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Highlights from the Awards Banquet, Part I

The night started with a proclamation from Mayor Kirk Caldwell declaring it University of Hawai’i Men’s Basketball Day, and it ended with outgoing head coach Benjy Taylor and the 2014-15 Warriors receiving a standing ovation.

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The University of Hawai’i Basketball Awards Banquet featured numerous highlights on a night when the program celebrated the surprising 22-13 record that included a run to the championship game of the Big West Conference Tournament.

“We just fought hard every night,” Taylor said. “We came out to play every night and we made history. One thing moving forward moving forward that they’ll never be able to change in the history books is that we’ll always be the fourth-winningest team in UH history with 22 wins.”

Taylor will be remembered as the “acting” head coach who took over the program after previous head coach Gib Arnold and assistant coach Brandyn Akana were released two weeks before the season opener, and star forward Isaac Fotu opted to turn professional after the dismissals of Arnold and Akana.

Taylor said it did not take long for him to realize that the team would regroup from what would seem to be insurmountable setbacks. He said the team’s first scrimmage – against Brigham Young-Hawai’i – came just days after the dismissals of the previous coaches, and the team responded well.

“Garrett (Nevels) hits a 27-footer (to end the first half), and we are running around the floor like it’s Indianapolis, like we had just won the NCAA Tournament,” Taylor said. “That’s when I knew we were going to be good. That’s when I knew we had put everything behind us and we could move forward.”

The video above features highlights from the first half of the banquet, which was held on April 29 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, including the presentations of Freshman of the Year to Isaac Fleming, Newcomer of the Year to Roderick Bobbitt, and Most Improved Player to Aaron Valdes.

More highlights and interviews will be posted in the days to come.

(Photo courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)

15 Comments

  1. Thankyou Dayton, the Schmidt Ohana sponsors. Great site for MBB fans !

    The coverage is very emotional,
    What a team, what a coaching staff, and what a memorable ride for MBB fans for this past season. Eran has a big job ahead, wish him well.
    Benjy and the Bows, Thankyou. And Benjy.. man,.. great job, you will be remembered always, hope you get to stay in Hawaii ! Or come back soon !

    Mahalo Bows !!
    🙂

  2. Thanks Dayton, lot of support for Benjy, sometimes that is how is goes, with hirings.. well, Benjy and The Rainbow Warriors, I personally will never forget what He and this group of young men, HIGH CHARACTER, non political, just went out and gave total effort, and WON.. everything that MBB fans wanted to see, dunks, 3 pointers, flashy drives, relentless defense, and chance to NCAA dance, Benjy and team did it… what more could Coach Taylor do.. not much more.. Great job Benjy and Team.. !! Winners.. all the way…

  3. I echo that big Mahalo to Dayton and all who are responsible for the WI site.
    And a big Mahalo to the entire 2014-2015 coaching staff.

  4. Indeed, Thanks for the video !!
    Go Bows !!

  5. Hey Mike TNT,

    You looked almost as long as Jovan with knees slightly bend !
    Heard your promises, hoped all turn into MUSCLES, SPEED and REACH !?
    Coming November => Explosion-Time; Made us proud.

  6. If the new coach has a losing season with the same returning players minus 1 who graduated, that will cause doubt
    and concern going forward. Hope that does not happen.

  7. Oklahoma vs Villanova to honor Pearl Harbor on December 7 someplace in Hawaii. Sounds corny if you ask me. When they had a game aboard the aircraft carrier in San Diego in 2012 it was the local team San Diego State vs Syracuse. Now they want to have foreign teams playing in Hawaii? That’s so commercial and anti Hawaii. What’s Oklahoma and Villanova got to do with Hawaii? If they said Oklahoma would be playing Hawaii to honor Pearl Harbor I would say amen to that. Why not give a chance to the local team to display their talents? I guess to ESPN it’s all about money.

  8. Who’s that big dude on the far left ?

  9. You mean Negus, on the far left ?

  10. Pope signed with North Carolina Central, noted on another forum. Their league, MEAC, is rated second to last in conference RPI. However, the team went to the NCAA’s in 2014 and won the regular season title in 2015.

    NC Central had an RPI of 127 this past season ( UH was 152.).
    SOS of 345 (148 Non- conference) to UH’s 166 (181) ( cbssports).

    NC Central was ranked 98 in the Pomeroy ratings ( UH was ranked 123).

  11. Does anyone know what UH’s response to the NCAA was? What are we self imposing? Is there any way we could use the 2 half scholarships (Fotu and Reyes) that were not used this semester?

  12. I thought I remembered Negus as skinny. Or skinnier. Those are some pretty big guns. Been working out much? And he looks taller. I guess I recognize the tatoos. And the smile. Thks.
    Wasn’t that Pope’s video labled, ‘the next John Wall’?. I think our speedsters, Bobbit in particular, might be a better comparison. Pope has got the length, but that video didn’t showcase ‘John Wall’ quickness. Work in progress no doubt.

  13. UH response to NCAA? Anyone Know?

    1)scholarships?
    2)practice times?
    3)recruiting window?
    4)protocol classes?
    5)other
    6)How long penalty period if any?

  14. RobT…you beat me to it…UH response to ncaa..

    Very important to know..
    for recruiting
    if Eran going after certain type..would guess he would even withhold offering some years?
    This year might be most important season for UH MBB moving forward in near 40 years
    still , have to wait and see?
    Fans and team, potential recruits want to know for sure
    ncaa probation/sanction …how many seasons?
    Reason Eran seeking 1 year extension to 3 year offer?
    He should have a good agent..JMO
    ?

  15. “One thing moving forward that they’ll never be able to change in the history books is that we’ll always be the fourth-winningest team in UH history with 22 wins.”

    Unless of course another UH teams beats your 22 wins.

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