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Aloha, Garrett Nevels

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If a team is only as good as its senior class, then it is quite appropriate that Garrett Nevels is the lone senior on this University of Hawai’i basketball team.

Gritty, determined, relentless and athletic are apt descriptions for both Nevels and the squad he is not afraid to call “my team.”

“I’m pretty proud of my team,” he said. “We got a pretty good season and I’m really the only person that had any playing time in the Big West before.”

Nevels, a 6-foot-2 guard from Los Angeles, Calif., will play his final home game as a Warrior on Wednesday, when Hawai’i hosts UC Santa Barbara in a Big West Conference contest at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game is being promoted as a “White-Out” – fans are encouraged to wear white shirts – and Nevels will be honored after the game in traditional “Senior Night” festivities (junior Brandon Jawato will also be honored, as he will be graduating after this current semester).

It’s been quite a ride for Nevels, who transferred to Hawai’i from Mount San Antonio College (Calif.) prior to the 2013-14 season, and became an immediate starter. He led the Warriors with 59 3-pointers and a .413 percentage from 3-point range as a junior.

A serious thumb/hand injury that required surgery in December has slowed his production this season, but not his determination. He missed just three games after the surgery, and has played most of the season with his right (shooting) hand wrapped. While recovering from the surgery, he worked on shooting – and making – baskets with his left hand.

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As a result, he still ranks third on the team in scoring (10.6) and rebounding (4.7), and second in 3-pointers (38).

Of course, there were numerous other distractions this season, starting with the dismissal of then-head coach Gib Arnold and assistant coach Brandyn Akana, and then the departure of star forward Isaac Fotu.

Nevels displayed his leadership in the immediate aftermath, serving as the team’s spokesperson and answering questions about the delicate situation with a unique blend of candidness and class.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “We’re all stronger people because of it, just for the way we fought through adversity all year. After that happened I know nobody expected us to be on the verge of winning 20 games … it’s just a testament to hard work and perseverance.”

Nevels was also a model of confidence, insisting from the start that the wounded Warriors would be a dangerous team for any and every opponent.

“I believed it because, I mean, just because a coach leaves, that doesn’t take away all the preseason work that we had already put in. We were still doing our beach workouts, we were working hard, we were on the track. Just because somebody left, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be successful. And I’m not the type of person to just walk out to a game and lay down and take losses. I still wanted to win.”

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Through it all, he put in the extra effort – often putting up hundreds of different shots both before and after practices, sometimes for several hours by himself. When no other players were around, he would simply set up chairs on the court to serve as “defenders.”

He said it is a work ethic he learned from his parents, Keith and Lisa. His father works for a gas company in Los Angeles, and Nevels said he remembers his dad working overtime hours on the weekends to provide for the family (Nevels also has a younger brother).

“I would say definitely just looking at my parents because they worked hard themselves,” Nevels said. “My dad, he’ll work like every Sunday, he’ll go work overtime. As I got older I started noticing, I said if he’s putting in overtime, why shouldn’t I?”

His relentless pursuit of perfection has also translated into academics. He is on target to graduate with a major in Sociology this May.

After that, he hopes to play professional basketball, be it in the United States or abroad. If his two years in Hawai’i are any indication, it would be wise not to bet against him.

When all is said and done, Nevels’ name may not be atop any record lists or all-conference honors. Yet, he is the kind of player who should always be remembered as an example for future Warrior basketball players.

He always put the team first, even if it meant altering his own game to adjust to injuries. He put in countless hours of solo workout time in an effort to improve. He maintained his academics and will leave with a college degree.

In a time of turmoil, he was a beacon of focus and faith. If ever there was a senior deserving of the spotlight on “Senior Night,” Garrett Nevels is it.

Game Information
Who:
UC Santa Barbara (16-12 overall, 9-5 Big West) at Hawai‘i (19-11 overall, 7-7 Big West)
When: Wednesday, March 4, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu
Tickets: Lower level – $26 per seat. Upper level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, $5 for students (4 through high school); 50 percent discount for UH Alumni Association members and military. Parking is $6.
Television: Live on OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: 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 HawaiiAthletics.com
Promotions: The University of Hawai’i Federal Credit Union is the “Senior Night” game sponsor and will distribute 500 sport water bottles and 3,000 team photos. Fans will have a chance to win an iPad Mini at halftime in the UHFCU “Halfcourt Heave” contest. The game is a “Whiteout,” so be sure to wear your white apparel. UH Alumni Association paid members and military members receive 50% off adult tickets.

13 Comments

  1. Do Not Bet Against Garrett Nevels !! Or His Team !!
    Go Bows !!

  2. TRUE… Garrett IS The GLUE AND The Straw That Stirs The Winning Drink…
    THE Continuity, The Common Element, The Ambidextrous…

    SENIOR NIGHT – BEAT UCSB…
    Earn Back-to-Back 20-WIN Seasons – RARE in UH History
    ONLY Third Time Versus D-1 Schedule

    AND Fullerton:
    Back-to-Back Winning Conference Seasons – ALSO Rare

    DO THIS? Beat UCSB
    OR ANY OR ALL of TWO, Three, Four Or More Games…

    His Other FOUR STARTERS From Last Year are GONE
    Tip-of-the-Spear TEAM MVP Spearman, FIRST-TEAM All-Conference Standhardinger, FIRST-TEAM All-Conference FOTU, #1 ASSISTS Shamburger… What Other TEAM in BWC Could LOSE So Much?
    YET Here “THEY” Are …
    A TEAM Right Back On The Verge Of Back-to-Back 20’s
    A Benchmark of PROGRAM Legitimacy

    TRUE, The Cupboard’s Not Bare…
    BUT Different Coaches, Different Starters…
    SAME ‘OL GARRETT!

    Mahalo, G!
    BEST OF THE BEST TO YOU and Yours Always!
    (P.S.
    FINISH STRONG !
    AS Strong As YOU WANT…
    AND Deserve…)

  3. Wow, it seems too soon for your time to be up here. I remember when you first committed and how stoked we all were. You did not disappoint and we wish you best in your future endeavors! You have the skillset to be a pro baller somewhere and we will indeed miss you! Finish the season strong! Aloha and Mahalo Garrett!

  4. First class student, young man and athlete. Too short a time at UH . Will miss the intensity, AND you and Aaron V. gathering team together in October, to stay together, play for Hawaii, the University, get education and win games/championships.. You are another one, if you choose Garrett to be a good Basketball coach, or mentor.

    Best Wishes G Money !!
    🙂

  5. Mr. Intensity! G-Money is money for this team setting the example for the young guys. This guy been playing with his trigger hand hurt and still putting up numbers and playing D. The block in the Colorado game of the guy going for the dunk and then the last game on Long Beach big man were Top 10 Play of the Day stuff!

    Terrific write up and interview with a true captain! Mahalo Garrett and to Mr. and Mrs. Nevels for knowing the true meaning of Ohana.

  6. Garrett really stepped his defense up this year. Although he scored well last year, he seemed to be in the shadows with Fotu and Standhardinger around but this year he is the team leader. It’s his all around game and grit that helps to drive this team. Also has great character. Best of luck in the future and finish the season strong.

  7. Aaron Nevels is precisely the type of kid that a program wants, and needs.

    He is a self-made highly-successful individual who has achieved much, and who will continue on an upward trajectory throughout the duration of his life. A worker, who obviously possess elite physical gifts, but has also bought into the notion of hard-work and improvement, who puts his money where his mouth is.

    And the guys respond to him. They respect what he does, and he has the courage and willingness to lead – which is not the easy path to take. Much easier to take care your business, lay back, and provide commentary. It is harder to lead.

    It is not difficult to see Garrett Nevels, 20 years from now, as a teacher, or a Principal, a lawyer, or a judge, or a police detective. He is the type of individual that employers want to hire, and once in an organization, he is the type of guy who rises.

    He has a very, very bright future.

  8. Respect is earned, not given, and through hard work and perseverance, Nevels has earned the respect of teammates and followers of the program. He is, without a doubt, the leader of this team because he had the courage to step up when called upon.

    As others have stated, Nevels will be successful in whatever field of work he undertakes … following a professional basketball career, of course.

    Mahalo, Garrett, for being a quintessential example of a student-athlete, someone the University of Hawaii and state can be proud of.

  9. Oh, and nice job by Dayton on the tributes to Nevels and Jawato. You know them better than any of us, so it was nice of you to share your own insights/comments rather than simply treating these as news stories.

  10. Dayton mentioned that Jawato is the last remaining player that went on the Asia tour to China and Japan in 2011. Benjy mentioned awhile ago that there will / may be a foreign tour this year. If it goes through, anybody can guess where it will be to ?

  11. I remember Coach Taylor saying that, about recruiting guys for coming year.. if he, staff could recruit a couple of Garrett Nevels, Warrior, great guy, team first , win first , type, all effort,.. UH will be in good shape next couple of years.

    Garrett Nevels: The Face Of UH MBB Warriors ! What a testimony, STRENGTH THROUGH ADVERSITY..
    And Fans, Garrett and team , season ain’t over yet. .. whether NCAA bid or , I mean that lady’s 1.2 million dollar donation FOR ALL UH athletics programs, some of that should finance UH for CIT or CBI participation you would think .. To Reward Nevels and Whole team..

    Proud Of G Money.. keeping team together.. otherwise fellow MBB fans, with turmoil back in October.. possibly No 2014-15 season, and success.

    Mahalo Plenty Garrett Nevels and to your Family, parents Ohana.. Thankyou for sharing Garrett with UH MBB for past 2 years.. plus he will be a UH Manoa graudate..

    Wish you the Best Garrett Nevels.. True Captain, and Warrior, Rainbow Warrior!
    🙂

  12. Garrett:

    Real High Character guy, and very mature. Mt. Sac JC grad and transfer.
    Probably why he goes so hard, and with that injury and surgery to hand.. how many would have been back, just going pedal to the metal, within 6 weeks, and he even sooner… incredible.

    His leadership, determination, and he not the laid back type, motivates his team. for sure, you can see it.. Intense.. he has that personal , well Team goal of getting wins into the 20’s, well, be assured, he will be leading the charge for playing many more games this year.

    Garrett Nevels and Brandon Jawato’s touching interviews.. Dayton Morinaga, for going on 5 years. without question, the beat writer, the radio and tv people, cannot touch, your coverage of MBB team, as clyde mentioned, you probably know the past two coaching staffs and all the athletes, even some recruiting coverage better than most of us.. MAHALO PLENTY TO Dayton Morinaga, WI, and The Schmidt Ohana, for the Best Site on the Planet of all Things, and you are correct jjay, super UH fan, For All Things Men’s Basketball !!

    🙂
    Go get em, UH MBB team.. UCSB game should be a battle, believe that G Money and team, giving 110% going win some games and more this March !!~

  13. Wow! Don’the know much more I can to the above-mentioned. Probably a lot. But just let me say that your teammates are much better players and people because of your leadership. Garrett you affected not only YOUR team, but also the Hawaii basketball community. And we thank you for that.
    See you at the Stanley tomorrow.

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