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Preparations continue for start of 2018-19 season

The University of Hawai’i basketball team’s Down Under Tour was completed in mid-August. The next competition can’t come soon enough for the Rainbow Warriors.

The past four weeks have been all about practices and intrasquad scrimmages in preparation for the 2018-19 season. The pre-test begins this Friday, November 2, when the Warriors host NCAA Division II Hawai’i Pacific in an exhibition game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“For a four-week grind, you’re kind of battling against each other and everybody is probably sick of each other, it’s the same thing that goes on everywhere in the country right now,” head coach Eran Ganot said. “But it’s exciting to know we’re a step closer to playing a game … I think our guys are improving … Are we there? No, we shouldn’t be there. But are we getting better? Yes.”

It has been an intriguing preseason, with several players missing practice time due to injuries. Junior guard Leland Green could not participate in the exhibition games in Australia in August due to a shoulder injury. It also kept him out of the Green & White intrasquad scrimmage on October 19, but he was recently cleared to return to practices.

“I’m still working my way back in,” Green said. “Definitely trying to get stronger and get all my muscle back. I’ve been working on that.”

The time on the sidelines gave Green a chance to assess the progress of the 2018-19 team.

“From the first time we started practice, preparing for Australia, to now, I feel like our team has made some big jumps but we still have some improving to do,” he said.

Freshman forward Owen Hulland also missed the intrasquad scrimmage, but he has also returned to practices.

Despite the loss of senior starters Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson from last season’s team, wophomore point guard Drew Buggs said he senses a more confident team heading into this season.

Seven players who started at least one game last season are back this season: Buggs, Green, Sheriff Drammeh, Jack Purchase, Brocke Stepteau, Samuta Avea and Zigmars Raimo.

“We got a lot more people with game experience, returners, coming back this year,” Buggs said. “The new guys, we got a lot of big guys that we have to fill in, so we’re just trying to help get them ready for what the season will be like.”

Buggs was referring to a trio of 7-foot freshmen, all from Australia: Hulland, Dawson Carper and Mate Colina.

The final result and statistics from Friday’s exhibition game will not count for the Warriors. The regular season begins a week later with three games in three days during the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic: November 9 vs. Portland; November 10 vs. Humboldt State; November 11 vs. North Texas.

1 Comment

  1. Good video and report.

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