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Quick quotes from “Call the Coach”

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Here are some excerpts from ESPN 1420 radio’s “Call the Coach” show with Eran Ganot on Tuesday night (note that these are just highlights, and not the entire transcript) …

On the victory over Southern Miss …

I think we just had a good approach coming in. I think we built up some momentum in the game against Utah, where we were better from game to game in the Diamond Head but against Utah late we found a group that was giving a tremendous effort and fought us back into the game. We went with that momentum going into the next one.”

“The guys did a good job. It’s tough with three games in four days, the holidays and all those distractions going on, but they were very professional in their approach following the game against Utah. The next day, the rest they got, the focus, they were dialed in and they were rewarded for that prep.”

On starting three guards against Southern Miss …

“In the second half against Utah, you saw we only turned it over three times. That helps having three guards in there. I just think this year we’re going to be mixing and matching. It’s not going to be as consistent as maybe you’d like it to be.”

“You know Noah Allen will be back in there for sure … I think we just have to mix things up to get our team, at the end of the day, to play at their best. But that group had some momentum. They finished off the Utah game well and they got us off to a good start against Southern Miss.”

On picking a starting lineup …

“Look, the reality is that you’d like it be very consistent. We obviously last year didn’t change it one time… I think we still have a consistent rotation, just being different in who starts games and who finishes games. The closer we get to consistency, the better. Right now, we’re tinkering a little bit because we haven’t found the consistency.”

On Noah Allen playing a reserve role in the last game …

“It can’t be an issue or we’ve got bigger problems, obviously. I think you can see him coming back to the starting lineup. He might play some undersized 4 at times for us. His versatility helps us as well. He turned it over the first two times he came in, but then he played really well. I think he understands, our guys understand, it’s all about the team. There’s so many different ways to impact the game and to his credit he’s able to do that. He’s a guy who with his experience, he’s a key guy for us. We’re going to need him at his best. Really, we need all our guys firing at their best to make a step forward.”

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On Brocke Stepteau …

“He got a couple good looks early and he nailed ‘em, obviously. He’s going through something – what’s great is, if you perform well in practice, you earn the right to play in the games. Now you have to play well in the games. I think he said last year that was tough for him. Then he’s had a couple of breakthroughs. Everyone needs some breakthroughs, some confidence, and experience. So now he’s played well in games, so then it became can he play a string of good games together … he’s earned the right. He’s shot it well, he’s shot it well from 3, he’s our best assist-to-turnover ratio guy. You can see he’s playing well because he’s confident because he’s had some of those breakthroughs that some other guys need to go through.”

On Sheriff Drammeh …

“I think he’s shot it better. I think Brocke’s helping him because I think he’s more a guy who can play off the ball. It was good to see Brocke emerge there and then those guys playing together can help him. Obviously, defensively he’s done a really nice job and he always has. Last year he was a guy who could always play for you because he could defend.”

“The point guard is the most important position and the most difficult. He’s new to it in terms of he has to play with a bunch of new guys. There’s probably too much on his plate and that’s why I think Brocke can help him.”

“You certainly don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way or tough situations. Sheriff at times gravitates towards those and at times doesn’t see the shot clock. Hopefully the film will help him in moving the ball. He tends to hold on to it a little bit longer because he wants to make maybe a little bit more of a home run play.”

On not having names on the back of the jerseys …

“It started last year. Programs I’ve been around … I think particularly it was a focus with that group, you had all these dynamic personalities but there’s nothing more important than Hawaii, UH, at that point, we didn’t think it was that important to have the name on the back … I wanted our team to be a team more than anything and combine these personalities.”

On scholarship situation …

“As you know we normally get 13 scholarships. We had 12 my first year. We have 11 for this year, and 11 for the ’17 class coming up. We did sign Samuta Avea who was at Bingham in Utah and now came back to Kahuku. Technically, we have no scholarships (to give) because we have one senior.”

“We’re operating only on what we know. Right now, we have 11 scholarships for this class. Once we hear back from the NCAA for sure we could potentially get two back. Until then, we have to operate with what we have.”

On Drew Buggs situation …

“I give Drew a lot of credit. He’s done a good job in terms of what he can control – his treatment, his rehabilitation. I think he’s probably slightly ahead of where we thought he would be.”

“For him, it’s going to have to have three things. No. 1, let him be cleared, and he’s now been cleared to practice and he’s had a couple of weeks of practice. No. 2 he has to want to do it, and No. 3 is family. All three have to be on the same page. I think he’d like to be out there but a lot of things that have to work at the same time to make it the right thing to do.”

On NCAA situation …

“I was the naïve one. I knew the way the NCAA works. We’ve been very respectful. I said from Day 1, I was very proud of the way our administration has handled the process and cooperated with the investigation. I think we’ve been rewarded for that by getting an appeal that was ruled in our favor. But we heard that at the end of October. In that moment, I was naïve because I thought for a second that the fact that we got an appeal in our favor maybe they were trying to turn it around quick in time for the early signing period, which was two weeks later. That didn’t happen. Now we’re at two months.”

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On Ido Flaisher …

“He seems clearly to be the fan favorite on the team, and rightfully so. His hustle plays, he’s the young buck on our team. He’s only 18. His upside is really good, obviously. He has to get in better shape, that’s why he gives you a good three minutes here and there and then he needs a blow. As he gets in better shape and part of it is strength, he’ll play more.”

On Gibson Johnson …

“I think he’s done a nice job, obviously. There’s so much more than just the boxscore and stats but as a first year guy he’s giving us close to 11 points and 5 boards a game. We need more rebounding from all our guys.”

“He does give us a good option inside, he’s a good passer, he’s got kind of a crafty game. He doesn’t have tremendous lift and he’s not 6-10, but he’s crafty and he’s not afraid of the moment. He also needs to get better as we all do.”

On Jack Purchase …

“You can tell he can shoot. I said it from day 1. He’s had some self-confidence issues, but we certainly believe in him. He started passing up some open shots. We work hard to get those shots for our best shooters. He missed a couple early against Illinois State. They were wide open and he missed it. You have to keep shooting.”

On team leadership …

“I think we’re struggling with that, to be honest. I think we need guys to emerge in that role. … in the meantime, we have to step up as a staff and help them.”

“I think this year it’s a collective group. … our best leader is obviously Michael Thomas. He’s the one who can show them the way, but he can’t play. And he can’t practice full contact. So a guy like Sheriff gets thrown in the fire. Reality is, sometimes in life you get thrown in the fire and you gotta step up and find a way. We’re going to need some of that from Gibson Johnson, we’re going to need some of that from a senior Noah Allen who hasn’t had that role. It’s gotta happen.”

On team improvement so far …

“One thing I’ll say is we’ve been consistently good in the half court defensively. Defending ball screens. Where we’ve improved, our ball movement’s been better, even as we’ve struggled … we obviously have to start converting and making shots. Our defense in the half court has been consistent, but our turnovers has really hurt us. If we’re going to make a jump, it starts with take care of the ball. The two things, while we’re limited offensively, we shouldn’t be ever limited defensively and on the boards.”

On upcoming gain against Delaware State …

“Watching Delaware State, they’re not going to be intimidated by a crowd or travel. They travel a lot, they had tough games on the road. They have good guard play and they shoot the ball really well. We haven’t defended the 3 to the level we want … so that will pose a challenge right off the bat.”

2 Comments

  1. Also said Ido was 6-9, now 6-10, 220 lbs, now 238.
    warrrior4eva, WSN board may be no more, per poster Slammers, due to bankruptcy.

  2. No phone calls taken, per warrior4eva, but they took questions from the audience, including Chris Hart.

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