Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors look to ride fast start into Big West

The surprise factor worked well enough for the University of Hawai’i basketball team during the first half of the 2014-15 season. Now it’s on to sustaining it.

The Warriors completed their pre-conference schedule with a 12-4 record – the most wins ever by a Hawai’i team before the start of conference play. Now comes the hard part.


The next 16 games for the Warriors will all be Big West Conference contests – eight at home and eight on the road. It starts with a game against Cal Poly on Wednesday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“We’re not going to surprise anybody – we stopped surprising people about six games ago,” head coach Benjy Taylor said.

The fast start has created a little bit of national attention for the Warriors, but it hardly guarantees anything. It seems like forever ago, but last season’s team actually went 11-3 in the pre-conference, and did not make the postseason despite finishing with a 20-11 record.

The chart below shows 10 previous Hawai’i teams that fared well before the start of the conference season. Of those 10 teams, six eventually made it to the postseason, including just one (the 2001-02 team) that earned its way to the NCAA Tournament.

2013-14: 11-3 pre-conference record; 20-11 final record (no postseason); key players were Christian Standhardinger, Isaac Fotu; sigificant non-conference wins were Saint Mary’s and Oregon State.

2004-05: 8-0 pre-conference record; 16-13 final record (no postseason); key players were Julian Sensley, Matt Gibson; significant non-conference wins were Saint Mary’s and USC.

2003-04: 8-2 pre-conference record; 21-12 final record (NIT third round); key players were Michael Kuebler, Julian Sensley; significant non-conference wins were at Utah State (NIT) and Nebraska (NIT).

2002-03: 7-1 pre-conference record; 19-12 final record (NIT second round); key players were Carl Engish, Mark Campbell; significant non-conference wins were Butler and at UNLV (NIT).

2001-02: 9-2 pre-conference record; 27-6 final record (NCAA first round); key players were Predrag Savovic, Carl English; siginificant non-conference wins were Wisconsin and Georgia.

1999-2000: 11-2 pre-conference record; 17-12 final record (no postseason); key players were Marquette Alexander, Troy Ostler; significant non-conference wins were Creighton, Colorado and Oregon.

1997-98: 11-1 pre-conference record; 21-9 final record (NIT third round); key players were Anthony Carter, Alika Smith; significant non-conference wins were Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona State (NIT) and Gonzaga (NIT).

1996-97: 8-2 pre-conference record; 21-8 final record (NIT second round); key players were Anthony Carter, Alika Smith; significant non-conference wins were Saint Mary’s, Memphis and Oregon (NIT).

1989-90: 11-2 pre-conference record; 25-10 final record (NIT third round); key players were Chris Gaines, Terry Houston; significant non-conference wins were Texas A&M, Colorado and Stanford (NIT).

1981-82: 8-2 pre-conference record; 17-10 final record (no postseason); key players were Clarence Dickerson, Rodney Jones; significant non-conference wins were South Carolina and Michigan State.


  1. Go Rainbow Warriors !!
    Grind…new year…0-0….work go for title!!

  2. Does MT look taller ?

  3. You know…akuhead2…he mentioned at beginning of year he had grown to 6′ 7 1/2″ tall…hoping he would peak at 6’9″…young guy …so lengthy…long…probably knows he will still grow..
    he is turning out to be that 6’8″ plus athletic big we all wanted…he is playing with so much confidence
    strong guy now..versatile

    MT smart in classroom as well as niko…all 14 guys..great young student athletes

    You figure he might be closing in on 6’8″?…maybe..he is playing like he is 6’10” !!

  4. Great research Dayton. It should underline for everyone that getting wins in conference play is typically much tougher than during pre-conference play for UH. The team will need to buckle down and fight hard to get enough Big West victories to earn a berth in the post-season.

  5. Yes, Heard It Before…Win ‘Em ALL @ Home

    HOPE They’re Right! And Just Do It…

    – This Team HAS More Firepower – NEVER Had a Team Where ALL Can Score At Will;
    Not Necessarily ‘Create their own shot’ BUT All Can Shoot, Several With Range,
    – All Can Pass Effectively,
    – ALL Play Intense Defense, and Trap Together Very Well..
    – Another “Unusual” Trait, especially “This Early” in the Season, with a YOUNG Team
    is The Ability to Keep Turnovers Down, even while Pressuring Effectively…

    Talk, Expectation…GOAL
    Win ‘Em ALL @ Home; Predictors say, Win 6, 7 or 8
    BUT Also Lose 6, 7 or 8 on Road to maybe 8-8,
    Hopefully Better…
    That Starts with Raising Expectations
    NOT EASY as Predicted to ‘Win’ First Six (Most Likely)
    NOT Easy, Gotta WIN those ‘Expected’ — BUT Take & Keep Control;
    THEN Pull Some Upsets, WIN Repeatedly On the Road…

    As Dayton Points Out,
    Conference ‘Always’ Tougher than Pre-Season (Mostly @ Home/Neutral)
    DEMANDS Their BEST To Date!
    Improvement, Better and Better
    This Team HAS Room for Improvement

    Give it All, ‘Bows!
    WIN Most!
    Start Strong! Continue…Finish Strong!
    Make This A Season to Remember!

  6. HawaiiMongoose:

    Yes, agreed. If anyone would know, it would be Benjy Taylor. Last year, quick start, two All BWC first team forwards in Standhardinger and Fotu. Good assist PG in Shamburger. 20 wins, one and out in first round BWC tournament. Benjy knows.

    Now, with Senque, Autry, Loyd, Taylor can make sure the team is ready. Sad with all the injuries, however, my thoughts , for what they are worth, This Team has won in the minds of UH MBB fans, ..even if they go to No Post Season, they go one and done in tournament BWC, Just to Keep team together, believing and performing at high level to this point.. a lot of fans, and people around the USA and world take note. That buzz from Andy Katz , two times, on espn, great recognition for Benjy and his great Team.

    Team and Coach Taylor, they might as well, play defense, defense, defense, rebound better and be efficient from the field., every game a battle, No way, is this team of 12 guys who stood solid, through adversity, and whatever comes down.. they are not quitters…The Are Winners..
    Can they win 10 games BWC regular season? I think so.. Could they win 8 games, probably..more so,.. could they win BWC regular season Title? That is what they will try to do.. You know already, this team is playing hard not just for selves , but for families, the University and Hawaii.

    To, me , that is half the battle.,.the team has Stuck Together.. whether they win BWC regular and or, the BWC tournament title. we wait and see.. One Battle, one game, at a time..
    Should be exciting.. I think this team will never give up.. and they are smart.. they will learn from mistakes.. and get even better.. key, they are playing best ball come March,..

    Go Bows !!
    Rainbow Warrior Time !!

  7. and…..pretty good strategy… from beginning when Benjy was made interim HC, he knew, have to keep the guys fresh, so no burn out, like in past 4 years, at end of year.
    Hope guys stay healthy, with flu and colds going around, plus rehab healthy with NWC ankles and G Money’s hand surgery…

    BWC regular season; 16 games.. a whole level of intensity above..good that this smaller, scrappy athletic bunch, that is how they have been in ball games and won against Pitt. Colorado and Nebraska, and went toe to toe with BYU in Utah, for 32 minutes before altitude and exhaustion, and minus NWC.. how UH played… just effort.. and good guard and wing play.
    With Jankovich, Jovanovich and Mike Thomas, providing that low post scoring defending, AV flying high and energy, plus Bobbitt, Garrett when healthy, Fleming and Quincy playing well on the perimeter.. UH has a shot to win a bunch of games in regular season.
    Just hope, healthy and ready BWC tournament time..

    Let the first game begin.. Conference time for ALL NCAA DI teams.. the toughest part of the season..whomever playing best at end of year.. can dance, dance , dance..

  8. “Lest We Forget…”

    It was this same week last year that our confident 11-3 Bowz sporting a 4 game winning streak played their first BWC game against 4-9 Cal Poly. Reality set in very quickly about conference play as Cal Poly went off on a 12-2 lead and never looked back. Cal Poly was the personification of team defense and ball control. They knew just how to make you play ugly.

    This year’s 7-5 Cal Poly team has only lost on the road to the likes of Gonzaga, California, St. Mary’s, Fresno St. & Nevada. THEY BEAT THE SAME SAN FRANCISCO TEAM ON THE ROAD THAT WE LOST TO ON A NEUTRAL COURT!

    They are one of the top teams in the nation in fewest turnovers at 8.4 per game. They make a living out of capitalizing on TO’s and missed Free Throws.

    They are already HERE and mean business and they enjoy watching our smart talk on this site’s videos.

    I hope never again that we will be making post game comments like the ones we did last year:


    GO BOWZ…the real season begins in two days!

  9. Add this to the mix, the rebounding scheme; have the Stefan J’s block out and send in our quick guards to be the high re-bounders for the game. It’s a team game, and these guys have a very high bbIQ. Coach Benjy emphasized it early on, its about wins, not personal stats.

  10. I think a better research might be how these past teams did on the road because that is where ALL of our past teams struggle. So many of our past coaches did not play road games before the conference or maybe just one or two. I think that is why you see the great non-conference records and then the fall when the conference road games start up.

    I really wish this team is different and they learned some experience by beating Pitt on Maui and then winning a couple of games all the way in the Florida tournament. Nobody can expect a Hawaii team to go undefeated in conference, but if they can be a .500 team on the road they will have a great shot.

  11. UH was 4-4 last year on the road in conference and 5-3 at Home or 9-7. They had to win 4 or 5 more games last year some place to tie or beat UC Irvine’s conference record .

    Regular season champion UC Irvine was 13-3 (7-1 Home, 6-2 Road). Their only home loss was to UH .

    Cal Poly was 6-10 .

    In 2012-13, 1st place Long Beach St was 14-4 and in 2011-12, they were 15-1 .

  12. Forget the past. Focus only on the present. This teams does it by committee and you don’t now who’s going to get how or cold. That’s why it’s a team, a combination of interchangeable parts that Taylor can really go about 10 deep. Everybody has to contribute to win. The glue is Bobbitt however. If he plays well, Hawaii has a great chance to win. When it’s all said and done, he might be the MVP of the conference if he plays great in the next 16 games. We will see. His stat line average of about 14 points/game, 6.5 assists/game, and 5 rebounds/game would be worthy for consideration.

  13. Last focus on the past: Last year was the best they did on the road in conference
    under Gib.

    2013-14, 4-4 Road, 5-3 Home, 9-7 conference;
    2012-13, 3-6, 7-2,10-8 ;Big West

    2011-12, 3-4,3-4,6-8 WAC
    2010-11, 3-5,5-3,8-8

  14. Forget the past. Forget this is conference that UH should dominate. No one knows which is why games played. Only wait and see now. Prove on the floor

  15. Backbeat, not sure what you mean about the post game comments. In reading what I posted, I stated that Hawaii would be fine, which they proved correct by whipping UC-Riverside by 30+ at home. Looking back at last season, that Cal-Poly team was 2 points away from starting 6 – 0 in conference, although they got cold in the second half of conference play but got hot during tournament time and rode a hot streak right into the NCAA tournament, including getting an opening round win over Texas Southern.

    ALSO relevant was we later beat this CP team at home by 9. So I do foresee a win coming this Thursday but the Warriors cannot take this matchup lightly. This team (usually!) takes good care of the ball and can also force turnovers. Here’s some of my concerns about this team:

    -Mike Thomas: Kept getting into foul trouble early on in the year, although he seemed to overcome it by the end of pre-conference play. Also more consistency with making strong moves to the basket. Forget the lay-ins, dunk EVERYTHING 😀

    -NWC: Worried about the ankle(s) but per Coach Benjy, he should be “fine”. I do think he needs to make stronger passes; it’s not so much his decision making as it is the delivery. Stronger passing is the remedy here. I was stoked to see him stepping up and taking shots (and hitting!) near the end of pre-conference play. We’re going to need more of that for the rest of the season!

    -Nevels: Health (surgically repaired wrist) is a concern, but other than that has been a great leader. I’d like to see him shoot more. He has the range and confidence so why not?

    -Bobbit: Averaged just 2.5 TO’s (and 5.8ast) in the first 14 games, then had 6 TO’s in each of the last 2. Mid season funk? Cold symptoms? Whatever it is, hopefully he snaps out of it prior to the Cal-Poly game

    -Fleming: I just wanted to say that while Bobbit impressed me most in the first half of pre-conf play, Isaac (great name BTW) has impressed me most during the second half. He seems to get better every game. Only concern is he plays w/his heart on his sleeve, so just hoping he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him! Love the heart in this kid tho, he’s become very exciting to watch and I look forward to seeing more of him.

    Okay, well I can’t wait to see what happens on wed night. Glad it’s a 6:30 tip-off! 7 seems so much later. Let’s GO BOWS!!!

  16. Hawaii is in a good position to take the Big West by surprise. Not that no one knows about them. But the fact that this team under coach Taylor has only begun and new plays are still being formulated. You can’t scout what you haven’t seen. So that means our team is still unknown as far as what the opposing teams know. We have the element of surprise and I hope Benji will throw a few twists in each game to throw them slightly off and confused. We got a deep bench and lots more to come out of this team. We had a sucker punch thrown at us (NCAA). But guess what? This team got up from the floor and is starting to throw bombs. And no one even knew they had it—-except for couple guys here.

  17. IsaacM –where does it say 6:30 tip off ? Thanks

    I know we want the NCAA’s, but in 2011-12, Long Beach St won the regular season championship and also the Big West Tournament.

    No Big West team was invited to the NIT for that year. Big West tourney 2nd seeded Fullerton and 3rd seeded Santa Barbara played in the CIT. (Santa Barbara had lost in the Big West tournament finals).

  18. Lol, nice photo bomb from Benjy behind Isaac!

  19. islandman, I just checked the schedule and saw it as 7pm…I may have misunderstood when I was watching the PVAM post-game talk about the cal-poly starting at 6:30 since that’s when the pre-game show is. So likely my mistake (and disappointment, lol). I’ll be watching either way.

    I think Hawaii can go 12 – 4 in conference, but at the least will go 10 – 6 and a likely top 3 seed for the conference tournament. Preferably I’d like to see them get regular season champs, which I believe is very possible due to the low parity on this conferene. Anyone can beat anyone on any given night!

  20. It will be important to focus on one game at a time and not to look too far ahead. We can’t afford to take any team lightly.

  21. Bernie: Agree 100%, don’t think this team, from the start, with Benjy Taylor and staff, whom I think are doing a helluva of a job coaching team, are going to look past.. sure Isaac Fleming, he is the talker, Win All games at SSC.. I think they can protect homecourt.. same thing, if they lose one at home, then steal one on the road that they should not win..
    Personally, I agree with Benjy, Team has to shoot better from field, 3 line, and FT line.. Their offense comes around.. UH will be able to beat anyone, and same time, the other 8 teams from top to bottom could beat them.. That approach is good.. Don’t think 12 guys on this year’s team think they are that good to beat all teams by 20, and run the table.. that is what they want.. However, you have to be firing on all cylinders.. We shall see, If UH gets good wins this week , start off 2-0, and everyone, getting healthy.. who knows? This team, love the intensity.. plus, hope the Cali guys, Niko, Stef, Jovanovich, Jawato, Nevels, Smith , Thomas, Bobbitt, stay focused when they hit the road, where all games are in their home state or where they played prep , JC and HS ball.

    Going to be exciting.. wish 6000 would be in attendance, however, you know how it goes, work nite, so if SSC has crowd of 4500+, WITH HOPEFULLY Jamie Smith back, they will MAKE a ton of noise, after that first lob pass to AV or MT for a flush..

    Go Bows.. ONE GAME AT A TIME.. And just have to shoot better, in Particular From FT line,, that is where BWC games are won or lost.. PLUS.. how Will BWC referees call UH on their aggressive hands, steals, deflections defense? That is a key too. I remember the OLD WAC, Riley teams, the Houston, Smalls, Cross, physical teams, they were so Physical, that WAC referees, were calling them for more fouls than the opponents.. I guess, that is Where Adjustments, might have to be made, Drop back into Active Zone, watch the hands, yet, still play great Team defense, and perimeter guys stay in front of their men, don’t let them go into paint..

    Go Bows !!
    Get Chance? No Doubt.. Give Em Rainbow Warriors.. Imua !!

  22. Looking at the BWC standings through the non-conference schedule. There’s not a single team that looks like they are going to dominate the conference.

    UH actually has, by far, the most impressive non-conference resume.

    UC Davis is a big surprise at 10-3, but recent losses to Wash. St and Seattle U show me that UC Davis’ record is smoke and mirrors. WSU and SU are bad teams. Somehow, UC Davis beat Utah St, but they are clearly caught Utah St in a funk where they lost 4 in a row (something that never happens at Utah St).

    Cal Poly has zero quality wins, but you can count on them being tough at home. They were beaten pretty convincingly on most games vs better competition.

    Fullerton has zero quality wins. They’ve played a weak schedule and haven’t looked very good.

    Irvine has zero quality wins. They’ve played a decent schedule and have been competitive vs better teams. Although they played Oregon & St Marys tough, they do have some really bad losses on their resume. The give teams matchup problems with their considerable size, but like I’ve said before, their bigs are just big… not much skill. Surprisingly, they are ranked 233rd in total rebounds. As the predominate Preseason favorite, I would have liked to see them notch a good win, but haven’t done so.

    Riverside has zero good wins. They’ve beaten the really bad teams and have been blown out by the better teams they’ve played on their schedule. They will likely be near the cellar of the BWC.

    Outside of Alan Williams UCSB doesn’t look very good. The MVP will carry them to the top half of the BWC. They’ve played teams tough, but don’t have any quality wins.

    Long Beach again played an incredibly tough schedule and for the 2nd year in a row, have been blown out by just about every good team they played. LBSU has some athletes and are a wild card on how they will play in BWC. Playing and losing to good teams makes you tougher, but getting blown out as much as they did tells me they probably aren’t that good. They have 1 good win vs Xavier, but played in their backyard in Anaheim.

    Northridge has zero good wins and looks like it will be a tough year for them. Blown out by the better opponents and they’ve lost to some bad teams. Not sure why Reggie Theus gets so much love as a coach. He has most of his leading scorers back from last year but they have been much worse this season.

  23. Niko, better be ready, if Nevels not ready to play, make that 4 guard rotation, with Quincy, Bobbitt , Fleming,.. so playing defense and on offense..That is the wrinkle.. UH working on New Offensive sets, plays,,.. Another key to winning Conference games, Which team can score And defend in Half Court, plus close out, when games in final 5 minutes.. UH has shown, against Pitt, Wichita St, Colorado, Nebraska, 32 minutes on road against BYU, and 2 or 3 on road in Florida.. that they can stay with a lot of teams.
    Agree with FUHA.. and Andy Katz.. those games, The Pitt , Nebraska, Colorado, and Almost beating Wichita St, are very competitive games, remember, a lot of those wins, UH did not have Janks, and NWC was injured, and recently 5 guys were sick, these last two games pre BWC, would like to see a HEALTHY UH team, in particular during the final 6 game stretch, how they , do, that final 6 games, they go 5-1, right into BWC tournament time, That is Momentum, HOWEVER, the Guard play with Bobbitt and Fleming, the newbie guards, really upgraded , athletic and size wise at SG/ Off guard, along with Nevels and Q, experienced guards, The emergence of AV and MT, along with NWC, who should strengthen his calves, rehab, and tape, and watch how he jumps, where he lands. his ankles will probably be a chronic thing for rest of season.. where or where is Wato? Was Up with Jawato? Brandon, STEP UP.. such a nice guy, has to beast it, can use him, he as to play Good Defense, rebound, get up and run, not just jack 3 ball, has to get up, and go to rim, will make him dangerous, especially if NWC goes down again, makes UH ever deeper.. Wish that RS freshman, Jawato bomber returns.. imagine, if he can hit 3 or 4 threes in a BWC game, could open up a double digit lead in a hurry.. Wato, Up to you Bro… Step Up.. and congrats on being on track to grad this May 2015 !!

  24. Riley put us in a mind lock that UH couldn’t win road games so he didn’t have to accountable to it. I believe it is more difficult but Gib proved last year as well as our own pre-season that cut it with our current warriors. Defense and heart travel and we have plenty of it. I am optimistic that we will do well. All I really need to see is each player work as part of a team and do their best. I placed that above winning the Big West but wouldn’t be to surprise if the title came with the effort provided by our team and it’s ability to rest and move players in and out. I don’t even bother second guessing the coach on who he puts on the floor. The best of luck to all of them. Can’t wait to Wednesday/

  25. Excited to see the game Wednesday night. Lets pack the SSC guys, there is no reason to no pack it. Only 8 home games left if you think of it that way. This team has been a much needed gift to this Island and the Athletic program. We are blessed to have these individuals all playing with us. “No Drama just Ohana” and that’s what it should be about. Seems like this team has stood behind Hawaii and we should stand behind it 100% this season. Something real special going on here. Already pepole on the mainland talking about us on ESPN & Sports Illustrated and that is Great!

    Hopefully Bobbit and Valdes have rested. Seemed like both were out of it a bit the last 2 games. either under the weather or just plain out of gas of sorts or a combo of both. Negus, Quincy Nevels heal and get to 100% too. Flemming, and the Stephans keep bringing the energy to the team. Bench be ready!

    That last stretch was tough for this team. 6 games in 11 days considering that in conference by the time we reach 6 games it will take 23 days. In those 11 days we beat 2 BCS teams and nearly knocked off #11. These boys worked their tail off.

    Go Bows and get the Big West!

  26. Northridge had 6 players suspended before the start of this season. Maybe they aren’t back yet ? as i see only 10 players listed in their stats.

    The Pomeroy ratings, whatever they rate, has six Big West teams in the 100’s:

    Santa Barbara,100; Long Beach 119; UC Irvine 128; Cal Poly 149; UH 153 & UC Davis 157 .

    So the teams are pretty close in this rating. As for UCSB’s rating, maybe it’s because they lost to strong teams who in turn played other strong teams ? Some of our wins were against weak teams ?

  27. Congratulations are in order:

    Benjy Taylor has earned the Hugh Durham mid-season coaching honor, announced on Monday by the awards committee.

    The Hugh Durham Award is given annually to the nation’s top mid-major coach.

  28. Congrats Benjy. Well deserved, and for an “interim” coach at that.

    anderpops: excellent point concerning the travel mindset that Riley instilled us. I believe this years team is having none of that past thinking. They probably think that they went thru some adversity that no other UH team has had to go thru. I think they can tackle any obstacle that they are faced with.

  29. Re: Hugh Durham Award,

    Hugh Durham’s Florida St. team lost to the UH fabulous five in 1971 due to a forfeit,after the game had been played for awhile. David Mahukona was the ref. Florida St. was the NCAA runner up that same season in 1972 .

    I remember and another account recalls that Durham removed his team from the floor in protest, which differs some from the account below. UH also beat them again on Dec. 22, 1971, 81-76 . UH used to play against visiting teams two consecutive games per visit .


  30. If memory serves…I believe Hugh actually threw the whistle out of the mouth of referee Larry Yamashita into the stands.

    That is why referees now wear a lanyard and bring an extra whistle!

    Congrats Benjy with an assist to Gib.


  31. Kitv Robert Kekaula…here we go again…from UH insiders say they are working to extend Benjy’s contract..Benjy…terrific attitude, just concentrate on Poly game…keep guy’s focused..
    thanks to Gib for laying foundation..and Benjy trying to get team to compete for BWC titles..other things
    will take care of itself..team is becoming like Benjy…focus now…one game at a time..not look to far ahead..keep grinding getting better..effort plus will be there..

    That Hugh Durham award mid season mid major coach of year half way…one word fans…HUGE !!
    Plus 2 times recognition by Andy Katz on espn..what a resume…now team..just want to win more..
    Benjy Ball !!
    Backbeat I remember that game Hugh Durham accused local referees of homering walked off court ..what down 21-2 in first few minutes? I forget..
    however…for Benjy and team
    huge recognition
    guys and coach Taylor…just keep winning one game at a time !!
    Wow !!

  32. Hugh pulled his team and forfeited at 30 to 10;

    when one team forfeits, if the correct team is ahead, they record the score at the time of forfeit;
    otherwise would have been 2-0…

    i’m Amazed they named the Award after one of our Great Nemeses…
    BUT to Their Credit, they were willing to play us here (Error 1)
    (Same as Jamie Dixon, Kansas…)

    Then played us TWICE (Error 2)

    BUT Good Sport, After All…
    With an Annual And Mid-Season Award…

    Go ‘Bows!
    Start Second Season STRONG!

  33. Yes, thanks to Gib. Thanks for the NCAA investigation. Where would we be without you.

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