Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors prepared for big road test

Texas Tech was an unknown opponent to the University of Hawai’i basketball team until this season. The Warriors will find out a lot about the Red Raiders – and themselves – on Saturday when the teams meet for the first time in program history.

The game is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. (Hawai’i time) at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. It will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic channels 228 and 1228).

“In our first tournament, that Nevada game was a big home test,” junior forward Mike Thomas said. “But I think this game is a real big test to see where we’re at and see how tough we can be.”


Junior forward Aaron Valdes added: “Anytime you can play a Big 12 team, it’s a good challenge, especially being from the Big West. It’s hard to schedule those teams. It’s going to be a good early test for us to see where we’re at.”

Hawai’i is 4-0, with all four victories coming inside the Stan Sheriff Center. This is the Warriors’ first, and only, non-conference game of the regular-season. The team arrived in Lubbock on Thursday morning, giving them a full two days to prepare for the Red Raiders.

“Rest,” is what Thomas said is the key on a long road trip. “Rest and knowing that you’re doing the right things. And extreme focus. We take so many time and miles and hours out of the air, we just have to focus.”

The Warriors’ undefeated start has been fueled by a balanced offense (seven players averaging between 7.3 and 17.0 points per game) and tenacious defense (opponents have a .404 field goal percentage).

Junior forward Aaron Valdes is averaging 17.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, and junior forward/center Stefan Jankovic is averaging 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

Senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt has emerged as the leader of the team, and is contributing 13.5 points, 7.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

Other key contributors include senior forward Sai Tummala (9.8 points per game, 10 for 15 from 3-point range), senior guard Quincy Smith (9.0 points, 4.3 rebounds per game), junior forward Mike Thomas (7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds per game), sophomore guard Isaac Fleming (7.3 points per game) and junior center Stefan Jovanovic (5.5 points per game, .667 FG percentage).

“Everybody’s scoring, everybody’s doing a good job out there moving the ball around and having fun,” Valdes said. “Hopefully we can carry it over to Texas.”

Texas Tech is off to a 3-1 start, which includes a 2-1 record (fifth-place finish) at the Puerto Rico Tipoff Tournament last week. The Red Raiders lost to then-No. 16 Utah (73-63), but bounced back to earn victories over Mississippi State and Minnesota.

The Red Raiders finished 13-19 last season, but it is worth noting that they earned all 13 victories at home (13-6 record in the United Supermarkets Arena, 0-13 away).


What’s more, four players who were starters at the end of last season are back, including leading scorer Devaugntah Williams. The 6-foot-4 senior guard averaged 10.9 points per game last season, and is off to a better start this season.

Williams is averaging 18.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season, and has led the team in scoring in all four games.

Zach Smith, a 6-8 sophomore forward, is the team’s primary inside threat with averages of 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and a .593 field goal percentage.

Toddrick Gotchter, a 6-4 senior guard, is contributing 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game; Norense Odiase, a 6-9, 260-pound sophomore center, is adding 5.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

Perhaps the most recognized name affiliated with the Texas Tech program is that of the head coach, Tubby Smith. He is one of only 11 active head coaches who have won a NCAA national championship as a head coach (his came in 1998 at Kentucky). In 24 previous seasons as a head coach, Smith has won at least 20 games in 19 of those seasons. By comparison, Hawai’i has had 12 20-win seasons in its entire program’s history.

The Red Raiders have played just one home game this season, and that game drew less than 3,000 fans.

Hawai’i has one player from Texas on its roster in freshman guard Brocke Stepteau, who is from Dallas. He said “30 to 40” family members and friends are expected to make a trip across Texas to cheer for the Warriors in Lubbock.

When: Saturday, November 28, 11 a.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: United Supermarkets Arena (Lubbock, Texas)
Television: Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic channels 228 / 1228)
Radio: ESPN1420 AM
Streaming video: www.foxsports.com/foxsportsgo
Audio webcast: www.espn1420am.com
Live stats: www.hawaiiathletics.com


  1. There you go TEAM –
    It’s 3 thousand against 30 feet above sea level;
    Veteran vs rookie coach.

    Made your mission possible!

  2. This real test.. oh yes… like the season when UH had Pitt on Maui, Chaminade down the road at Blaisdell, BYU in Sat Lake City, 3 games in 3 days at Florida Gulf Coast Tournament, … Huge games away from SSC.. UH the farthest they went out, and exhausted.. Band of Brothers.. won 2 out of 3 in Florida, would have won 3 out of 3, however they were gassed, having flown from Maui to Florida.. that first round loss to San Francisco.

    Same with this team.. 4 hr difference, they went up 3 days earlier.. they should be ready.. HIT THE FREE throws.. and stay on the boards with Tech..you can get the win.

    REMEMBER gang: my prediction UH after winning the BWC tournament.. will be either 33 or 34 wins going into the NCAA dance !

  3. 3 starters foul out, we let opponent score 30+ free throws, Quincy is 9-22 from free throw line, give up 11 point lead… That’s bad coaching.

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