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Emotions abound on “Senior Night”

“Senior Night” is always filled with emotion, and the latest version of the University of Hawai’i basketball team’s home finale ran the emotional gamut at the Stan Sheriff Center on Wednesday night.

There were the usual poignant video tributes and heartwarming gifts of lei from family, friends and fans for senior Garrett Nevels and graduating junior Brandon Jawato.

“I almost started crying earlier, but I was able to keep it together,” Nevels said. “All these lei the fans gave me, it’s a great feeling. I feel special right now.”

There was also unfortunate sorrow, as the Warriors dropped the Big West Conference game to UC Santa Barbara, 98-90.

SeniorsTeam_Osumi

“We lost, so we still got work to do,” Nevels said. “But I just want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. It’s a Wednesday and I know people have work or whatever, and we had a great crowd. I ‘m just sorry we couldn’t get the win for them.”

From the fans and coaches, there was pride and gratitude. Head coach Benjy Taylor expressed it, noting the emotional ups and downs the players had to go through for an entire season leading up to the Senior Night. (Photo courtesy Matt Osumi)

“I’m just really proud of them,” Taylor said. “I just want to personally thank them for sticking it out and making the commitment they did.

“I hope they learned something from this year. We still got a lot of basketball left, and I’m proud of them, on and off the floor, and … I love them.”

Taylor himself became an impromptu part of the post-game festivities when fans started chanting “Ben-jy! Ben-jy! Ben-jy!” The intent of the chants were likely two-fold – one for Taylor’s yeoman job in leading a team in turmoil to a 19-12 record (with at least two games remaining), and two for his uncertain status for next season, as the UH administration has decided to open the head coach position (and Taylor will be allowed to apply).

“I’ve worked at a lot of schools, there’s no place like Hawai’i – this place is unbelievable,” Taylor said. “Great people here. I just want to tell everybody tonight, the chants, and all the support I’ve been getting all year, all the support the team’s been getting, I just want to thank everybody.

“Regardless of what happens to me, I just want to make sure that these guys stay here. A lot of people don’t understand what they have here. They think what we did this year was easy. They don’t understand that this group of guys, if they stay together, that’s what mid-major powerhouses are made of.”

— — — — — — —

BIG WEST SCENARIOS GETTING CLEARER

Hawai’i will be either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed for next week’s Big West Conference Tournament at Anaheim, Calif.

The Warriors have one regular-season game remaining – this Saturday at Cal State Fullerton. A win against the last-place Titans will earn Hawai’i the No. 5 seed and a first-round Big West tournament game against No. 4 Long Beach State.

A loss at Cal State Fullerton and a win by UC Riverside (vs. Long Beach State) would drop the Warriors to No. 6. If the Warriors drop to No. 6, they would face either UC Irvine or UC Santa Barbara in the first round.

If both Hawai’i and UC Riverside lose on Saturday, the Warriors would get the No. 5 seed.

UC Davis clinched the regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed for the tournament.

Thursday’s Big West Results
UC Irvine 68, Cal State Fullerton 62
Long Beach State 69, CSUN 58
UC Davis 61, UC Riverside 59

Saturday’s Big West Games
Cal Poly at UC Santa Barbara
Long Beach State at UC Riverside
UC Irvine at UC Davis
Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton, 3 p.m. Hawai’i time (www.ESPN3.com)

Screen shot 2015-03-05 at 10.50.24 PM

20 Comments

  1. Hey Benjy Taylor… you did Hawaii, the UH MBB fans, darn proud.. who in the country, after what went down in October..would still be willing to hold the program together, and have team fight so hard to be on brink of 20 win season… with possibility of going to NCAA’s?
    Even if UH MBB team finishes at 19 wins.. incredible season.. AND WE TRUE FANS Appreciate what the guys and your staff have done.. Heck , your tears, the tears of Nevels and Jawato and their friends and families we share.. For the brave 14 who did not give up, and stayed with program, despite the Noise, and distraction and bad rap, negativism.. ignore that.. the True fans, the older and newer , the ones that understand NCAA DI ball, and how hard it is to go to school and compete at high level in sports.. We APPRECIATE You Coach Taylor , the staff, and the Team and their Ohana..

    Mahalo… and Please apply, and be honest, lay it on the Table, You are the best choice to lead UH MBB for next 3 or 4 years and beyond, why? Because, You know the young men and their families.. awesome Benjy Ball,.. and if that AD, Ben Jay, had just had the gumption, the fortitude and the backing to offer you a multi year deal, speed up the process, to make you permanent, HC, take away the Interim tag.. for sure you could land a good JC big and JC shooter.. just 2 more pieces to have your team, the UH Warriors. be contenders to win outright the BWC regular and BWC tourney titles for next 3 years..What a raw deal.. no foresight by UH admin, and very not pono or Akamai, for AD to not help you and Que and staff with recruiting those 2 JC athletes.. shame on them

    Well, Benjy, and Team, we love you guys.. Strength, through Adversity… You all just go out and try to win a couple of more, or many more wins.. and put that on the resume for search.. No, .. Gary D. said it well on sports animals overtime.. He asked Ben Jay point blank.. why offer an interim, deal for one year. makes No sense.. and any HC acting would reject..

    You all are winners, and let common sense and fairness prevail Benjy and The Bows. so we can watch Benjy Ball start winning regular season championships.
    However. season ain’t over, Benjy.. still have that 20 plus win season ahead as goal, and the NCAA bid !!

    Go Bows.. And Benjy don’t give, up.. many thousands of Good fans of MBB support you.. We know team is young.. and it takes time to bond ,and play basketball smart.. hard. to get 11 guys active to bond in 3 months time.. however. .. at just about 20 wins for season. You all made it work !! Not bad for a country boy from North Carolina.. !!

    Awesome Job! And We thankyou for staying as the HC for this year,.. and hopefully , No. really for years to come !!

    🙂

  2. Just wanted to drop a mahalo and thank you to Garrett Nevels you have been the example of a true warrior and have made your mark here on the program. You will be greatly missed. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. We would be undefeated if we had 5 Nevel’s out there on the court. Also best wishes to Brandon Jawato I remember that 7 3 point game like yesterday that was an amazing moment and wish you all the best in the future.

  3. Benjy says he would accept a one year contract but prefers two, per Reardon’s column today. He didn’t accept the earlier one year extension because that included a provision that he could be replaced at any time.

    The team has to maintain an acceptable APR; the two players that left hurt it, per Benjy. I wonder how Kentucky does it since some of their players stay only for one semester. Unless the two that left were not in favorable academic standing ?

    Next AD could be in place in two weeks, per the article.

  4. The UH administration is planning on allowing the team to compete in the Big West tournament, per another article in the staradvertiser. This is in regards to some people thinking that the UH might impose a post season ban this season.

  5. Two years is so short. Wish Garrett was here from freshman. He’s a good man.

    Brandon’s got a good head on his shoulders. Throughout his career he showed his better side to the public even though he went through some tough valleys. But those valleys are when you learn about yourself and life in general.

    Good luck to the both of them and Mahalo nui loa..

  6. Hawaii has the best senior night festivities. No other place can compare with the leis and the love we show our guys.

  7. islandman….. in that article by Dave R., I like how Benjy told the Power that be, that It is a need to fill the HC job soon, instead of the approach by chancellor, we don’t have to rush, we can wait..seems like chancellor wants AD hired soon, they should really speed up the process. not on Hawaiian, or University of Hawaii admin time.. Real time.. hire AD within the next week or less, then that AD can hire HC, and Benjy , with what is coming, or not from ncaa, can guide the team at least for one or two more years, and next 2 years, can really be great in winning wise.
    Yes, team has to do their part too, they have to hit that 2. 7 GPA or better again, and keep the team together, no scholie guys transferring or not doing well in school.

    That One Year deal, as Real Coach, not interim with option to terminate anytime, ridiculous… however , a One Year Contract with option to extend, would be ideal, for Benjy, the team, the Program and the new AD.. he can see how BT works out, and MBB program.. They, the MBB program, can be good for next 2 years at least, so many young guys..
    Well optimistic.. and new AD… at least he knows he has a HC in place already, helping team.. Just hope MBB team, if you all are reading our posts.. DO WELL IN SCHOOL THIS SEMESTER so Important for your own futures..

    Go Bows.. And Benjy and The Bows.. just play hoops, how you all have done it, and focused and won near 20 games.. amazing, as Dave R. wrote, lot of credit to papa B..

  8. islandman….

    . And Benjy and fellow coaches, even the ones that would apply, will see what type of support UH admin has given to program, and even how they have treated Benjy..
    Plus,… it absolutely cripples recruiting that last 2 JC pieces.. a good Big and shooter,. if they don’t know if BT here or not..I hope they get AD on board fast.. and give Benjy at least One Year deal with option for extension after next season.. sounds really fair.. and practical.

    islandman.. does Admin get it? I don’t know.. even chancellor, or president, don’t know if they were ever NCAA or college athletes, or coaches of athletics.. more academics and grant chasers..
    Wish them the best.. whomever informing them.. Benjy, Benjy Benjy ! All We Are Saying .. Is Give BT a chance.. for Stability and 2 more great seasons of exciting MBB !!
    good work islandman,.. the fastest guy on the pc/ smart tab, / smart phone, or server, that I know. real time.. quick updates.. on UH athletics..
    Hey islandman… YOU SHOULD BE THE NEXT AD !!
    🙂

  9. Runbows and others; speaking of the AD, the minimum requirements include ” three years of athletic administrative experience at the collegiate level or any equivalent combination of education and experience “, per news article.

    So maybe favorites like Keith Amemiya and Rick Blangiardi are eliminated, unless the meet the equivalent requirements.

  10. Well, John McNamara.. hmm, he is an insider.. knows what is going on through at least 2 AD’s and still associate..if he is good with current coaches including BT as MBB coach.. that would be good. so much that John could do, since AD and Admin call the shots..

    As SA bloggers state.. maybe the Benjy, Benjy Benjy ! chants at SSC .. started Admin to speed up.. plus Chancellor, who is also Interim.. and Pres. L.. doesn’t seem like they were Athletes at college level or any idea of NCAA DI , especially with past recent history of UH athletics..

    I think.. Now.. there is a lot of support publicly, and that near 6000 white out nite, who still give team and coach ovation.. after a loss.. that speaks volumes.. What about Chow as FB coach.. and the attendance and support going backwards? Really bottom backwards.. the way admin handles things..
    And on the Sports Animals overtime show, Yesterday.. BJ was saying.. he could make offer to BT, and went with that crazy interim, anytime fire one year deal.. One year guaranteed with option to extend, another year or two.. makes sense.. Someone at UH, or the legal counsel.. Now they are starting to move….And if late JC gets.. man, makes you nervous.. however as BT says.. never heard of.. how can recruit.. if recruits don’t know that guy recruiting them will be here next season or not.. it is not like recruiting to Duke or Kentucky.. just plug in the next coach and recruit to the program..

    UH admin.. don’t hurry.. but HURRY UP.. for stability.. heck for The Sake of Team and their families too.. That Team is still locked in.. and maturing.. and still trying to win ball games.. credit to them and BT.. papa Bear;

  11. Per another blog, Syracuse and Jim Boeheim hit pretty hard by NCAA sanctions. Theirs took eight years to complete. Costing him 108 career victories, 12 scholarships over four years and a suspension for “only” 9 games.

    But i don’t see any further post season ban.

    http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2015/3/6/8161923/syracuse-basketball-hammered-by-ncaa-for-failure-to-monitor

  12. I kind of hate to bring this up but I am really curious to know if there was any sightings of Gib Arnold on senior night. If I recall, he himself recruited by G-Money and Jawato so Im sure he has proud feelings for these two graduating. I don’t know if Gib is banned from attending any UH events.

  13. I think he was at kalaheo vs iolani div 1 hs bb championship game at ssc?
    Think his 15 year old son freshman or soph on kalaheo varsity team

    As far as Benjy and Senque ability to recruit…think soon they would have to know they are here next season…then can assure the 2 jc recruits whomever they be..

    Could get late gets…up until fall semester starts

    Heck..team just have fun , run and gun..try to get 20th win
    too much added distractions
    they and families want to know soon who next year’s coach
    does admin even care about the young student athletes? And their ohana?
    I hope so..
    they deserve better..they have brought joy to thousands of uh mbb fans!!
    Go Bows!!
    🙂

  14. islandman….

    man… Syracuse and HC of MBB, over what 10 year period? Seems much worse than UH situation.. Syracuse HC and University will appeal.. some things..

    UH fired HC and assistant, as well as suspended and eventually departure of Key PF..as Bobby C. states, so strongly, that UH , Not Lack of Institutional Control, they did what had to be done..

    Interesting comment to, by Bobby C.. that NCAA wants to revamp the penalties on student athletes and current program..if they were innocent or not even part of infractions.. To me , that seems fair.. why suffer for the errors of someone else.. ?

  15. Kind of exciting actually what UH MBB has at stake.. for themselves , Hawaii and their families first, and Benjy states it as well, which is taking the high road.. It is for the guys…they stick it out… whatever comes down,,and maybe it will Not Be as Bad.. Because UH admin did, under counsel, very proactive to have lesser of , if any penalties.. That still keeping Post Season in play for several years.. like St Marys and Randy Bennett got, his 4 year thing, limit scholies, recruiting window, practice limits, and going to protocol classes. AND STILL could compete for WCC regular and WCC tournament crown,.. would be best case scenario..

    That is why, chancellor and counsel , should not go for overkill, do what they can, to respond..however any type of future, Post Season self imposed ban.. steer clear of that.. unless. Ncaa, says the infractions warrant.. who knows? Maybe, as Bobby C., stated.. UH did MORE than enough to appease NCAA.. .. UH , why punish the MBB program, and next 2 years student athletes more? Crazy..

    Go Bows… Man, if some way, they got hot and go to NCAA tournament.. what a punctuation mark. to season of Adversity.. finish Strong.

    Hey fans, watch on ESPNwatch app, or ESPN3 online feed if you have I think? Oceanic or HawTel, accounts.. the ESPN3 stream is about the best there is.. Not the cheap one video camera held by a student, with radio announcers and No scoreboard or graphics. for Big West Tv..

    Go Bows.. Just concentrate on stopping Fullerton’s 3 ball bombers.. that is How teams beat UH down the stretch.. just hit 3 bombs in last 10 minutes.. UH pressure, D, get double digit lead, and hold it. till final buzzer.

    Should be great game.. Fullerton, AD ? Jim Donovan.. should be battle between Ben Jay and Jim Donovan’s MBB programs.. game within a game..

    Go Bows. Rainbow Warriors !!
    🙂
    And does this near 50 year fan of UH MBB Appreciate the Team, the staff and the Ohana of players.. without question
    To me.. Fab Five, and Tom Henderson 2 year run, Savo teams, AC teams. did not have to deal with the Adversity.. yet this team. came out okay.. and still can make NCAA if everything falls into place.

    However.. MAHALO to families Ohana, of Garrett, Quincy, Rod, Isaac, Dyrbe, Niko, Stef , Janks, NWC, Jawato Wato, MT, AV, and RS’s Zach and Brocke.. great job , and no matter what happens.. I will, as well as thousands of hard core, bleed green and white fans, of recent vintage and going back to 1960’s teams.. APPRECIATE ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE.. to make UH MBB exciting again..
    It will work out.. and hope that UH Admin, speed up AD search and hire, and AD can consider, BT for HC, even the 1 year guaranteed with possibility of extension for 2 after that, is good deal, of course with good compensation.. BWC standard salaries.. hope that with BT, Senque, Brad and Brandon would stay on staff. and of course.. lover of UH MBB and promoting it.. Jamie Smith, the brother loves Hawaii, and if permanent, going into next season. from beginning will get SSC rocking again
    And shout out to that 5000-6000 who show up every home game, and have given team standing ovation after wins or losses because of EFFORT supreme.

    Love this 2014-15 Season team.. Finish Strong.. Imua.. and Mahalo Plenty!!
    🙂

  16. The newspaper coverage the past few days has really showed how incompetent Bley Vroman is as the UH chancellor when it comes to athletics. First he mentioned that self-imposed ban for Big West Tournament was “still on the table” just one week before the tournament.

    And then today he talks about there being no rush to name a basketball coach. Really?! I could only laugh in frustration when he said something about STARTING to work on it when the Final Four comes around. Good grief.

    I was also laughing when I saw that the UH spokesman had to issue a statement saying that UH planned to play in the Big West Tournament. Double good grief.

    Here’s my re-enactment of the conversation:

    Spokesman: Umm, Mr. Vroman, should I prepare a statement about how we are actually saving ourselves future problems by throwing away thousands of dollars in airfare and travel expenses that our team already paid for and that fans who booked trips can still go and enjoy the other teams?

    Vroman: Ohhhh, uh, umm, never mind. Let the team go to the tournament.

    Spokesman: Will do. Should I include the part that you stayed at a Hoilday Inn Express last night?

  17. Chuck:

    That is why UH Athletics, has been in mess they have been in.. Ones making the calls, or directed by Power that Be, not using Akamai, crazy..
    And poor teams, and the student athletes suffer.

    Have a President that supports UH athletics 110% and Chancellor, with vision, and urgency.. The first thing.. in December when Jay announced resignation..let him go.. then Associate AD run show until get permanent.. and Chancellor with input of other UH coaches,. work on getting Interim BB in place with guaranteed 1 year deal with option for 2 extension, at good salary rate., so Benjy and Que, Brad can recruit.. How can we know how Benjy can recruit, if two hands tied behind back?

    Chancellor, doesn’t get NCAA DI athletics.. get people in place Fast, and go from there.. Go Slow.. and lose a lot,.. athletes, coaches that are winning.. and the fans, they will dig out, on a money making MBB program.. crazy.

    Toooooo Slow, the Hire of HC, and the AD in place,

    Chuck, enjoy tomorrow’s game on ESPN3.. should be a battle, hope UH MBB comes out with their 20th win, or more importantly their first opening round BWC tourney win next Thursday, which can carry them to battle for NCAA bid..

    Yeah.. makes one laugh.. do they get it? I don’t think so… sense of Urgency..No Rush.. and whole recruiting window.. and possible signing of Rebounder, Big and Shooter from JC ranks, who would be willing to sign, and deal with whatever .. Not Akamai at all.. Chancellor should have gag order.. who is directing what he Says? Weird?

  18. At this point, I have no confidence in the chancellor or the UH President. They are definitely in no hurry and they could care less. Getting the permanent Head Coach pronto is essential. Prospects are in limbo and good ones may go elsewhere because of the uncertainty. Then again, there has been no names as to any prospectss looking to be interested in coming here so maybe there are no recruits. And then again, the NCAA wiill slap some loss of scholarships like they did to Syracuse so then the recruiting might be moot. Who knows.

    No college or university coaches is squeaky clean. If they were, they would be God. Everybody cheats in different degrees. The problem is getting caught. The NCAA can’t catch everybody. Somebody have to squeal on them to raise red flags. Then they’ll start an investigation. It’s like speeding. Some people that speed get caught, most of people that speed will not get caught. There’s not even cops to catch everybody.

  19. From the SB nation article, regarding Syracuse:

    ” The violations occurred between a 10-year period from 2001-02 to 2011-12. The report states that the infractions include academic impropriety, a failure to comply with the school’s own drug testing policy and relationships between athletes and boosters that went against NCAA rules.

    Boeheim is specifically named throughout the report. According to the report, Boeheim “did not promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program and did not monitor the activities of those who reported to him.”
    —————————————————————————————————-

    Yet, JimB. is still the coach. Is he a teflon man ?

  20. ^^^ I think 30+ years of success plus national titles plus millions of dollars made for the school every year helped Boeheim keep his job. His violations were obviously a lot worse than what we had here at UH, and yet nobody lost their job at Syracuse.

    Comparing Boeheim to Arnold is no comparison due to all that success of history. I’m sure there is a sense that he is a teflon Jim around the Syracuse campus. Arnold, on the other hand, looks like he went down from a lot of “friendly fire” that helped the NCAA.

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