Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors in full focus for season opener


The University of Hawai’i basketball team is expected to have a full roster and in full focus for its season opener against Montana State.

The Warriors will host the Bobcats at 7:30 p.m. on Friday – the opening night of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic. It also will be the first game as head coach of the Warriors for Eran Ganot.

“I’m excited – just want to get it going,” junior forward Mike Thomas said. “I’m ready for the game to start, get us flying, get the jitters out.”

Thomas (knee) and sophomore guard Isaac Fleming (personal reasons) are two key players who sat out the team’s exhibition game against Chaminade last week. Both returned to practice this week, and are expected to be in the mix on Friday night.

“Right now I’m just focusing on this season and every task in front of us,” Fleming said. “Not really thinking about the future. I’m just ready to go out here and battle with my brothers.”

Thomas averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a part-time starter as a sophomore last season; Fleming averaged 9.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while playing the sixth man role as a freshman last season.

“It’s a whole different team,” Fleming said of the addition of himself and Thomas. “A lot more at the table and a lot more energy. It’s going to be fun watching.”

Starting center Stefan Jankovic injured an ankle during a practice earlier this week, but he said he is ready to go for the season opener.

The Warriors rallied from a 22-point deficit in the first half to defeat NCAA Division II Chaminade, 101-96 in overtime, last week.

Junior forward Aaron Valdes had 31 points and 14 rebounds in the win; senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt had 21 points and 15 assists; senior guard Quincy Smith had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists; freshman guard Brocke Stepteau came off the bench to contribute 15 points.


The Warriors, who finished with a 22-13 record last season, are predicted to finish third in the Big West Conference.

Montana State, which is picked to finish 11th (out of 12 teams) in the Big Sky Conference, finished 7-23 last season under head coach Brian Fish.

The Bobcats return a few key players, including 5-foot-11 senior guard Marcus Colbert, who averaged 13.1 points and 4.7 assists per game last season, and 6-8 senior forward Danny Robison, who averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season.

One of the newcomers expected to start for Montana State is 6-7 forward Shy Blake. He grew up playing AAU basketball with Isaac Fleming in Delaware.

“They may be under the radar, but I know those players can play,” Fleming said. “I tell our players every day we can’t take them lightly because they got some players … we’re going to be good. We’re going to come out as if it’s the Wichita State game, Pitt game, any game, and we’re going to play to the best of our ability.”

Friday, November 13, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Live on OCSports (Oceanic channel 16 or 1016)
Radio: Live on ESPN1420 AM
Audio Webcast: Live on www.espn1420am.com
Live Stats: www.hawaiiathletics.com
Tickets: Lower Level – $26; Upper Level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens (65 and older), $5 for students (age 4 through high school)
Parking: $6
Theme: Green-Out (all fans encouraged to wear green shirts)
NOTE: Another Rainbow Classic game between Coastal Carolina and Nevada will begin at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are good for admission to both games.


  1. well, get first W, then 2nd, then 3rd against Nevada for RBC championship, team will have great start.
    Team, just give effort, play smart , hard and together.. Same mantra as past 8 coaches..

    Go Bows have great season !

  2. Alright Isaac! Good to see Showtime back. I will be there getting hyped for the team just like you say. I smelling a big UH win tonight!

  3. yes, enjoy game, all that can go.. man fill that house , the team deserves it.. I say, about 6000 will love to see guys play first game.. if under 5000, that would be disappointing..

    Basketball, for the die hard MBB fans. is finally here !
    I think UH , if healthy, will win this RBC championship !

    Go Bows/ Warriors !

  4. I feel good positive vibes with this team and upcoming season, time to turn it on ,its Warrior time ! Issac’s time to shine.

  5. For those who are interested … Wahine lead Grand Canyon, 39-21. at the half. Beeman has the luxury of a deep bench and is willing to use it with 10 players seeing first-half action and eight scoring. In fact, Wahine got 22 points from the bench, with Toeaina leading the way. She’s 5-for-5 from the field and has 12 points. Huff, King and Harris each with six points. Wahine made their first four 3-point attempts (then missed the next four).

  6. Wahine win, 74-41, as all 10 players scored. One down, one to go. Hopefully, the Warriors will be just as dominant.

  7. I’m concerned about Nevada. They’re a lot better than what preseason prognosticators think. They just beat Coastal Carolina, 73-56.

  8. ^^^ That’s what a difference new coach can make. Ganot’s turn to show it next!!!

  9. Yup, getting Musselman was quite a coup for Nevada.

    Good news: Drew Buggs signed his NLI this afternoon.

  10. UH looking good early

  11. I’m going to stick to my decision Isaac move on .

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