Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Highlights from Call the Coach radio show


A few excerpts from “Call the Coach” with Eran Ganot on ESPN 1420 AM on Tuesday evening …

(On Stefan Jankovic’s performance against UC Irvine)

“Well he got in foul trouble (in the first meeting) and actually what was great for our game was he got to see it, but (Stefan) Jovanovic stepped up. Other guys stepped up. Sometimes it’s the next man up, every man up; maybe it’s a guy hurt, sometimes it’s a guy not playing well or sometimes a guy in foul trouble.”

“Janks only played, I think, 13 minutes in the home game here. Obviously he’s been on a tear. He’s been really aggressive. He was huge on that day, in that game (at Irvine).”

“You want to attack, attack, attack because that’s what we do. With Irvine you want to attack in transition because the big fella (Mamadou N’diaye) is not around the rim and then we have to be quick on organization when he is. When we don’t have something good, we have to do what I call move the ball, pick them apart, find a huge shot.”

(On the Long Beach State loss last month)

“We’ve leaned on that game a lot to be honest. We don’t want to go back that way. Number one, you have to credit Long Beach. It would be a disservice if you didn’t. They obviously haven’t lost since. I think they’re one of the hottest teams right now with us, winning six in a row.”

“They do a great job. (Nick) Faust was a handful for us. I think we were exposed in our being ready for that game. Obviously that starts with me. I said that after the game. We’re in charge of getting our guys ready and we weren’t ready. They beat us up on the glass which we had been pretty consistent on. They beat us in every facet. I was proud that we were able to cut it to three with maybe a couple minutes left in the game, but I said this, and I remember it clearly, you get what you deserve.”

(On Aaron Valdes returning for that Long Beach State game)

“That game was very unique because you had him slowly coming back and we didn’t want to throw him in the fire. Isaac had obviously got hurt a little bit later and missed the next four. But we are not an excuses program. You could see through all that stuff there were things we could have done better. That’s how you get good, when you acknowledge what you could have done better, not make excuse and that’s what we did.”

(On the defense of his big men)

“The game has changed. Its a spread you out, shooting and ball screen world. One of the things that has helped us defensively is we’ve been pretty at good taking care of ball screens. It’s very hard because people have so many reads against it now. It’s changed the game and obviously we use it a lot, too. … The days of staying inside around the rim and just defending back in the post, bigs now have to be able to cover the floor, spread you out, have to be able to show and take care of the ball screen. The challenge is they have to spint back to their man. It’s a team cover. Everyone has to be on the same page… recover, rotation, it’s a scramble to sort out.”

(On playing primarily man-to-man defense)

“We mixed things up early in the year as we were still finding our team. Reality is we wanted to see what we were best at, and it became very clear we were best at man. It also became very clear because we find a way to continue to strangle but within our principles. We got this great heat we can put on the ball with our personnel, but the difference is we wanted more accountability, more of a backside rotation. When you do gamble a times, when it doesn’t happen for you, you give up easy baskets or you give up mismatches or you give up rebounding position.”

(On UC Riverside losing star forward Taylor Johns)

“They’re playing a little bit more small ball and they’re moving there really good 3 man to the 4. … It’s interesting, we played a couple teams now in short time frames. Like we played Irvine twice in 10 days. We haven’t seen Riverside in a long time. They’re very effective. Obviously they have a lot of weapons. They have a wing man who starts for them that did not play against us. .. They still have that depth that they had before, but Johns didn’t really play against us the last time. He got in foul trouble, we did a good job on him.”

“In the short term it’s always hard to deal with losing a guy, but now they’ve had a week to prepare for us. They’ve probably made their adjustments and they’re going to be ready to go.”

(On the final road trip)

“We’re going to finish the last game on the (March) 5th and then we’re going to stay out, rest on Sunday and then get redy to play that following Thursday, We’ll be staying out obviously because of the situation, the uniqueness of being from Hawaii and the last trip being on the road.”

(On the point guard situation for next season)

“I would love to find a Roderick Bobbitt. He’s done a superb job for us and for this program. I will say this, the point guard position is the most important and hardest position to play. There’s so much on your plate. You have to do so much on offense and defense. You’re the point of attack in both areas. And then you have to lead.”

“I’ve been blessed to be a part of a program that really understood that in Saint Mary’s. We went with the approach of trying to have three in our program every year and at times if we could, play them all together. That’s what you see right now playing Quincy and Rod together. That’s why we’re hard to press and that’s why we’re hard to keep in front and there’s good leadership there.”

“We have one coming in, obviously a freshman from Australia, who will be a little ahead of the curve because of his international experience. We’re obviouly looking for more because we want to have three point guards in our program every year. It’s just too valuable and I think we have a system in play that’s attractive to those guys.”

(More on Stefan Jankovic)

“His consistency is because he’s so versatile. Before he naturally gravitated toward the perimeter and we didn’t want to take away those strengths. I think he’s actually improved in that area – his ability to shoot the ball, his ability to put it on the floor, make decisions. He’s vastly underrated in the post. He’s big, he’s got good footwork, he can finish with both hands. And now over the course of a game he’s too much of a load because he doesn’t just go to the perimeter.”

(On Sai Tummala)

He’s a star in the classroom, he’s a star on the court, he’s a star off the court. … He’s just such a great worker, he’s so professional. He went through a little bit of a dry spell in the middle of the year, which is somewhat natural for a freshman or sophomores at times, because of his situation and circumstances, he kind of fell in that boat a little bit … he’s playing without question the best basketball of his career right now and it couldn’t come at a better time.”

(On Sheriff Drammeh’s ability to take charges)

“He’s a freak, I don’t know how to explain him. He’s the best I’ve ever seen at taking charges.”

“He doesn’t have to sell it. He literally does go flying.”

“He’s got such great timing. He’s so quick. It’s one thing to rotate it in the half court. n transition, on a 2-on-1, those are really difficult and you almost feel like our whole bench can sense that we’re getting this charge right here. Those are huge plays.”

— — — — — — —

vs. UC Riverside on Thursday, Feb. 25; vs. CSUN on Saturday, Feb. 27; both games start at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Tickets: Lower Level – $26 for any available seats; Upper Level – $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens (ages 65-older), $5 for students (ages 4-18). Parking is $6.
TV: Both games live on OCSports (Oceanic channels 16 and 1016 in Hawai’i)
Internet video: Live streaming on www.bigwest.tv
Radio: Both games live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet audio: Live on www.espn1420am.com
Theme nights: Thursday is “Retro Aloha Shirt Night” and fans are encouraged to wear retro aloha shirts. Saturday is “Senior Night” and a “White-Out” – fans are encouraged to wear white shirts and stay after the game to honor the senior players.

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Wednesday’s Big West Game
Long Beach State at UC Irvine

Thursday’s Big West Games
Cal State Fullerton at Cal Poly
UC Santa Barbara at CSUN
UC Riverside at Hawai’i

Saturday’s Big West Games
UC Riverside at Long Beach State
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton
UC Irvine at UC Davis
CSUN at Hawai’i


  1. Long Beach scares me. They haven’t lost since they beat us. They’re finally healthy as well. They’re playing with confidence.

  2. Oh man…Luke Nelson is going OFF on Long Beach…that guy scares me too!! Last year, Big West Tournament championship…need I say more.

  3. KelleyO,
    I’m worried about the Beach as well. But it looks like they’re going to lose tonight to Irvine. Luckily we’ll play them last – meaning we’ll have a very up to date scouting report on them going into the tourney.

  4. The ESPN guy doing the LBSU v Irvine game just said Eran Ganot could be National Coach of the Year. ??? Something about most wins by a rookie coach? If we won out and won a game in NCAA Tournament, not out of the realm of possibilities.

  5. Thank you, Irvine (90-67). Two more wins and Hawaii is BW regular-season champion with an NIT berth in its pocket. Sweet if it could come on Senior Night before a sellout crowd.

  6. Agreed with above posters, Long Beach is that potential spoiler.. UCI was lucky Faust was off, but Bibbins stepped up. I’m happy for the Irvine win though and some slack in between us and Long Beach. Can’t wait for tomorrow night!

    Go ‘Bows!

  7. And Kelley O. I think the commentator said most wins for a rookie coach in Big West, idk about nationally. Either way he was very dismissive of praise on call the coach show and gave a lot of the credit to the guys on the team. Gotta admit though, i do like how we play under this guy, not bad for a rookie! haha

  8. Let’s not forget that our guys had an off night against the Beach. Since then the guys have been so much more focused and aggressive. It truly was our wake up call.

  9. Looks like there are a few hundred tickets still available for the Riverside game. As for the final home game, looks like it will most likely be a sell out – not many seats left.

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