Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Alumni Game: ‘A great day for UH basketball’


In addition to its resilience, the University of Hawai’i basketball team had the power of the past on its side in Saturday’s 81-61 victory over Cal State Fullerton.

A few hours before that, more than 20 former players participated in the first UH Men’s Basketball Alumni Game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“It’s been a great day for UH basketball; it’s been a great day for the university; it’s been a great day for the state,” head coach Benjy Taylor said. “To get those guys back here … man, we had a great crowd for that group and just to see their families and grandkids, just the fellowship with them while we eat and hanging out, it was an unbelievable experience for me.”

Impressively, the rosters featured players from UH teams of the decades of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Four members of the legendary “Fabulous Five” teams participated as coaches: Al Davis, Jerome Freeman, Dwight Holiday and John Penebacker. The fifth member, Bob Nash, is currently coaching a professional team in Japan.

“The most important thing is the camaraderie, especially seeing the Fab Five, the guys who laid the foundation for this university,” said David Kawika Hallums, who played under then head coach Riley Wallace’s first two seasons from 1987-89. “It’s just a privilege and an honor, and it makes you realize how special it was and how big it is to be a part of.”

The score didn’t much matter, as the game featured a running clock, free substitutions, and numerous light-hearted moments. But for the record, the Green squad won, 56-47, behind 20 points from Justice Sueing and the endless sideline commentary/encouragement from Hallums.


“I’m basically setting myself up for most improved player of the year next year,” Hallums said with a laugh. “Seriously, though, it was great being back and I’m glad Coach Taylor brought it and initiated this.”

Taylor thought of the idea of an Alumni vs. Alumni Game back in November. The program was in a much-publicized time of turmoil, and Taylor invited some alumni players to offer words of encouragement to the current players. A few months later, Taylor and administrative assistant started organizing the event.

Hallums noted that this year’s game was important because it showed that there are enough players situated in Hawai’i to make it work. Now, players from off-island can start making arrangements for future games.

“Word of mouth is going to spread and you know me, I’ll be out there telling everybody to come back,” Hallums said. “The more minutes I can sit on the bench, the better.”

This year’s participants:

Green Team: Eric Ambrozich, Ed Gayagas, Kawika Hallums, Kalia McGee, Pi’i Minns, Woody Moore, Miah Ostrowski, Keli’i Silva, Justice Sueing, Jerome Freeman (coach), Dwight Hoilday (coach).

White Team: Jason “JC” Carter, Rykin Enos, Ryne Holliday, Phil Martin, Geremy Robinson, Dennis Sallas, Tim Shepherd, Lance Takaki, Johnny White, Artie Wilson, Dennis Chai (coach), Al Davis (coach), John Penebacker (coach).


  1. Great having some of the UHbb alumni back to show support for the University and it’s players. Thanks to Benjy Taylor! UH doesn’t know when they have a good one on hand. As is always the case

  2. Pocho……I agree !10%… Benjy…the resume he has created… and not even knowing if he will be back.. Getting the Alumni, spanning the sixties through the 2000’s,.. Fantastic job, even, prior 5 MBB HC’s I don’t think did that , promote the past..If UH , and remember John Jumping Pennebacker, made great comment yesterday SA …DR … article.. Penny says,,.. Benjy doing great job, what he has done through adversity… UH should remove the Interim.. and make him just HC.. sign him to multi year deal.. These 14 guys have bought into his system, and the are winners.. real Warriors.. and RainBows..

    Mahalo Plenty Benjy Taylor.. great job.. hey Admin.. get on the boat.. every home game, win or lose.. now.. fans, whether 4800 or 8800 in SSC giving team a standing ovation, the high fives, the singing alma mater, WITH the Alumni after game against Fullerton, epic, chicken skin time.. Benjy has support of Those Alumni.. and they let it publically, known to UH Power/s.. bet they will do it, get Benjy on board for 3 year deal at least…Benjy and the Great Bows.. have done a fantastic job, a new coaching staff, and elite international PF gone, a possible great physical freshman because of injury and homesickness…gone.. and UH MBB with Benjy at the helm, ready to win 20, 21, 21 or more games and do some damage in BWC tournament.

    Mahalo, Thankyou Benjy and the Bows !!
    Shout out and kudos, to ALUMNI.. their showing up and having fun.. KEY… they start talking to UH admin, Power.. get Benjy signed, remover the interim.. lock him in .. even if can be done by March early or week of BWC tournament.. REASON.. THERE ARE JC Bigs, waiting to see who is permanent HC.. before signing.

    BAck to present.. This group of Warriors incredible job, strength to finish games now through adversity.. they make it to ncaa’,s maybe a book written and a movie made about Benjy and the 2014-15 MBB team !!


  3. Thanks for the highlights, Dayton. Anyone, who’s the slim guy, #23 Green, at 4:50, who looks like he can play on the current team ?

  4. Thanks WI and Dayton for posting the highlights. Looks like it was great fun. I couldn’t attend but will make it a point to be there next year!

  5. #25 Jeremy Robinson?

  6. Pocho, could be. As far as #23, i think it’s Pi’i Minns, from 2011-12 roster.

  7. ahhh, you know what I never have my glasses on and thought #25 Geremy. Saw Pii but don’t remember the jersy#.

  8. Bad umpire call at home plate, calling the Oregon runner safe, in today’s baseball game, apparently. Bad call, per Don Robbs.

  9. It was great to see all the former players again especially the fabulous five minus one. Plus I believe George Salas was on that team too. You know they should have a hall of honor for the fab 5 team. They put us on the map and showed us that Hawaii can be a powerhouse in basketball. They are the measuring rod for every UH team that walks unto the floor. They had it all: defense, quickness, athleticism, and explosive offense. Against Florida St (Which lost in the NCAA finals against UCLA) the coach pulled off his players and forfeited the game. He says it was the officiating, but everyone that saw that game knew that even if the officiating was fair they would have still blown them through the roof. Talk about poor sportsmanship. In fact, Hawaii beat them again two days later in a closer game. This current team seems to have that spark and intensity that the fab 5 had. No wonder the fans have been coming out to the games.

    I’m thinking that if Hawaii can end up 2nd place at the end of the regular season they stand a good chance of going to the NIT if they don’t win the Big West Tournament. Of course that scenario means that Davis (If they are the regular season champs) needs to win the tournament, and so the second place team in the regular season—if it’s Hawaii—gets the NIT bid. We need to win out the last 5 games. Can do with this team. Get healthy guys.

  10. servante: The UH Fabulous Five is in the UH Circle of Honor, inducted in 1982:

    “The 1971 & ’72 “Fab Five” basketball teams of John Penebacker, Jerome Freeman, Dwight Holiday, Bob Nash and Al Davis won 47 games and lost only eight during a two-year period that resulted in the program’s first berths in the NIT and NCAA postseason tournaments. (1982) ”

    Dennis Sallas was on the 1971 team.
    “Experts” such as G Dickman and Portnoy, i think, say no Big West team can get into the NIT, unless they win the regular season title. An example is 2012, when Long Beach St. won the regular season and also the Big West tournament. The 2nd place and 3rd place teams went to the CIT.

  11. Islandman

    Thanks for the info. Came from top of my head so sometimes not too accurate. As for Hawaii finishing in second place I’m hoping that NIT will consider Hawaii or another team that is deserving. Otherwise there is not much for the top tier teams to play hard if they know that they have no chance of going to the NIT.
    CIT is probably dead since UH is hard pressed for funds.

  12. servante

    NIT seem to be only for regular season champ
    NCAA runs NIT and it is money driven,,,would UH be feasible to have them in.
    in past Riley teams when in WAC.. if his team won 17 or 18 games they got in
    later magic number wa 19 wins

    What if UH were 24-3 at this point would think uh mbb bpi..rpi..would be about 100 or less?
    say they end regular season at 29-3 , yet finished 2nd in bwc..they make it to
    championship game and lose..final record before selection sunday 31-4
    I think that would be a huge exception to have them in NIT..at 31-4. Would imagine uh mbb would be also top 25 team
    Would be weird to leave a 30 game winner out of NIT

    That is why win regular season =guaranteed NIT
    Win bwc tourney = ncaa invite

    Sometimes in conferences a team wins both regular and conference titles

    Hey, servante. Remember trevor ruffin led 1994 team..not great record..however won 3 and made the dance

    Wish some donor would sponsor uh mbb in cit or cbi if uh mbb fell short in championship game
    realistically. .if uh mbb won 21 games and that was it..great season finish

    Remember how it startesstarted
    true warriors this 14
    and benjy deserves 3 year deal as permanent head coach
    jumping john pennebacker said benjy..uh admin should make him permanent head coach
    I think so too!!

  13. Would not doubt if uh mbb sweeps road trip
    tehy playing at high level
    plus shooting better
    wins 19 and 20 !!
    Work..grind ..get it guys !!

  14. RunBows

    I remember Trevor Ruffin alright. He’s the kind of guy that if he’s hot can carry the entire team. Remember the game against Pittsburgh I think it was. That was the greatest shooting exhibition I ever saw. His defender kept telling him to go ahead and shoot. Like 6 feet beyond the arc. He ended up with 44 points, most of it on long range bombers. We need someone like that to get red hot down the stretch. Maybe NWC. He’s starting to get the stroke that we all know he has. But we need everyone healthy. Good thing they all young and can heal fast. We are at a critical juncture now for UH. In the past we usually would fade away due to burn out from going with the starting 5 most of the way. But this team looks like they still got a lot left in the tank. It helps to have a strong bench that can play nearly as much minutes as the starting group.

  15. Because This Team IS So Young AND IMPROVING…
    E.G., As Opposed to Previous Seasons
    Who May Have Been Running Out of Legs, Running Out of Fuel
    and “Finished WEAK”

    AND This Team Apparently Has/Is Capturing The Hearts and Minds of Hawai’i Fans…

    I DO Think CIT/CBI Pay for Play Tourneys would be WISE Investments
    The Competition would be “Winning Teams”
    Seeking to Extend their Seasons
    Would Have a Likelihood of Earning Additional Revenue
    Might, Maybe Should, Cover Costs

    It WOULD Be a Way to Upgrade Schedule at Tail-End
    Regular / Pre-Season, WE ARE Paying Teams to Fly In and Play Here
    BUT NO ONE or Few are ‘Impressed’ with the Overall Quality of Teams
    The “One (LOSS) and Done” Post-Season IS / Should Be Good Training / Development

    We ARE NOT So Good as a Program
    To Turn Up Our Noses at Any Opportunity to Improve

    Of Course, NIT/NCAA Opportunities, IF Earned,
    are HIGHLY Preferable…
    BUT ONLY So Many Teams at UH
    (MAYBE NOT UHWBB By Comparison)
    CAN Earn while Investing In Improvement,
    EVEN Cover Costs or Break Even

    WE PAY to Join In-Seasn Tourneys like FGCU
    We Could Travel to Develop (“Next Season”)
    Playing Body-Bag, OR “Guarantee” (Earning Income Games)
    Like BWC, Maybe Learning to Play/Win On the Road
    BUT WE, The Fans DON’T Get to SEE Those Games,
    At Least NOT In Our Venue…

    Would ALSO Be a Way
    To Honor RILEY’s Recent Efforts to Help the Program
    While He’s Still With Us (Alive)
    Kinda Like Winning More in His Honor…
    Benjy oughta be able to Sell Bley-Vroman on The Investment Opportunity
    IF NOT, Maybe NOT The ‘Right’ Coach
    With the Right/Needed Upper Campus Backing/Respect…

    IT’s a LONG EIGHT Months Before The Next Game
    where They Record The Score and Winner
    even Keep the Stats
    OR Televise…
    (Summer League, ONLY Two or Three Players Max at a Time
    On a Team, and SCORES “Don’t Count”)
    Manoa Valley Gym Versus SSC

    Benjy was ‘Cold-Shocked’ as he realized His Season was Running Out…
    Hope HIS Team Knows
    It’s Just About DO or Die Time…
    ONLY FIVE More “Warm Up” Games
    THEN Anaheim Three OR Done

  16. Got to agree with Eagle about keeping our options open with the CIT or CBI tournaments. Not only do these young Bowz need that experience but the turnstyle looks to pay for it. Hell, we already pay for traveling teams now.

    This program needs to have leadership in place to keep this special group of players together…if the BOR is looking for some negotiation edge with Gib, why not concede giving Benjy a 2 or 3 year deal now in order to allow getting some recruits…nothing is on the radar right now. Sure would like a young 3* SG to replace Garrett and another big man to add to this group for next season.

    Does anyone notice how the opposing coaches are whispering into our players ears after each game?

    With that contract in place, perhaps we could do another pre-season international tournament…it’s been four years.

    Have you noticed that the Top Six teams in the BWC are only 39 points apart in the Pomeroy Rating? The BPI has them only 43 points a part. Anything can happen in Anaheim.

    I do believe if Davis does not win the BW tourney, they will be NIT bound unless they fold these next few games.

    Next 4 games against all top tier teams…Let’s See What We’re Made Of.


  17. I can’t believe that this is the first alumni game. Great job by Benjy to get the alumni involved in the program. What is going on with recruiting? If we don’t sign a couple of guys we are essentially killing the program long term. I know there is uncertainty with the coaching situation and possible scholie reductions from sanctions but there has been zero talk of any interested recruits.

  18. Isaac still on crutches, per Benjy on radio today, but he’s taking him on the trip.

    I think Benjy mentioned some time ago, that they were planning to go on a foreign tour this summer. Allowed every four years, last one was to China in 2011.

  19. RE: Gib suing UH for million+…

    I just read his contract regarding termination without cause (see below)…

    1st Thought: UH owes Gib the money. It’s pretty clearly stated that UH owes Gib all the money earned from the start of the contract up to the date of termination (plus some expenses).

    2nd Thought: This shows how poorly UH operates at an oversight level. How could this clause ever be accepted by an employer with legal counsel? It’s just stupid, or at the very least, limit the liquidated damages to one year’s pay.

    3rd Thought: Knowing that this was in the contract, how stupid is the President, Chancellor, and the BOR for deciding that “without cause” was the right decision? By claiming without cause, they basically eliminated the NCAA investigation as an option for a “with cause” termination. Yes it could complicate the investigation, but…

    4th Thought: The proper way of handling it would have been suspending Gib with pay for X number of games, then when the NCAA allegations came public, then fire him “with cause”. Firing with Cause ends all financial obligations at the date of termination. This is especially true if the AD, Chancellor, BOR or President had a good feeling that accusations of major violations were coming from the NCAA. They could have found a reason to suspend Gib without getting in to controversy.

    Here’s Gib’s contract regarding termination without cause…

    Section 8 (A): Termination by University (Without Cause)

    Paragraph i: “This Agreement may be terminated by the University at an anytime without clause upon ninety (90) days written notice to Coach. In such event, University will pay Coach as liquidated damages, a lump sum amount equal to the total amount of compensation earned under the terms of this Agreement as of the date of termination (incentives and extensions not achieved are not included in liquidated damages). This payment is Coach’s exclusive remedy…”

    Paragraph ii: “In addition to the payment of liquidated damages as provided above in the event of a termination by the University without cause, University will be obligated to reimburse Coach for reasonable, substantiated work performances related expenses incurred by Coach, if any.”

    Paragraph iii: “Other than outlined in this Section, the University shall have no other obligation to Coach…”

    Paragraph iv: “The parties have bargained for and agreed to the foregoing liquidated damages provision, giving consideration to the fact that Coach may lose certain benefits, supplemental compensation, or outside compensation relating to his employment at University, which are extremely difficult to determine with certainty, or fairly or adequately. Coach and University further agree that payment of such liquidated damages by University and acceptance thereof by Coach shall constitute adequate and reasonable compensation to Coach for loss, damages and injury suffered because of such termination by University…”

    Paragraph v: “… [All fringe benefits will terminate at date of termination]…”

  20. Backbeat – after seeing your post and checking the Pomery rankings I wanted to point out that there’s only 29 points of separation between the BWC top 5:

    100 UC Davis
    117 UC Irvine
    123 Long Beach St.
    127 UC Santa Barbara
    129 Hawaii

    Then there’s Cal Poly at 139, making the 39 point separation you referred to.

    The next team from the Big West is UCR which comes in nearly 100 rankings later at 226. There is clear separation between the top 6 teams and the rest of the conference. Whichever one of these 6 teams gets hot in Anaheim will win the tournament. Although I think for Hawaii, it will be a matter of good health and good behavior (and maybe some decent officiating). Which reminds me, didn’t realize you were in the business of officiating…just know that we greatly appreciate your officiating insight and thank you for your service 🙂

    Anyways, Hawaii has proven many times this season to be its own worst enemy. I want to say that every game this season has been winnable. Even at BYU, as the ‘Bows were dominating the game early on then seemingly running out of gas in the second half (curse you high elevation). Also reiterating a previous post I made last week, stating Hawaii can go 5 – 1 or even 6 – 0 during this final regular season stretch. Well, they’re 2 – 0 so far. This upcoming road trip looks tough on paper but with some research they look very winnable.

  21. Impressive!!! Former UH athlete and graduate of Richardson School of Law. Or was it Harvard? UH may as well cut the check. Game over. FUHA has spoken. Whew! And I thought this would be some long, drawn out process…

  22. The MOST Stupid Thing about That Contract — and there’s probably SO Many Stupid Things — was HOW Upper Campus Held Up Signing The Long Agreed to Terms of Contract — Was it a Whole Year?



    BUT it Sure Looks Like it’s Written That Way
    And Far Too Many Attorneys — even without A Dog in the Fight…
    CAN Read it that Way…


    Nothing Impressive There…
    I Still Maintain That ‘Wonder-Blunder’ Is SMALL Potatoes (@$200K)
    Compared to The Month-to-Month Blunderings of UH/State ‘Management’
    Tens of Millions? Lost in Tracking?

  23. Eagle: If Gib man of his word.. uses, and he has good lawyer, the UH counsel, the ones recently got terminated, they wrote horrible contracts.Gib;s case in point . Gib, in Bickerton has the Bulldog, of an attorney , he smells blood, and he does.. contract written so poorly WE NO LEGAL people can see the loop holes. just not written correctly.
    Okay, McCorriston, counsel for UH vs, Bickerton , counsel for Gib.. impasse.. Arbritrator… the Winner will be Gib and the loser, ta daaaa, UH…guaranteed.. Now once again if Gib man of his word…wanted to use his own money and whatever settelent monies awarded to fight the worse of the allegations the Level I allegations, and he is totally confident he will win.. In a HUGE WAY.. gib’s fight will help UH MBB.. it would show ncaa interview, ones heavily biased against Gib and Akana, and really mina mina things.. small kine.. had obstruction, or misinterpreted comments, and even misleading statements by ex coaches and many guys no loner with program. He can do that with his 1 mil. settlement, and call in those witnesses, ex coaches, begruntled ex athletes etc..He probably will win.. if case setteled by late summer and he wins.. clears himself, Akana, UH MBB of level 1 allegations.. UH MBB owes Gib a large measure of gratitude… If that is a Hones Man in Gib. Fantastic wife Lisa, beautiful 5 children.. they don’t need the negative vibe from community about Gib.. He did complete or close the deal on initially 16 great UH MBB athletes this year..

    And he knows, Benjy doing a Helluva job winning and keeping program together.. Gib gives support to Benjy.. ex Alumini their mantra, UH admin , take off the Interim label from Benjy and make him permanent HC with 3 year deal in hand… then we see how Benjy and Que can recruit those great JC hopefully soph to be with 3 years to play.. and a shooter deluxe,.. of course 4 of them.. then they on The Benjy Frenzy Ball, train. off to battle and take down top 10 teams in the DHC and win it.. also, if they had an away game at UCLA, or home and home, and UH goes and rocks them with D, rim protecting bigs, good Serbian Bigs,.. and great Forwards and guards.. a legitimate top 15 team in nation.. battling to go 16-0 in BWC and dance dance in either NIT or NCAA..

    Can bows do it.. without question, original coach a fighter.. Benjy is one too.. he take care of his MBB family. he like Riley Wallace(coach get well soon).loves the guys as his own sons. very special relationship

    Don’ t count this team out, lost 2 coaches, Elite PF to pros, and a Big body SF/PF.. back to Florida JC college to rehab and RS get recruited by other schools again, and ncaa trying to work over bankrupt UH MBB,, and all the injuries, the fly high bruh’s , etc.. hope team just stay sober and straight, have fun, however not, Bob Marley type, with herb.

    Go Bows…. My prediction UH against all odds with 8 guys on roster, and 8th guy Valdes at 80%, wins 2 games on the road in Cali, UH MBB second home, they used to.. and sweeps the top two team.. How can I say that? Look at all the trials of this year.. UH has come out stronger… if they down to 5 guys.. Benjy and staff and team will find a way to sweep this road swing..

    Go Bows !!

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