine up by 3 @ Arizona with 8 min left but loses by 17. They will be tough

  25. Kahuna, your comment has a ring of truth.

    BackBeat, thanks for clarifying why the fans booed with your eyewitness report .

    In 2004, the Michigan St. football team lost to UH 41-38 ( Tim Chang and Chad Owens had 4 TD’s) and they complained about the officiating. They did have a lot of penalties, many for holding. Were they local officials ?

  26. Keepitreal, good comment too .

  27. ChuckCheese , looks like you are right about the Hilo game being connected to the Florida tournament. On the gulf coast showcase website, it lists:


    Bristol University
    University of Illinois-Springfield
    North Carolina Wesleyan College
    Notre Dame de Namur University
    University of Hawaii at Hilo

  28. Aloha Warrior Insiders. My vacation is over and I’m on my way to the airport. Hope to be back in Hawaii before the start of conference play, but If the ESPN Midnight Blackout game ends up being my last game, at least I went out on a high in terms of student attendance and atmosphere. Such a shame the team couldn’t hold on for the W. Get yourselves down to the Stan Sheriff Center to support our team, it will be a little bit quieter without me there screaming my head off in the stands. We need some of you to step up in my absence!

  29. At the game and listen to Bobby and portnoy. Jeff has not said one thing positive about Warriors. What a tool. Pisses me off.

  30. At game too. Ok, Valdez positive. NWC? 3 fouls, 0 pts. Gotta do better than that

  31. Bobbitt has some quick hands. Pesky.

  32. Jamie Smith, if behalf of WI UH MBB nation , we thankyou for generating unheard of student support for UH team. The energy is there, and really hoping things work out that you will be with UH before BWC starts.. you started something great, with Gib as the catalyst.. hard work paid off, and I think you trained ones very well to carry on.

    Jimmmy the Brit.. take care, and hope you are back soon.
    First rate guy, that Jamie Smith, super Warrior Fan!
    I hope 1000 students on weekends will come out to games and support..
    This team, might be shorthanded, however I really believe they have a shot, as well as any BWC team to win the BWC tournament. Just think Cal Poly, Cal Poly..
    NCAA hoops dream !!

    Aloha Jamie and mahalo. (hope they work on getting you back to UH and Hawaii !!)

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