Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors host Troy on Friday night


On Black Friday, the University of Hawai’i basketball team has its sight set on one item – a victory over Troy University.

The only place it’s available is at the Stan Sheriff Center, where the Warriors will host the Trojans at 8:00 p.m. on Friday. The UH women’s team will be playing San Jose State at 5:30 p.m., and fans with tickets to the men’s game can arrive early to attend the women’s game.

The Warriors are 3-2, following an 86-55 rout of NCAA Division II Hawai’i-Hilo on Tuesday. The Trojans are 2-3 and on a three-game losing streak. All three losses have been on the road, including a 79-67 loss at San Francisco on Wednesday night.

Troy traveled from San Francisco to Honolulu on Thanksgiving Day; the Warriors had a morning practice on Thursday, followed by a team gathering for Thanksgiving in the afternoon.

Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot has used the same starting lineup for all five games this season: sophomore Sheriff Drammeh at point guard, freshman Leland Green at 2 guard, senior Noah Allen at small forward, sophomore Jack Purchase at power forward, and junior Gibson Johnson at center.


Allen, a 6-foot-7 transfer from UCLA, has emerged as a focal point in his first season at Hawai’i. He leads the team in scoring (19.0), rebounding (7.0), assists (3.4), and 3-pointers made (11).

Drammeh is averaging 14.6 points and 3.4 assists per game, and is shooting 56.3 percent from 3-point range (9 for 16) and 82.8 percent from the free-throw line (24 for 29). Johnson is contributing 10.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting 57.5 percent from the field.

The dynamics of the reserve rotation have changed a bit in the past two games. Brocke Stepteau, a sophomore walk-on, has climbed the depth chart to become the first guard off the bench. In his last two games, he has contributed a total of 17 points, nine assists, and 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.

Ido Flaisher, a 6-10 freshman center, is the first “big” off the bench. He is averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and is shooting a team-best 63.2 percent from the field.

Troy, which finished last (11th place) in the Sun Belt Conference last season, is expected to be much improved this season. Three key players return, including leading scorers Wesley Person (16.8 points per game last season) and Jordon Varnado (13.2 points per game last season).

Person, a 6-3 junior guard, is averaging 13.8 points per game this season, including 24 points and five 3-pointers in the recent loss at San Francisco. He had a streak of 61 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made snapped earlier this season.

Varnado, a 6-6 sophomore forward, is averaging team-highs of 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds this season.

DeVon Walker, a 6-6 senior transfer from Florida, is averaging 5.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Kevin Baker, a 6-2 junior and JUCO transfer, is contributing 9.4 points and 3.2 assists per game.

The Trojans are not a particularly big team – their tallest player in the starting lineup is 6-8 Alex Hicks, and there are two other 6-8 players in reserve.

Phil Cunningham is in his fourth season as head coach of the Trojans. This will be the first meeting between the two programs.

HAWAI’I (3-2) VS. TROY (2-3)
Friday, November 25, 8:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: OCSports (Oceanic channels 16 and 1016)
Streaming Video: BigWest.tv
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM.
Audio Webcast: espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Statbroadcast.com
Ticket Information: $30 (lower level); $18-$20 (upper level-adult); $16-$18 (upper level – senior citizen); $5-$7 (upper level – youth, ages 4-HS); UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking $6.
Promotions: Hawaii Pacific Health is the game sponsor on Friday and will award great prizes throughout the game.

— — — — — — —


As reported earlier this month by several media outlets, the 2017 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will consist of: Hawai’i, Akron, Davidson, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, USC and Utah State.

Here is the official announcment from www.hawaiiathletics.com

The field is set for the 2017 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. The field for the eighth annual event – to be played Friday, Saturday and Monday, Dec. 22, 23 and 25, 2017 – includes Akron, Davidson, Miami, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, USC, Utah State and tournament host school Hawai’i.


The 2017 edition of the classic features four teams that participated in the 2016 NCAA Championship, including Miami, Middle Tennessee, USC and Hawai’i. Akron, Davidson and New Mexico State competed in postseason play at the 2016 NIT.

The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men’s college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games through three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through the bracket. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game on the final day of the tournament.

Previous tournament champions of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic include USC (2009), Butler (2010), Kansas State (2011), Arizona (2012), Iowa State (2013), George Washington (2014) and Oklahoma (2015).

The family-friendly tournament includes three days of tournament play, practices, events and travel experiences unique to the islands of Hawai’i.

Additional information can be found on the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic’s official Web site at www.HawaiianAirlinesDiamondHeadClassic.com.

The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is one of 11 owned-and-operated basketball events by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.


  1. Fyi, UH is 194 in the Pomeroy rankings. UCI is 134 and LBSU is 173.
    Troy is 264, Pine-Bluff 347.
    Seton Hall, 35 and Princeton, 47.

  2. UH ranking as third in the Big West shows how weak the conference is. This is why I and others say this UH team can and should be able to compete near the top of the conference this year no matter what the NCAA took away. I still say UH should settle for nothing less than fourth or fifth place this year and then that will set up a move back to the top the following year or two.

    Coach Ganot has this program building and the weakness of the conference will really help getting through the sanctions without that much damage.

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)