Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

First Big West road test of season is this week

The University of Hawai’i basketball team has already been to Florida and Utah this season. A “short” trip to Los Angeles should be no problem – logistically, at least.

The Warriors are scheduled to depart Honolulu on Thursday afternoon for Los Angeles. They will play a Big West Conference game against UC Riverside on Saturday evening at Riverside, California. It is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time) and will be televised on ESPNU.

“I think those road trips we took earlier in the year prepared me for the back and forth to California that we’re about to start doing,” said junior point guard Roderick Bobbitt. “Basketball-wise I know I’ll be good. It’s just school-wise, being gone for two weeks at the end of the month will be tough, but we’ll be fine.”


The Warriors are scheduled to arrive at their Riverside hotel on Thursday night – right around the time when UC Riverside and UC Davis will be ending their game that same night.

“I say it’s both, bad and good,” Bobbitt said of playing just one game this week. “Of course we want to get out there and get as many games in as we can. But knowing that we only have one game, we can get really prepared for this.”

The Warriors will have a new member of the travel party for this trip in sophomore Stefan Jankovic. The 6-foot-11 forward was ineligible for the first 11 games of the season due to NCAA transfer rules, so he did not travel with the team on the Florida and Utah trips.

“I’m excited,” Jankovic said. “Personally, I love traveling. Road games, as far as I can remember, they’re the funnest because you’re at an away team’s arena. The fans, they’re all heckling you and yelling at you. You hit a big shot, any kind of shot and they all keep quiet.”

The Warriors will need Jankovic and others to hit big shots, because starters Garrett Nevels and Negus Webster-Chan remain questionable. Nevels still has his right hand wrapped after undergoing surgery on December 31. He sat out the last two games.

Webster-Chan has been unable to practice this week due to illness. Both he and Nevels are scheduled to travel with the team on Thursday.

Redshirt freshman guard Niko Filipovich took a hard fall during Tuesday’s practice, and he is also now questionable.

“We’ve been practicing like that for the last month – guys in and out with the flu, and backs and knees and ankles, thumb,” head coach Benjy Taylor said. “We just have to make do.”

In addition to a win, Jankovic is also hoping for another thing on this road trip – a good seat on the plane. When asked which players get priority for the aisle, bulkhead and exti row seats, he responded: “Oh come on, tall guys. I mean, Garrett’s my guy and he’s a senior and everything, but he’s 6-2, 6-3. I’m 6-11, you got Stef (Jovanovic) 6-11 … especially five hours. That’s not a short flight. I don’t want my knees cramping and stuff like that.”


  1. They need to carry with them some Airborne pills because the airplane’s air circulation is full of germs and bacteria. I take them during the winter time once a day and any time I might be coming down with something. Costco has the large size I think 100 chewing ones for about $20. Expensive but if you can stop or limit the cold or flu it’s great Insurance for the whole team. And it’s good for you too. 1000mg of vitamin C and other herbs. It works. I would take 2 or 3 during the trip cause germs everywhere: airport, plane, people, cold weather. And hope everyone got their flu shots. Good luck Warriors!

  2. Gib had good saying, boys win at home, MEN win on the road…

    Go Bows.. Defense, rebounding, loose balls, take care of the ball, execute, and come home with a nationally televised win.. Cali home, or new found home for Jovanovich, Niko, Nevels, Smith, Bobbitt, Jawato, and Mike Thomas.. I hope at Riverside, TribeVx4, Mamma Valdes and Ohana will be out in force, same with the Thomas’ ohana and friends, G Money, and Jawatos, all the NorCal, friends and family that might drive down…. UH Green and White in the house..

    Make noise Hawaii MBB fans..
    Go , .. the effort, from BYU on the road, to Pitt on Maui, to 2 out of 3 wins, on incredible road swing to Florida.. I believe the guys are READY..EFFORT, EXECUTION and ELATION.. go for the win, and be 2-1, chasing the first place team behind by 1 game..

    Go Rainbow Warriors !!
    Dayton…Mahalo for videos too, when able to go with great sponsorship.. or the video interviews by the guys !!

  3. Who is healthy?
    Janks, Jovanovich, Bobbitt, Fleming, Valdes, Thomas, Smith, Enos, Jawato..

    Gotta do what championship teams do.. Next man up.. this team resilient.. seems from beginning, player defections, coaches gone, players injured or ill, or not eligible yet.. So UH MBB never, ever this year so far.. had a 100% healthy and available 12 guys.. even some on the bench, banged up, or NWC had virus last game.. no wonder..And G Money,..interesting if he plays with special wrap.

    If not.. Stef I, Stef II, Rod, Isaac, Aaron, Mike, Quincy, Dyrbe, Brandon Wato.. just go for it.. now is the time get the win, even if you are down to six guys..That is the sign of true Warriors..
    And these guys should consult exams with team doctor, make sure have shots, vitamins, hydration, warm clothes, proper diet, and of course.. lots of rest, which is hard.. I don’t think this team will be distracted in LA..hey this team almost wen 3-0 on a horrific, Florida journey across 6 time zones, .. THEY are ready.. these guys, the Rainbow Warriors will fight.. and come out with a win.. if they stick to scout, and execute.. Taylor Johns.. a mini Alan Williams, guy jumps out of the gym..however. he will have to face 5 Warriors at a time.. with the Defense, defense.. turn them over.. and UH HAVE TO REBOUND THE BALL.. on O and D glass… can come out with the W.

  4. Yesterday, Jackson had a contest,something like “How many other basketball teams besides UH have not played a “natural” road game so far this season ? ”

    The answer according to him was none. I don’t know if he was saying of only the Big West teams. But the answer should have been at least one other (Oregon), if you look at the RPI website which lists the “Road” and ” Neutral” games.


    For discussion, he also said Pitt, Nebraska and Colorado are not NCAA tourney teams this year. But he did say the UH team is fun to watch and Benji is doing an incredible job, so far. Reminded that Valdes was originally a walk-on and is now the best on the team; Nevels is missed, etc. That Isaac is 20 years old, went to prep school.

    Johnny White is a glass half or 3/4 full rather than half empty person. Said Isaac brings energy, etc.

  5. How many possessions does UH have during a game ? Last game they had 81.5 above their average of 71.7 , which average was 71.3 last year.

    You can probably figure out how many were caused by steals, turnovers,defensive rebounds, scores by the other team, etc. Couldn’t find the possessions stat on the UH box scores.

    Kentucky, Virginia, Wichita St., Gonzaga, have lower possession per game stats, BYU higher . This means ?


  6. Hey islandman thanks for the updates on the PoopTalk but it gets me so irritated sometimes when I hear about the way Jackson talks about the team now. Its like he was never part of the program because those who were always speak proudly even after all the stuff with Gib and Akana going on. Either that or something happened with Jackson to make him bitter about the whole program now, I don’t know.

    He always makes the back hand comments like saying Pitt, Nebraska and Colorado not NCAA tourney teams to make it look like those wins were not good.

    If he think he can do better and recruit better players, he should be coaching someplace! Maybe he bitter that he could never land another coaching job after UH.

  7. I think it was Islandman who mentioned Benji on the radio a few days ago that he’s going to stop trying to make Jankovic primarily an inside player and allow him to be himself… which is more of a perimeter player.

    Personally, I think Jankovic can be both if he wants to… there are moments that he posts up on a smaller opponent and uses his size to go up strong… there are moments when he lines up just past the 3-pt line, waits for his opponent to rush at him, then passes it towards Negus or Valdes cutting to the basket.

    … Then, there are moments when Jankovic just lines up at the 3-point line and takes the shot. When Janks is relaxed and in rhythm, I think he has the purest and quickest 3-pt release…. even purer than Negus or Nevels. But when he forces shots, he is the easiest to get flustered…. and then he just makes bad decisions.

    Bottom line… when Jankovic is into the rhythm of the game, he could be the 2nd most dangerous player on Hawaii’s offense. When he’s forcing shots, it’s ugly. Black and white… Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  8. I always like to listen to the interviews of other coaches on Hoops Talk and get their perspective. Last night’s guest was coach Dennis Cutts of UH’s next opponent, UC Riverside. Here’s a recap:

    Wheeler asks Cutts about hosting Davis on Thursday and Hawaii on Saturday. Says he knows last week they went to Fullerton and beat them in OT, but loss at Irvine.

    Cutts says they lost some players and some people thought they were going to take a step back but he feels like they’re a little more balanced on both ends of the floor. Taylor Johns has really had a great non-conference season and a good conference season so far. They were up 18 at Fullerton in the 1st half but had to battle to pull out the win there in OT. Irvine was coming off a loss to Long Beach and played them like it was a must-win game.

    In response to a question from Wheeler about Hawaii, Cutts says you have to really take care of the ball against them and deal with their pressure. If you can get quality shots, and make them play you 5 on 5 in the half court, you got a chance. But you can’t turn the ball over in the back court. He watched the Hawaii games in the Classic, like the Wichita State game, and said they looked really athletic and were able to drop down to smaller lineups and give opponents trouble. He thinks handling Hawaii’s pressure is going to be the #1 key in the game.

    In response to a question from Johnny White about how he thinks coach Benjy Taylor is doing, Cutts says it’s been pretty remarkable watching from the outside. He doesn’t know all the details but anytime you’re thrown into that kind of situation as an assistant taking over, you’re always trying as a head coach to deal with all the personalities on the team and it looks like he has. They’re playing very hard and Taylor’s emotional on the sideline and he’s got them competing at a very high level.

    In response to a question from Wheeler about current conference leader UC Davis, Cutts says they’ve had some good wins, like the Long Beach win at home, which was a big one. They finished last last year in the conference but they had 3 key guys sitting out and they’re real strength this year is that they have four 5th year seniors. They’re old, mature, and they’ve had exceptional play from Hawkins. Watching him on film and if you look at his stats, it’s like he’s playing a video game. He’s shooting 50% from the 3, and he’s making shots at an unbelievable level. If he can sustain that, then they’re going to be tough as they have some good balance and some other shooters around him. They’re guarding harder than any Davis team he’s seen since he’s been in the league. They’re really playing at a high level. Will have to see how they play on the road as they haven’t been challenged too much away from home.

    In response to a question from Wheeler about Taylor Johns, Cutts says he’s a 3rd year guy, made a good jump last year, has worked on his game and is still developing. Plays the 4, is an athletic kid that plays hard and can score in a number of ways. He’s been their energy guy all year and their leader. He’s averaging 17 ppg and 9 rgp, which are big numbers for them as a junior. They’re excited about this year’s team and this year, but feels like they’ll have a strong team next year, too.

    Interview ends.

  9. ChuckCheese: Real indication of whether Jackson is a True Supporter of whomever coach of MBB team, and the University, the current athletes..Just wondered, if he goes to practices.. I think he said, he had Isaac Fotu? in one of his classes? Wonder if he teaches at UH?
    And, if Jackson is A SEASON TICKET holder to MBB games?

    Otherwise, … if UH MBB, just does incredible and makes it to the NCAA tournament, wins the BWC regular season title, and if does not win BWC tourney, wins some games in the NIT.. what would Jackson say?
    It is Back Handed, with a slap on the old rear end, compliments.. If UH, like that 2000 Costas T. led MVB team that won National Title, vacated.. UH MBB if they by some wonderful ride won the National Title? What would he say.. ahhh.. NCAA teams were weak this year.. anybody could have won it.

    Same with Jeff Potnoy’s observations.. still puzzles me, a BOR chairman, having talk show, and he discussing UH MBB and even ncaa thing.. plus color guy, Gary Dickman or Johnny White would be better.. Without question Jeff has some authority with UH athletics and MBB.. hope he pulls for admin, to help UH MBB and current coaches.. if Jack and Jeff, REALLY support team and Taylor.. just say it.. Thousands, here in islands and around the globe, know how well team has responded to adversity.. I mean, Mid Major coach of the year.. half way.. and the wins over P5 teams, Pitt, Nebraska, and Colorado.. all teams, RPI, BPI higher than UH.. so Good wins.. Yes, I know where you are coming from.. IF UH were 5-13.. then Jeff and Jack would jump on MBB team big time.. now what do they DO?
    just be objective, I think that is where they try to come from, however, Always support Coach and team, and the fans..


  10. For the Basketball gurus, and knowledge of the game, and UH MBB team,
    Should Benjy have Zone ready for Riverside?
    I don’t know their 3 point shooting percentages.. Always a way to protect the 3 bigs that UH has…initial pressure, at the top, slow down riverside guards, disrupt, and make them hurry their shots offense, or turn them over.. Because we all know… Cali BWC teams can have those games, where they just run by the pressure, attack the rim, and score quickly.. UH has to keep Taylor Johns in check.. I think they have real chance to get that road Win.

    Once again the Mantra: It takes a Village to raise a Child.. It Takes the Whole MBB team to raise a BWC championship banner, one game, one win at a time.

    Really, with guys sick, ailing and hurt.. key.. by March , or even last few weeks of February, if ALL 12 guys as healthy and well as can be.. UH playing at peak, high level.. BWC tournament, will be a battle, and UH can be historic.. get that first round win.
    However Still 14 more BWC regular season games to go.. One at a time.. see how UH doing at half way point.. then go for that last 8 games..
    Should be interesting, how UH MBB team responds on the road.. Remember last year, different team, they won 4 consecutive road games , which set a new record.. and the historic Irvine win against all odds.

    Jankovich, was a 3+ star rated athlete out of Canada and Virgina Prep school, can handle ball, has good footwork down low too.. can balance, he has open 3, as Bobbitt tells him.. DO NOT HESITATE feels good and you have the shot.. Shoot it.. He starts to average around 8 or 9 pts. with double digit games in scoring and rebounding.. such a great pair with Jovanovich, who can go in and grab 9 boards which is huge.

    Go Bows !

  11. RunBows: mix up the zone with the man to man.

    From a former coach, Ralph Miller:

    ” Sixty to eighty percent of possessions from defensive rebounding and made baskets; 20 percent of possessions from opponents errors, steals, interceptions, etc.”

    Also, ” … only 5 % come from steals and interceptions. A study of the way ball possessions are gained makes it seem highly impractical to base pressure defense on interceptions and steals . ”

    Not sure if he is correct, but:

    In the CSUN game, UH had 26 % of 81 possessions from defensive rebounds (21); 30 % from opponent’s made baskets(25); 34.5 percent of possessions from opponents turnovers (28). [Also, UH had 24.6 % of possessions from steals (20) ]

  12. Wow, CSUN takes down UCSB at home. Crazy.

  13. Alan Williams held to 5 pts and 7 rebounds. CSUN shot 7 for 10 on 3’s, 56 % overall; 21 for 22 FT’s or 95.5 % to only 4 for 6 FT’s for UCSB .

    Out rebounded UCSB 34 to 23 . 12 assists for Drew to only 2 turnovers. Elliot 23 pts.

  14. Not evening seeing the game and all the stats I think they learned what it takes to be a good team by playing UH

  15. Yup Islandman and Poncho…

    Hawaii beat a damn good team in CSUN handily… and look, even Cal Poly almost took down Long Beach AT Long Beach… Long Beach actually got fortunate late in the game.

    Concerning Riverside… they look very ripe for the taking… Hawaii should have a good game against them on Saturday… can’t wait.

  16. Announcers were saying that Alan Williams had the flu for the past two days. But, still csun played pretty good.
    Try going thru what we going thru. I don’t think we have had a totally healthy line up yet.
    Go Bows !

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