Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors look to overcome uncertainties at Riverside

Two teams headed in different directions in the Big West Conference standings will meet in Riverside, Calif., on Thursday.

Hawai’i, which is on a five-game winning streak, will play at UC Riverside, which is on a four-game losing streak. The Warriors are 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference; the Highlanders are 9-9 and 0-2.

The game is scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time) in the SRC Arena. It will not be televised, but a live video streaming broadcast will be available online at www.espn3.com.


The Warriors are coming off two hard-fought home victories over Cal Poly (86-73) and UC Santa Barbara (65-57) last week at home. Meanwhile, the Highlanders blew a 20-point lead in a 79-73 home loss to Cal State Fullerton, and then got blown out at UC Irvine, 84-68.

But for Hawai’i, much has changed in the last few days, without even playing a game.

First, starting forward and leading scorer Aaron Valdes was diagnosed with a turf toe injury following the UCSB game, and his status is in question for both road games this week (UH will play at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday).

Second, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Wednesday that starting point guard Roderick Bobbitt did not depart with the team on Tuesday due to academic reasons, and was attempting to join the team in Riverside on the day of the game. His status will likely be a game time decision.

Essentially, Hawai’i could be without its two best all-around players. Valdes, a 6-foot-5 junior, is averaging 14.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game; Bobbitt, a 6-3 senior, is averaging 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Bobbitt (25 3-pointers) and Valdes (19 3s) are also the team leaders in 3-pointers made.

The Warriors still have other options, led by 6-11 junior Stefan Jankovic, who is averaging 14.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and is shooting 56.3 percent from the field.

Sophomore guard Isaac Fleming, who would likely start in Bobbitt’s absence, is contributing 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is coming off a career-best 22 points in the win over UCSB.

Junior forward Mike Thomas, senior guard Quincy Smith and senior forward Sai Tummala, among others, would likely be required to play expanded roles in the absence of Bobbitt and Valdes.

UC Riverside may enter the game reeling, but the Highlanders possess two of the Big West’s top individual talents in senior guard Jaylen Bland and senior forward Taylor Johns.

Bland ranks third in the Big West in scoring at 16.7 points per game, and ranks second in the entire nation with 65 3-pointers. Johns, who was a first-team All-Big West selection last season, is averaging 14.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

As it turns out, Hawai’i’s two opponents this week happen to be the teams with the lowest attendance figures in the Big West. UC Riverside is averaging just 825 fans per home game, while Fullerton is last with 735 per game.

Thursday, January 14, 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: SRC Arena, Riverside, Calif.
TV: None
Internet video streaming: Live on www.espn3.com
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet audio: Live on www.espn1420am.com
Live stats: www.hawaiiathletics.com

Thursday’s Big West Games
UC Santa Barbara at Cal Poly
Hawai’i at UC Riverside, 5:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
CSUN at UC Davis
UC Irvine at Long Beach State

Saturday’s Big West Games
UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara
Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton, 4:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Long Beach State at Cal Poly
UC Riverside at CSUN


  1. Well…Dayton, Valerie, Wes and staff…hope best for MBB moving forward.
    Just want things be fair and right.
    Will let voice be known still. Once UH alumnus, and donor, fan
    Always one. Kelly O.
    Carry the mantle. Cheer on team, and be honest. No shame.
    Thanks warriors, get that ncaa crown. Pono UH..

  2. Now we really get to see what this team is made of.

  3. They should sweep..
    I know team has heart and are good..
    Good battles..UH talent too much..!

  4. great interview!
    Janks is always very well spoken and has a great attitude..
    ..that of a true leader!

  5. C’mon Janks! Pick it up!
    You are a leader of the team, and these fans love you. You can be a little more upbeat, take some well deserved pride and spice it up with a bit of attitude. Not your best interview. We know you can do better !
    Go Bows !!

  6. Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows!

  7. BigFan, …re prior post, Brocke is on the bench, #21 . I’m a fan of him, like Chuck.


  8. I have to ask this question and that is should Ganot let Bobbitt play in today’s game? If you ask me and some other die hard fans the answer is a big YES no matter what. The reason I want to hear from other fans is that Ganot and Matlin make a big deal about doing things right way and focus on academics being important.

    It is great that Bobbitt did the work he had to do and will meet the team for the game but he also missed the flight and missed practices and basically messed up a lot of the preparation for this game. I ask again should Ganot stick to his guns and his word and discipline Bobbitt by making him sit out, or should he be like “nah, he caught up with his school work and that’s all that matter because we need this guy on the court!”

  9. ChuckCheese, that is a tough one. On the one hand, the TEAM shouldn’t suffer, but on the other the TEAM needs to know consequences and know coach has faith in them without Bobbitt. I say don’t start him. Hang without him and see how it goes with option to use him if they need to. He should be ready with TEAM attitude to step in off bench and be ready to go if needed. He better show up ready to SUPPORT and also ready to play. Those are my thoughts.

  10. I hope Bobbitt addresses the team, and apologizes for his transgressions. I say he should play, but not start. I’d even go so far as to sit him for the first half. That being said, we don’t know what his “academic” issues were so I’ll trust the coaches to make the right decisions.

    Nice to have Bobbitt back, and hope he — and every member of the team — will learn from this.

  11. ChuckCheese and KellyO , good , both valid points.

    Team first, individuals Not above team, that are doing their work in school.
    Just to be consistent, especially academics or personal issues, the
    punishment or discipline should fit the crime, otherwise, it sends
    a conflicting message about team and direction of leadership.
    Valdes nice he went to support team, still worry about him trying
    to play Saturday, that injury can last for some time. And Bobbitt,
    old school, Riley, Nash, Little coaching days? Rod would sit .JMO.

  12. ^^^ LOL, not! I heard from people with direct info that all-star players from the past would be starting no matter what even when they had academic issues. The guy on the front page of newspaper the other day is one. The star players got the star treatment in the “old school.”

  13. Since we don’t even know if what was going on with Bobbitt was a “transgression”, i think we should stop worrying about it.

  14. Chuck: though Bobbitt was lacking, Ganot and his staff have to bear at least some of the blame. That said, Ganot is going to do what any Head Coach would do. Let Bobbit play. Maybe not start him but Ganot knows it’s not who starts that matters, it’s who finishes. Would you, if you were actually a head coach of D1 program, sit him out completely? Easy for any one of us to say; not our team nor job on the line. Too bad coaches aren’t paid on doing the right thing all the time. If so, I’m sure Ganot would excel in managing that too. Till then, no arrest, not ineligible (so far as we know), he made all shame already, Ganot cannot do anything but let Bobbitt play

  15. xer 21,

    You are correct. That idiot Chris Hart from the Animals show in the afternoon mentioned a situation that may have occurred. I know he meant it as a joke but it was totally uncalled for. He knows nothing about what happened. Very irresponsible.

  16. I’m glad to hear Bobbitt will be making it out to meet the team. That shows that he did make whatever corrective actions/efforts necessary to be with the team. As it is now, I’d be surprised if he started, or even played in the first half. Depending on gameflow and necessity, I could see Coach Ganot keeping him out of the entire game tonight then starting Bobbitt on Saturday.

    As a pure fan, I want Bobbitt to start and play heavy minutes tonight, but I just don’t see that happening. Either way, it should be a fun and entertaining game to watch. Be rooting for our boys all the way. Let’s GO BOWS!

  17. Islandman, thanks for the info on Brocke.

  18. Eran has all the facts and is a man of integrity. He’ll make the right decision about Rod.

  19. Hoping the Bows don’t have a let down game and just go out there and mop the floor with UCR. Leave no doubt who the top dawg is.

  20. This trip, Hope not the Trap 2 game road swing, traditionally Titans and Highlanders are the bottom of the league. Know that Bland can light it up, and Taylor Johns, they were always awaiting his potential, a National Slam Dunk? champ in HS?
    Once again, Ganot knows. we all know.. On these guys home floors , tiny gyms, with some UH fans there too..whoever is hot from FT , and 3 ball line, and gets the calls, will win.
    Would be surprised if UH won against Fullerton and Riverside by 25 points each.

    Love for the Bows and Wahine to win ANY road games, however. some of the greatest ones, were the comebacks, or the ones, they were underdogs and came out on top. Hope it is good game. ..nice if UH is up by 25 at the half and cruise to both wins.. Just scary…these Two games, on paper, UH should beat them, by huge score.. we shall see. I just hope it is competitive, AND NO MORE academic, or personal issues, or health issues.. !

  21. It might not be a official “transgression” but there is some things to worry about in this case. Lets not forget that he did not travel with the rest of the team and had to have special arrangements for his own travel. I have to think this cost the program extra money. Another thing is he missed the practices leading into this game and his teammates were practicing hard and getting ready to play without him.

    I know some people dont like it but I believe in the star treatment and Bobbitt is the star of this team so I say let him play. I can see Ganot keeping Bobbitt on the bench as a way to “do the right thing” but if UH fall behind early in the game I will be yelling and screaming to put in Bobbitt!

  22. Chuck I get your point about the pickle that Ganot is in. Play Rod to go after the win despite missing practices and not doing his academic work in time or sit him and jeopardize a bad road loss. That’s why they pay Eran the big bucks to make decisions like these. Would be nice if we could get the win and punish Rod a little to make a point.

  23. Don’t be so hard on Bobbitt. Think about what he’s done for the team and what he will continue to do for his team and the Hawaii FANS!.

  24. I hope non of our recruits are reading these Bobbitt bashing statements from some of our UH “fans”. Who would want to play for the judge mental likes of you. Where is Bobbitt? With his team. Coach Ganot has all the facts, unlike us, so I’m sure he’ll handle the situation accordingly. Let’s Go Bows!!!!!

  25. Eran being THE Type to have Already Done HIS Research And Homework…
    Probably CAN Explain The Many Aspects of This Issue…
    AND Probably Already Knows HIS Strategy…

    HE Might have even Played It Close to the Vest
    I Presume They KNEW NOT ALL Classes Were Complete
    And maybe ‘Let The Adult Players Handle It’ On Their Own, Like Leaders
    AND Had Them ALL Sweat it Out As a Lesson Or Exercise

    [OR Not As Good — His Staff Almost Blew it;
    He IS A New Coach/Staff After All
    And Coaches Can Learn Thru Mistakes [BTW, That Was Gib’s Method…
    MY Way, MY Mistakes…That’s NOT A Mistake, That’s a Stupid Rule…
    Yeah, Well Now it’s a Violation, Etc.]
    NOT MY Preference: Rather Learn From Other’s Mistakes]

    I Hope Eran shares some of Those Thoughts, Like On Call the Coach
    He Professes to be Mystified by “Fan’s Obsession” with ‘Who Starts’
    Noting, as several Fans And Coaches have pointed out that,
    How Much is a player playing (minutes, even tracked by Kenpom)
    And Moreso, Who’s Finishing, With the Game On-The-Line
    Are So Much More Significant…

    PLAY Ball!
    Win Tonight!

    WIN TWO!
    (On This Road Trip)

    Keep Exceeding And Upgrading Our Expectations!
    Go ‘Bows!

  26. I just wanted to be the first to say that Sheriff just made two great plays in a row: a great pass to Quincy (Quincy missed shot) and then follow up shot on the fast break by Bobbitt when Bobbitt missed the shot! Nice!

  27. Wow! Feel like Ganot said to Quincy I need you to step up this game and Quincy took it to heart. Best first half road game I have seen from Hawaii in a very long time.

  28. O.K…. ‘Bows ‘Controlling’ Game…despite Missing Point-Blank shots
    AND Much Use of Subs (Drammeh & Filipovich)

    Looking For STEP Up ‘Bows
    And/OR Riverside Home-Collapse (Gave Up 20-point Lead @ Home Recently)

    ALSO Looking For ‘Bows to STRETCH Out The Lead
    I THINK We’re a Better Second-Half Team (We’ll SEE…)

    NOT Shooting Particularly Well
    BUT Still on Typical 80-point Scoring Pace

    Control And WIN Second Half, ‘Bows!

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