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No devil in Warriors’ details

With precious little NCAA Division I experience creating even less margin for errors, the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team will indeed be sweating the small stuff throughout this upcoming season.

Small stuff — as in details, details, details …

“It’s all in the DETAILS,” assistant coach Chris Acker said loudly, while demonstrating a proper defensive stance midway through last Saturday’s practice. “You’re not showing here (leaning to his right), you’re not showing here (leaning to his left). Your stance is steady, nice and low, balanced. Watch your line of vision.”

Attention to detail was a recurring theme throughout various sessions of the two-hour, 20-minute workout, the Warriors’ second practice of the season.

After a timed pass-and-shoot drill with the guards and wings early in the Gym 2 workout, head coach Eran Ganot explained the importance of doing things right the first time.

“We don’t want to always have to rally back (at the end of the game),” Ganot said in a team huddle at midcourt. “In the last 10 seconds (of the drill), we were rushing (passes and shots) all over the place. Do it right early, so you don’t have to rush later.”

After watching a sloppy pass float without zip on it, Ganot put his foot down.

“Use both hands and step into it!” Ganot said, while demonstrating the technique.

Later, during a full-court two-on-two drill emphasizing transition defense, Ganot made it clear how he wants a defender to stay with a man releasing downcourt.

“SPRINT — don’t backpedal,” Ganot said. “Got it?!?”

Ganot said teaching proper fundamentals now is crucial to the team’s success later.

“We cannot skip steps, we cannot let things slide,” Ganot said after the practice. “We have to execute at a high level, and we cannot beat ourselves.”

During a drill emphasizing boxing out to get defensive rebounds, assistant coach Adam Jacobsen showed freshman guard Matt Owies what he did wrong in his first attempt trying to block out Larry Lewis, Jr.

“You see, if you turn this way (toward the corner), your line of vision sucks,” Jacobsen said. “If you turn this way (reverse pivoting to face the basket), your line of vision is good.”

After another rough try, Jacobsen told Owies, “I know it’s tough, it’s hard, right? But that’s OK, it’s supposed to be hard. You’re competing!”

Later, during a halfcourt offense run-through, Jacobsen told two Warriors to “watch your spacing” on the left wing.

“You don’t want to be here, that’s too close,” he said. “One guy can guard two of you if you do that. Spread it out.”

Ganot stressed the importance of persistence.

“Don’t give up on a play,” he said. “Finish it!”

After demonstrating the box-out drill, Ganot warned the Warriors that he and his staff will be watching each player’s effort in that task all season long.

“If one guy doesn’t do his job, they (the opponents) get the rebound,” Ganot said. “We’re gonna stat rebounding situations, and make you accountable.”

After practice, Ganot said such accountability is a good thing.

“The great thing about this sport is it’s a team game, and everybody has to do their part,” Ganot said. “If one guy doesn’t do his job, he’ll get exposed. But that’s OK, because then you deserve to be exposed.”

Noah Allen, a senior wing who transferred from UCLA, said he doesn’t mind all the teaching that has goes on so far.

“We have to pay attention to the details in practice, because that’s what will translate over into the games,” Allen said. “The coaches might get on you sometimes, but it’s only because they want to make you better.”

Sophomore guard Sheriff Drammeh, the only active returnee who saw significant playing time last season, said the little things are really big things regardless of the team’s talent or experience level.

“The details are always important,” Drammeh said. “You cannot do things the right way for 20 seconds, and then stop doing it the last 10 seconds. The details are just as important as they are any time.”

Ganot said he and his staff will continue to sweat over the small stuff in order to build a solid foundation throughout the preseason.

“There’s going to be a lot of teaching, but we’re excited that we finally get to work with them more,” Ganot said. “It’s so important to be able to work with them one on one, as individuals. They’re always learning, so that’s kind of refreshing. But this is a key six-week period we’re in right now (until the Nov. 11 season opener). We have an opportunity to make a big jump, but we still have a long way to go.”

Here are some recent practice shots from WarriorInsider.com photographer Brandon Flores (www.brandonfloresphotography.com), featuring head coach Eran Ganot and the 11 newcomers to the roster:

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2 Comments

  1. Here you go again (and again & again please, so for fans to enjoy!) Wes now, giving us the ‘details’ of the Warriors’ practices; It’s hard (how amazing you’ve capturing it words for words!).

    Well, Rainbow Warriors, you knew why you’re here – getting the best of coaching from the best of the BWC best coaching staff (plus many other conferences as well!).

    You’ll be a polished-diamond, if you’ve catch!?

  2. With so many new faces it’s hard to gel and come together in such a short time. But the Fabulous Five did it and so can this year’s team. And the best way to do it is exactly what Ganot is doing: making sure that everyone understands the nuances of playing basketball at the D1 level. We have a group of athletes with unknown capabilities. The only thing we do know is we got a good coaching staff that will bring out the best in all of them. Are they all in? They need to be if UH wants to continue the success of this program.

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