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Highlights from “Call the Coach” radio show

The latest edition of “Call the Coach” radio show featuring University of Hawai’i basketball coach Eran Ganot was held on Monday night at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant in Moanalua, and broadcast on ESPN 1420 AM.

Below are some excerpts of what the Coach had to say on various topics. Note that it is not the complete transcript of the entire show.

On upcoming opponent, UC Irvine

When they’ve shored it up, they’ve performed. I think we talked on Call the Coach before conference and they were struggling and Irvine wasn’t mentioned and I said it’s a team you have to mention because they rebound. They were the best rebounding team going in and it’s a matter of time for those kinds of teams. That’s why they’re performing. It’s something we have to get back to and it’s a great challenge and a great opportunity for our guys and we’re looking forward to it.

They’ve been consistent, one of the best defensive teams as well. Their rebounding has taken it up a notch where they’re far and above the top rebounding team. They’re doing it the right way and we have to stop that streak.

On Gibson Johnson

I expect Gibson to bounce back, he always does. He finished strong last year. I think teams are doing a good job of making him uncomfortable. Obviously we had a stretch with the two top field goal percentage guys (Johnson and Mike Thomas) and (opponents are) now bringing support to those guys. We have to support them by making shots when they get rid of it so they can get back to playing a little one-on-one. He has to continue to find other ways to score, whether it’s running in transition or offensive rebounds. His attitude’s been really good. In the end, it’s a matter of time for those kinds of guys. At times he compounds it because he’s very emotional … he wants to do right and it’s affecting him a little bit but he’s been good the last couple days.

On Mike Thomas

He had three fouls the other night where it was two illegal screens offensively and then blasting through a screen defensively. They were again what you consider silly fouls and those are the ones that are his demons. He’s improved so much. This is a guy who people didn’t know could score the way he has. He’s one of the leading scorers in the league in less minutes and one of the best rebounders at his position. We need him on the floor. He’s improved, he’s gotten better, but he still has to fight through those demons.

On recent practices

It was fundamentals and competing more. People don’t realize, especially when we had the two early byes and with the travel, we don’t have as many practices with the two-game weeks the rest of the way. Right now, I think we need it at a high level. We have to be very efficient with the time we do have to practice and in the film room and with individual work.

Today was fundamentals and the deal was to get our confidence, our swagger, back. We’ve been hesitant in late clock. I think these guys, the weight that’s being put on themselves. I said this to the team last year, you guys aren’t disappointing. Let me take that heat. You guys play, you guys play with confidence. You guys know what a good shot and a bad shot is. We’ve had so many of these late shot clock situations because we’ve been so hesitant. Let’s get back to when we’re at our best and that’s when we’re not on our heels.

On Samuta Avea

I do believe in earning things and I think he’s earned it. I said that early in the year. I love our guys, I believe in all of them, but I also believe in earning things, so that’s the balance I have to fight. Samuta has improved. I know he’s the local boy, but Samuta doesn’t want any favors. He doesn’t want any handouts. He just wants to get better. That mentality has allowed him to get better. It’s put him in a position to get more minutes.

On the lineup change for the UC Riverside game

I don’t think it may have got the result in the short term, but I see a team that’s united. I wear this “H” every day with a lot of pride. I wake up early and I stay up late at night and understand the standards of which we live by. I think our guys are awesome but little things can become big things and I will gladly take any heat that comes with those decisions.

On Drew Buggs

He’s going to be in position to be the Freshman of the Year in our league. This is a guy who’s averaging 10 (points) a game and 4 or 5 assists and 3 or 4 rebounds and gaining confidence. Like you said earlier, Samuta is getting reps and hopefully that will help him long term. Drew Buggs early, there was a struggle there … he missed big free throws. How about that same guy who missed those big free throws now shooting over 80 percent from the line in conference play? He’s a fighter. He’s got a lot of heart and spirit.

On Leland Green

He’s really been hesitant. In the past when Leland struggled he continued to believe. Right now he’s over thinking things because he wants to help the team and in his mind he’s not. I always say go back to work and you feel like you deserve it because of the work you put in. He always does. You have to see some results, you might need a breakthrough and he’s looking for a breakthrough. … you have to make it happen. His mentality has been to continue to work and our guys believe in him.

On a shooting coach on staff

All our guys are pretty good. We have great mentors on our staff. We’ve always had a great staff in terms of guys building confidence and working with guys individually. It’s always different for each guy but (Adam Jacobsen) probably takes a lot more attention on the shooting aspect. Leland works. He does have a history of shooting it well that he can look back on.

On recent arrival and current redshirt Mate Colina

It’s great to get him a head start because he needs to get acclimated to the states, to Hawai’i and academically. He’s incredibly low maintenance. He’s a smart kid, he wants to work, he wants to get better. He’s the balance you want where he’s a gentle giant off the court and he’s very physical on the court, which our guys are getting used to right away. He’s unique in the fact that the size he has and how well he runs the floor. He’s probably the best at running the floor as any big we’ve had the last three years.

On signed recruit Dawson Carper

Dawson and Mate are the two traditional 5s in terms of back to the basket. You have to be smart about what you have. Right now we have to support our bigs with double teams at times in the post. You don’t have to do that with those two.

On signed recruit Owen Hulland

He might be taller than the other two. He’s 6-11-and-a-half, 7 feet, but he’s a 4 (power forward). It’s going to be very unique. He’s a guy who’s really good as a pick-and-pop guy, he can pass. His talent is really good. He’s behind in terms of getting used to his body.

On future scheduling

Part of that, there’s a league-by-league way that they can help each other’s schedule. The other thing is, there’s the balance of you don’t want to play the body bag games because that’s not going to help you. I think you have to fight to have a balance. I think our league has made a jump. I said last year it took a dip because we lost so many guys. This year we made a jump and next year we’re going to make another jump. At the end of the day, you need to have a balanced schedule and you have to schedule to where your team is at at the time.

We might have to look at some of the dynamics of our non-conference schedule. The problem is some of the bigger schools don’t open up on the road, so it takes you out of the equation for those kinds of schools. We might look at that, we might look at some creative options in terms of neutral sites as well in the future. Obviously we’ve decided to get into the Wooden next year.

There’s some things we might announce maybe before the end of the season or maybe after in terms of there’s some future games we’re locked into that are really exciting for our fan base and will be really challenging. I think we have to do that, our schools in our league have to do that. But we also have to have (opponents) that are willing … don’t treat us like a bum. If you want us to play there, you have to come back here, too.

On recruiting another shooting guard

I have belief in our guys getting better. I think Sheriff had a good stretch and then he struggled a bit late and I think it’s going to come back for him. This is a guy who was 1 point a game, then 9 points a game, then 11 points a game. His 3-point shooting has gone up every year. Sometimes it’s gradual.

I do think some of the guys we have in our program will get better, and then we’re going to add another piece to compete with those guys. This is the first time really since we’ve been here that we’ve been ahead of recruiting, where we’re now doing everything ahead of the curve. And so it now gets to an iron sharpens iron deal, where there’s competition every day in practice and we get more experience and a little older where people know the routine … that’s part of building a program.

On recent negative reaction from fans

My number 1 job is to lead, and I don’t take that lightly. We go in the locker room after a game and I come back out after a win or a loss. I talk to Scott (Robbs), which is a pleasure sometimes after games … then I talk to (radio) then I go into the media room. I’m going to handle that the same way whether we win or lose. I hope people address me when I don’t. It will be with class and professionalism and with respect. I deflect credit and will embrace criticism. It doesn’t mean it’s easy because we care a lot and it takes a toll on you. But it’s something we embrace. We could be hurting, but we’re not going to run and hide.

5 Comments

  1. Whooo boy. Nobody saw this coming. Ganot and Co. really need to show what they are worth now. In the game of basketball chess, this team is being out-smarted. They need to come up with some new and unexpected moves to catch up. Knocking off Irvine is not impossible. Lets Go Bows!

  2. I think the silver lining here is that despite the 5 game win streak, EVERY single one of those games were VERY winnable. Unfortunately, we let them all slip away, but the important thing is to look past the W/L stats. Winning record or not, this team can still beat anyone in the league on any given day — any time, any place. Our weakness has been exposed, so now it falls on the coaching staff the adjust the team accordingly. Our guys are still out there every night giving their all, doing their thing. That’s all I expect and that’s all we can really ask of them! Looking forward to get back to their winning ways, hopefully sooner than later! Let’s GO BOWS!!!!

  3. Sorry, meant to say despite 5 games LOSING streak, can’t edit my comment

  4. Yes. Please WI, please look into letting us edit our comments. Mahal
    o.

    Go Bows !

  5. Bring back Benji.

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