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Warriors take positive step on Practice Day 2

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The “continuous improvement project” that is the 2016-17 University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team achieved its short-term goal in the season’s second practice Saturday at Gym 2.

“With such a young and inexperienced group, our goal right now is just to get better every day,” said second-year head coach Eran Ganot, minutes after the two-hour, 20-minute afternoon workout. “I’m pretty pleased with how Day 2 went, compared to Day 1 (Friday). Day 1 wasn’t great, but I think the guys responded well today and showed improvement.”

That kind of day-to-day improvement will be critical for a team with only one senior (UCLA transfer Noah Allen) and just one returnee who saw considerable playing time last season (sophomore Sheriff Drammeh).

“It’s a heck of a challenge we’re facing, because we’ve had such a significant amount of (roster) turnover,” Ganot said. “But we just have to control what we can control, and find the right balance between pushing them hard (versus) teaching them. For a lot of these guys, (Friday) was their first Division I practice, and it showed.”

Much of Saturday’s practice focused on fundamentals and communication. It started at 12:57 p.m. with some stretching, calisthenics and then breakout sessions with the guards and wings doing shooting drills and the post players working on moves near the basket.

There were brief run-throughs of a halfcourt set, then a two-on-two full-court drill focusing on transition defense.

Later, there were box-out drills and then more open-court fast break work as well as run-throughs of another halfcourt offense.

The practice was broken up into five or 10-minute sessions with little or no breaks in between.

Among the many newcomers, Allen (6-feet, 7-inch swingman) showed a smooth shooting stroke and flashes of the talent that earned him a roster spot at UCLA, and junior college transfer Gibson Johnson (6-8, forward) exhibited some of the athleticism that reportedly drew interest from North Carolina State. Guard Larry Lewis, a 6-2 transfer from Odessa (Texas) College, looked more comfortable at times than some of the other incoming guards.

No one outside shooter stood out, but as a unit the guards/wings made 11 baseline shots in a row from about 18-20 feet out during a drill.

But for sure, there was much room for improvement in just about every other area and for every individual.

“We all gotta work together and focus on getting better as a group,” Allen said. “We don’t want to waste any opportunity to get better.”

Drammeh said time gets even more precious as the days get closer to the Nov. 11 opener vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

“Every practice is important, our next practice is always the most important practice,” Drammeh said. “We need to treat each practice like it’s a championship game, and work hard on everything.”

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Diamond Head Classic tickets on sale starting October 3

All-session tickets for the 2016 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will go on sale Monday, Oct. 3, at 9 a.m. Individual session tickets will go on sale Monday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m. Each day has two sessions, which includes two games.

Fans can purchase online at eTicketHawaii.com and print them on their home computer. Phone orders can be placed by calling (808) 944-2697 (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

The 2016 Diamond Head Classic is scheduled for December 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center. The tournament includes four games each day.

Joining host Hawai’i in the 2016 field are Illinois State, San Diego State, San Francisco, Southern Miss, Stephen F. Austin, Tulsa and Utah. Five of the participating teams appeared in the 2015-16 postseason, including Hawai’i, San Diego State, Stephen F. Austin, Tulsa and Utah. Illinois State was eligible, but declined postseason invitations.

Ticket prices range from $10 to $30 per session. Ticket prices for the entire tournament package (12 games) range from $70 to $110.

Visit www.hawaiiathletics.com for more information.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Wes, This is a pleasant surprise, extra report for keeping us informed.

    Much appreciative of your effort!

  2. Thanks for all the updates. I can’t get enough of UH basketball so I appreciate the extra coverage.

  3. Indeed! Thanks for the updates.
    Any words on Ido, our center ?

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