Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Injured or not, Warriors ready for UC Irvine


If the University of Hawai’i basketball team wants to move up the Big West Conference standings, it will have to do it the hard way this week.

For starters, the Warriors are on the road, where nothing ever comes easy. Second, they will take on the top two teams in the Big West – at second-place UC Irvine on Thursday, then at first-place UC Davis on Saturday.

Thursday’s game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time), and will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic channel 228 or 1228).

“I don’t look at it as we’re playing (teams) 1 through 4, or playing 9 through 5; you have to play good basketball to win, period, and we’re going to have to do that,” Hawai’i head coach Benjy Taylor said.

The Warriors are 18-9 overall and in fifth place in the conference at 6-5. UC Irvine is 14-10 overall and 7-3 in conference, including a 78-72 win at Hawai’i on January 24.

Hawai’i is coming off back-to-back home victories of 20-plus points, but those wins came with a price. Three players from the main rotation limped onto the plane on Tuesday afternoon with sprained ankles.

Leading scorer and rebounder Aaron Valdes sprained his left ankle last Thursday and did not suit up for last Saturday’s game. Staring forward Mike Thomas (left ankle) and top reserve guard Isaac Fleming (right ankle) went down in the first half of Saturday’s game.

“We had six guys finish the game (on Saturday), so we’re happy we won,” Valdes said. “But we also have to get healthy at the same time.”

Valdes, who is averaging 14.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, is the likeliest of the three injured Warriors to play on Thursday.

Regardless of who plays, the Warriors have been scoring by committee. After Valdes, the next eight players in the rotation average between 4.5 and 10.3 points. Senior guard Garrett Nevels is averaging 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds, and is followed in scoring by Stefan Jankovic (9.7), Isaac Fleming (9.5), Roderick Bobbitt (8.7), Thomas (8.3), Negus Webster-Chan (8.2), Stefan Jovanovic (5.5) and Quincy Smith (4.5).

Bobbitt continues to lead the nation in steals with 88, and is also first in the Big West in assists at 5.7 per game.


Fleming, who scored 14 in the first meeting with UCI, is considered doubtful to play.

The injured Warriors will get no sympathy from UC Irvine, which has been experiencing its own injury issues. While Hawai’i players have had problems with ankles, the Anteaters have injured feet.

Mamadou Ndiaye, the 7-foot-6 giant who set the Big West record for blocked shots last season, has missed the last eight games with a foot injury. His replacement, 6-10 John Ryan, injured his foot in UCI’s last game.

Perhaps most notable, Alex Young – the team’s starting point guard and an All-Big West candidate – has sat out the last two games with a foot injury.

In UCI’s 78-72 win at Hawai’i last month, Young had 15 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range. Ryan had seven points and 10 rebounds, and Ndiaye did not play.

UCI’s other key players are 6-8 senior forward Wil Davis II (12.0 points, 5.9 rebounds), 6-3 sophomore guard Luke Nelson (10.0 points, 3.7 assists) and 6-5 senior guard Travis Souza (7.8 points, 49 3-pointers, .471 3-point percentage).

“I remember Irvine was a tough, tough team,” Jankovic said. “I was impressed with them.”

UCI is shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range, making it one of just 16 teams in the country shooting better than 40 percent from long range. The Anteaters went 10 for 15 from 3-point range in the win at Hawai’i.

“Irvine got us here, they hit a couple big shots at the end,” Valdes said. “I remember I was in foul trouble a lot of the game, so I need to stay out of foul trouble and just focus on the game. It should be a fun game.”

Thursday’s Games
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
UC Davis at Long Beach State
UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside
Hawai’i at UC Irvine, 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)

Saturday’s Games
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton
CSUN at UC Irvine
Cal Poly at UC Riverside
Hawai’i at UC Davis, 5 p.m. (Hawai’i time)

Thursday’s Game Information
Hawai’i (18-9, 6-5 Big West) vs. UC Irvine (14-10, 7-3 Big West)
When: Thursday, Feb. 19, 5:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Bren Events Center (Irvine, Calif.)
Television: Live on FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Oceanic Ch. 1228 (HD), Ch. 228 (SD)
Streaming Video: www.bigwest.tv
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 HawaiiAthlectics.com

(WarriorInsider.com file photos courtesy Matt Osumi)


  1. Go Bows…grind whether 5 guys available or 9
    play efficiently and with heart
    get irvine ..then get davis
    minimum 1-1 record…I think you all shhot well you can sweep 2 road games!!

    See…thatis completely positive comments for benjy and the bows!!


  2. You’re not going to know what happened re: the pot thing, Ben says due to confidentiality. You not going to know if anyone besides UH will pay for the hotel cleanup fees.

    I guess if something comes out via public record such as the case of a football player’s traffic case, then that’s how you learn about it and how UH handled an incident.

  3. islandman: So what you are saying and similar to other sports student athletes right to privacy very well guarded as it should be. Must not be felony, LAPD, I think called. However, seems the hotel most concerned about Who foots the bill for the smoke/ alleged damage.
    Once again, let UH, the counsel, the hotel, and In House handle matter. Wondered why if so serious, and the guys were tested etc. by Now, over a month later, parties, known, suspended for a game, and make restitution, no that if/alleged it were UH student/s doing it, and they found evidence or admission, AD and Coach would have doled out punishment already. Maybe another of these post, or after season, things to deal with.

    islandman, warm up to old TV set, we gotta cheer on the Giant Killlers in the Rainbow Warriors. Above video, promising, we know AV at 80% going to play, hleps to have that 9th guy, and in the background of Janks and NWC, notice MT in his black warmups making a move for a basket.. that is promising.. maybe he be available for Davis game, so UH would have 10 deep.. just make sure, ankles are taped well, and guys, stay on feet more, postiitiong watching where they land, and play straight up and down D and offense.. like in the Fifties.. very sound Fundamental Basketball, still can help team, get some rebounds, block alter shots, and make some shots,.. stay near the rim

    Go Bows… and island man for your real time endless research, must be on 5 PC’s. laptops, split screen monitors , smart devices at a time to do metrics/stats /latest on UH and Big West , Ncaa, and ncaa student athlete rights and public right to know.

    I call you Island Man, or Man of the Islands.. “all things UH sports” Mahalo for your tireless work,…

    And Go Bows.go hard shoot well and execute perfectly in prime time to get win number 1 against Irvine for 1st road win of the 2 game Cali swing!!

    Really believe, if team believes, and plays as well as at home these past two weeks they can sweep. You will notice the first 10 minutes of game, UH stay even, shooting well, or even press an get out to a double digit lead and can sit on that 10-12 point lead at half, Then same thing, same pressure, shoot efficiently and excecute, smartly.. and the win..

    Go Bows

  4. Likely starting 5 for tonight: Bobbit, Nevels, AV, NWC, Jankovic. Considering that starting 5 and UCI’s starting 5, I have to like our chances. I envision Bobbit getting his steals/assists, with the other 4 lighting it up from all angles. Then coming off the bench, I see some quality minutes coming in from Q, Jovanavic, Niko and Dyrbe. Most teams don’t go more than 8 or 9 deep as it is.

    This team has already proved to be road warriors after going 2 – 2 on their last, lengthy road trip (SHOULD have been 3 – 1…). Also wanted to re-iterate, the ONLY reason why UCI won in our house was because they shot an incredible 67% from the 3. I believe this team will return the favor and I’d love to see NWC continue launching, along with Nevels and Jankovic. AV and Bobbitt will need to crash the boards hard.

    In any case, I’m glad the game will be (semi?)nationally televised, as opposed to the painfully bad bigwest.tv streams! No doubt that the boys will come out with the W tonight. Let’s GO BOWS!!!

  5. Most teams would be in big trouble with three important players hurt, but what good timing for UH to play UC Irvine when they have three important players hurt just like UH. Now that makes it more “fair” for both sides except Irvine is at home. If Valdes can play for UH that might be a big advantage. I just hope and pray he plays only if his ankle is close to 100. Sometimes when guys try to play hurt they try to do too much and end up making mistakes. As Aaron says it should be a fun game.

  6. Not justifying any wrongdoings, but what’s the diff between Gib and Tark ? Don’t say Tark won a lot more, which is true. So if Gib won a lot over several years and got to the NCAA and won the first or second rounds, etc. you would look past the allegations ? Tark had more and maybe no less severe allegations than Gib. But Tark had good lawyers, beat the NCAA and also had a remarkable win loss record, so he is regarded as an icon.

    Anyway, Gib could be back coaching somewhere, eventually, like others “caught” by the NCAA.

    Keep close to your tv, Runbows and others, enjoy the game. I don’t get those Fox channels, hope its on the streaming, per Dayton and my pc doesn’t go off .

  7. check the facts please before comparing Gib to Tark. NCAA settled. Tark’s lawyers never got judgment that NCAA intentionally tried to ruin his coaching career. And Tark slapped with violations at UNLV and Fresno. The big difference, as long as you ask, is at least when Tark cheated he did more than first round exits from the lowly BWC. Gib couldn’t even cheat well and he sure won’t end up in the Hall of Fame. I have no doubt Gib will coach again. I said he will land on his feet but the players you are sooo concerned with will end up paying the penalty. All the cheats coach again because there are always places desperate enough to put the blinders on and ignore the past. Good job though. You were able to last five posts on a game day before forgetting the team and going back to the Gib well. Like your cohort says, “True Fan”. Sure…

  8. islandman, have you tried checking the link? Looks like there’s an app that gives you access but you may need to have some kind of cable tv account to use it.

    And in response to your question, I’d like to answer with a question. Who’s the real “bad guy” here? I think it’s easy to look at the NCAA as the “good guy” since they run things, while the “rule-breaking coaches” are the “bad guys”. To me, the NCAA to the Coaches are like the government is to us tax payers. They have their priorities to which they make their own rules and pretty much do what they want, because who’s going to stop them? Here’s a direct quote for Jerry Tarkanian’s Wiki…

    “In the decade between the original suspension and the Supreme Court ruling, it was revealed that the NCAA’s enforcement process was stacked heavily in the NCAA’s favor — so heavily, in fact, that it created a perception that there was no due process. The enforcement staff was allowed to build cases on hearsay, and shared few of their findings with the targeted school. The resulting negative publicity led the NCAA to institute a clearer separation between the enforcement staff and the infractions committee, as well as a system for appeals. Also, hearsay evidence was no longer admissible in infractions cases.”

    I’m not going to say that Tark never did anything wrong — it’s not possible for me, or anyone else to say either way — but I believe this emphasizes my above statement. The NCAA didn’t like Tark because Tark had the balls to point out their bias and corruption. The NCAA, of course, didn’t like this and threw everything they could at him. In the end, it was the NCAA found to be wrong and paying Tark a cool $2.5mil. Good lawyers or not, the facts stood and the NCAA lost.

    Gib wasn’t a perfect coach — and I don’t know that such a coach exists — but he is honest and did admit that he unknowingly made mistakes in which rules were broken. He is now utilizing his own resources in fighting the ALLEGATIONS made against him, and is confident he will win. I capitalized ALLEGATIONS because at this time, it’s all they are. Innocent until proven guilty, right??

    I believe we should enjoy what’s left of the season, let the powers at be do their thing and see what comes out at the end of it. As it is right now, I’m stoked for what the team currently is and am excited to see where they will be going. Post-season bound? Very likely. So why let unresolved hearsay and rumors blemish what’s currently happening in front of our faces? Let’s just focus on doing our job as fans and give our full fledged support to the team.


  9. Not for me to say…always the easy way out. Gib did no wrong. NCAA baaad. Out to get him. LOL. Good to see apologists out in force. Keep stroking and read something other than Wiki. Great article on ESPN but u wouldn’t want to read that since it doesn’t align with your opinions. Gib Arnold, future HOF’er.

  10. Tark’s player’s paid some penalty too. Tark won $2.5 million from the NCAA:

    “To settle a harassment suit Tarkanian had filed, the NCAA paid $2.5 million and Cedric Dempsey, then the president of the organization, released a statement that said in part, “The NCAA regrets the 26-year ongoing dispute with Jerry Tarkanian and looks forward to putting this matter to rest.” ( latimes article, 2-11-15)

    At least you seem to recognize that apparently Tark “cheated”. As to wins and losses, Gib was just starting his HC career. His UH team won in the first round of the WAC tournament in 2012.

    So you’re saying if Gib won more like Tark, he would be less maligned by some . Winning is (close to) everything then, no matter what you do to get there.

    ( Some comments about Gib were made by others under the previous day’s topic.)

  11. IsaacM..agree 1000%
    Just support team
    They are doing great
    Go Bows!
    No negative zone onthis site! !

  12. IsaacM; thanks for saying about the link. That usually doesn’t work for me too, unless it’s the ordinary big west streaming, because don’t have the higher cable package. However, i can get streaming most of the time on another site but it’s a minefield of malware.

    Oh, yes, i was going to point out again, like you posted, that Tark’s case led to some NCAA reforms in the infractions cases.

  13. Sorry Islandman but you are the one saying winning is the only thing with ur love of Gib. You guys can’t leave it alone. And last time I checked this was not Runbows Insider. Okay though cuz you can root for him at his next destination. I am sure you will provide updates on how he is doing. The three musketeers! LOL!

  14. Did anybody else notice how big Robert Kekaula is in the first picture? I wonder if that is his wife next to him. Her entire body from shoulder to shoulder is smaller than just one side of his shoulders.

    I not trying to be mean or anything like that, but he really stands out in the picture because the color of his shirt and how big he is.

  15. ChuckCheese:

    One thing good about Rob DeMello, Robert Kekaula and, Jim and Kanoa Leahy… they love Benjy Frenzy ball, and the effort and results.. It is a love affair, really under circumstances that the Fab Five did not have to deal with over 46 years ago!!

    I remember first time in person Robert Keakaula, he was covering the Midnight Ohana, or Midnight Madness at Klum Gym , standing room only, started at 12:01 am., with over 2000 of us die hard crazy, and younger fans. to watch Houston, Smalls, Beaubrun, McQuire, Bowe, Gaines, a rugged group that won I think 25 games, the most for UH MBB that year. did make the NIT and won 2 games before falling to New Mexico and Luc Longley at New Mexico, The Pit.

    Well , anyways, back then some 25 years ago, Robert was reporter sports for KHVH or KITV? correct me if I am wrong fans.. He was about 6’3″ plus, near 6’4″ and , get this.. he only weighed in around , I would guess 245, he looked like a good tight end.. now, our family watches him on TV casts, he looks same height, great singing voice and cooking gourmet, however would guess easily he weighs North of 500 pounds.. man ,have to customize his house, his toilets, sit special place in plane, to balance the ride.. etc.. and the beds have to be massive. his wife and daughter, like Brother Iz, or Brother Waz .. are both normal size people, very nice wives and children of very massive people.. Hope that Robert is healthy.. he must be on meds , or he might because of his height be able to carry 500 pounds.. he could not play FB at Kamehameha schools, because of lack of discipline, so he was a cheerleader at The Schools of Kapalam Heights..

    Good thing, He , Robert, does a lot of clips, sound bytes of Benjy, He and his staff, Rob Demello and their staff, Mike Carpenter and his staff, realize what Benjy has done. quite exciting, super that make it to NCAA or not.. just to win say, 21 or 22 games, that includes making it at least to BWC tourney semi finals.. FANTASTIC..
    Utter rebellion, and outcry from fans, if Benjy not hired as permanent HC, is Benjy hits 20 plus wins this season, and the 13 guys potential returning, no matter what, happens, they decide, just finish school in Hawaii and play for most wins ever over 3 year span.. Hey why not? Living in Hawaii on scholarship, of aid of parents.. good deal..

    Go Bows !!

  16. My top 3 FAVORITE Hawaii upset road wins:

    3. Hawaii at UNLV (March 19, 2003): First round of the NIT… Hawaii travels on the road to 21-win UNLV and literally POUNDS the Running Rebels… Hawaii is led by Michael Kuebler (21 points) and Carl English (20 pts, 6 rebounds, 5 assists). Hawaii wins 85-68.

    2.Hawaii at UC Irvine (January 25, 2014): Hawaii on the road against UC Irvine. It’s Irvine’s Homecoming and the Anteaters are among the leaders in the Big West. Hawaii is led by Isaac Fotu with 30 points… but it’s Keith Shamburger who makes the shot of the night… a 3-point prayer to tie the score at 78 and force the game into overtime. In overtime, Hawaii pulls away and wins… 90-86.

    1. Hawaii at Fresno State (March 2, 2002): Pedrag Savovic is injured. Hawaii is limping into Fresno State on the eve of the WAC Tournament. Fresno wants nothing more than to knock off Hawaii, who is without their leading scorer. Then Carl English happened… English goes off for 33 points, including 5 three pointers, as Hawaii stuns the Fresno crowd..82-79… This KEY win propels Hawaii to a WAC tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth.

  17. njacinto… the way Benjy Frenzy Ball played by the Bows.. they can get up on leads, they can get down, however, just stay in reach.. and lock down on D and shoot well last 5 minutes of game.. just execute.. after 27 games, and countless different lineups.. you watch Niko will get key assist of steal, or rebound, or Dyrbe will hit 2 threes in a row, to help UH break out to double digit, lead.. even if only 9 games, and AV playing about 18 minutes,, Janks, NWC, Bobbitt, Valdes, Smith, and Jovanovich, along with Dyrbe, Niko, and Nevels will be in the mix to sweep Davis.. only thing get to them , too many fouls, that limit their agressivness, would think to protect guys, stay in very active, well packed in zone, even if Irvine hitting threes, just to protect the players, so they don’t foul out, and UH can make a run.. have feeling, if last 5 minutes, UH only has Bobbitt, Smith, Niko NWC and Nevels, they probably finish game and get win.. Either way.. split 1-1 or better 2-0 for 20th win of season !!

    Go Bows !!

  18. Game also on Channel 31, Oceanic, for those that have that channel.

  19. Man Hawaii can’t get the lid off the rim in the second half. They should concede, rest up the troops and get ready for the battle at UCD. I’ll be there to cheer on the Bows.

  20. Lucky dog. I think they got a chance against Davis. Couldn’t watch but saw box score. Did Fleming play? Not sure that is good idea. Better to rest so ready for tourney.

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