Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Introducing the 2017-18 team

The 2017-18 University of Hawai’i basketball team will begin official practices on Friday, September 29.

It will be the first of 30 allowed practices before the regular-season opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on November 10. Per NCAA rules, each team can conduct 30 practices over the course of six weeks prior to its first game of the season.

This year’s UH team features 10 returnees and four newcomers (Samuta Avea, Justin Hemsley, Jaaron Stallworth and Brandon Thomas). Among the 10 returnees are two players who redshirted last season — senior forward Mike Thomas and freshman guard Drew Buggs.

Thomas is the lone remaining starter from the 2015-16 team that won the Big West Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Five other returnees from last season have starting experience: Brocke Stepteau, Sheriff Drammeh, Leland Green, Gibson Johnson and Jack Purchase.

Below are photos of the 2017-18 players (photos courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com).

Left column (top to bottom): Samuta Avea, Zach Buscher, Ido Flaisher, Justin Hemsley, Jack Purchase, Jaaron Stallworth, Brandon Thomas.

Right column (top to bottom): Drew Buggs, Sheriff Drammeh, Leland Green, Gibson Johnson, Zigmars Raimo, Brocke Stepteau, Mike Thomas.


  1. Team looks good! I love the mixture of local, mainland and foreign players. Season starts in 6 short weeks, UH basketball hype!

  2. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….does anyone know if Daniel Fotu was pursued by Hawaii?

  3. Pretty sure Ido said he was now 6’11”. Grew an inch. If that’s the case, Good !

    Hope they have all been working out ! Practicing their jumping !

  4. Let’s have some fun. Who do you project as the starting 5?
    I’m going with Buggs, Green, Sheriff, MT and Gib if they go with a small lineup and if they go big they switch out Sheriff for Avea/Helmsley to help them with defensive matchups.

  5. ” UH has added a walk-on, Trevor LaCount of Ventura College, to bring the roster count to 15. LaCount was listed at 6-foot-7 and 180 pounds as a sophomore at Ventura.
    He averaged 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 58.5 percent from the field. ” (McInnis, Sept 29 2017 )

  6. LaCount can dunk. So that’s good.

    To the starting five, Gib said he was a PF, so I would pencil him in there. MT at center. Buggs at point. I think now Jack Purchase has to play, so pencil him in at SF. Then perhaps Green at SG.

  7. We should have a better team this year due to the better backcourt depth. Hopefully, as has been the case in recent years,one of the new players will make a big impact. We have a good starting five but the quality at the bench has somewhat of a puka. We can play small ball but need to ,have decent shooting. If the wings can shoot you might see one of the bigs sit and rotate two at a time.

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