Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Three-day Rainbow Classic starts this Friday

Ready or not, the 2018-19 season gets underway this week for the University of Hawai’i basketball team. The Rainbow Warriors will open the season with three games in three nights in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.

The Warriors will host Portland on Friday, Humboldt State on Saturday, and then North Texas on Sunday.

The last and only other time in UH basketball history that the team opened a season with three games in three days was in 1993. Coincidentally, that 1993-94 season’s opening opponent was also Portland.

This year’s Warriors are looking for a better start than 25 years ago. The 1993 UH team — featuring such names as Jarinn Akana, Phil Handy, Tony Maroney and Trevor Ruffin — opened with three blowout losses in three straight days at the Great Alaska Shootout. That team, however, eventually went on to win the Western Athletic Conference Tournament and made it to the NCAA Tournament.

Here is a quick look at the four teams in this year’s Rainbow Classic field:

HAWAI’I (17-13 overall, 8-8 Big West Conference in 2017-18)

The Warriors are picked to finish sixth (out of nine teams) in the Big West preseason poll. Fourth-year head coach Eran Ganot has a blend of experience and youth to work with this season. Seven players who started at least one game return this season, led by seniors Sheriff Drammeh (10.7 points, 3.4 rebounds), Jack Purchase (7.5 points, 5.1 rebounds) and Brocke Stepteau (9.5 points, 2.7 assists).

Hawai’i looked impressive in an 81-45 exhibition win over Hawai’i Pacific last week. Junior forward Zigmars Raimo scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and also grabbed eight rebounds. Purchase added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The other key returnees from last season are sophomore point guard Drew Buggs, junior guards Leland Green and Brandon Thomas, and sophomore forward Samuta Avea.

Among the newcomers, junior guard Eddie Stansberry appears ready to take on a scoring role. He had 12 points in the exhibition win over HPU. The Warriors also feature a trio of 7-foot freshmen: Mate Colina and Owen Hulland from Australia, and Dawson Carper from Colorado.

HUMBOLDT STATE (9-19 overall, 6-16 California Collegiate Athletic Association in 2017-18)

May we see some ID please?

Yes, you can be excused for not knowing anything about the Lumberjacks. They are a NCAA Division II program, and a lower-tier one at that. They are picked to finish 12th (out of 13 teams) in the CCAA conference preseason poll.

Humboldt State lost an exhibition game at Fresno State, 78-50, last week. Justin Everett, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, had 10 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

Everett averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season, and also shot 54.8 percent from the field. The top returning scorer from last season is Kameron Curl, a 6-foot senior guard who averaged 11.1 points per game and made a team-high 46 3-pointers.

Head coach Steve Kinder has experienced some success in his previous eight seasons at Humboldt State. The Lumberjacks have four 20-win seasons under his guidance, including a 26-4 record in 2010-11.

Not-so-fun fact: Humboldt State’s home gym, Lumberjack Arena, has a capacity of 1,850.

PORTLAND (10-22 overall, 4-14 West Coast Conference in 2017-18)

The Pilots struggled last season, and are predicted to do so again this season. They are picked 10th (out of 10 teams) in the WCC preseason poll.

If anything, Portland has some recognizable names. The head coach in his third season is Terry Porter, a former NBA All-Star Game participant as a point guard with the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1990s. Two of his sons – Franklin and Malcolm – are playing for him as Pilots this season.

The top returning player is Marcus Shaver Jr., a 6-2 sophomore guard. He played intermediate level basketball as a student at Maryknoll School before moving with his family to Arizona. He averaged 12.3 points per game as a freshman last season. He had 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in Portland’s 94-80 exhibition game win over Westmont last week.

Josh McSwiggan, a 6-7 junior forward, scored 24 points in the exhibition game. He averaged 10.9 points per game and led the team with 70 3-pointers.

‘Iolani School graduate Hugh Hogland, a 6-10 freshman center who redshirted last season, is expected to play a reserve role for the Pilots.

NORTH TEXAS (20-18 overall, 8-10 Conference USA in 2017-18)

The Mean Green won the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) postseason tournament last season, and return several key players. They are picked fourth (out of 14 teams) in the C-USA preseason poll.

UNT already played a home game this week, beating Angelo State (NCAA-II team), 89-55, on Tuesday. Umoja Gibson, a 6-foot redshirt freshman, shot 7 for 10 from 3-point range and scored 32 points in the victory. He was a season-opening starter as a true freshman last season but suffered a season-ending leg injury in the second game.

The Mean Green has another dynamic player in Roosevelt Smart, a 6-3 junior guard. He averaged 19.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season. He ranked third in the nation with 133 made 3-pointers, and led the country with 352 3-point attempts. He did not play against Angelo State due to a calf injury.

Another key returnee is Ryan Woolridge, a 6-3 junior guard who averaged 12.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The Mean Green had 11 players who started at least one game last season, and eight of them are back this season.

Grant McCasland is in his second season as head coach at UNT.

November 9, 10 and 11 (see schedule below)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: All Hawai’i games will be live on Spectrum Sports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD).
Streaming Video: All Hawai’i games on BigWest.TV (Must be a Spectrum cable subscriber to stream in Hawai’i).
Radio: All Hawai’i games live on ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KPUA on the Big Island, KTOH on Kaua’i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Audio Webcast: ESPN1420am.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: Upper Level – $30 all seats; Lower Level – $18 or $20 for adults, $16 or $18 for senior citizens (ages 65 and older), $5 or $7 for students (ages 4 through high school). Upper level prices vary by section. UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $6.

Daily Schedule
Friday, November 9

4:30 p.m. – Humboldt State vs. North Texas
7:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. Portland

Saturday, November 10
4:30 p.m. – North Texas vs. Portland
7:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. Humboldt State

Sunday, November 11
6:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. North Texas


  1. This should be a good year for the Bows! The first two games are good warmups and should be easy wins. I would love to see Hugh Hogland go up against some of the new 7-footers! The last game against North Texas will be a good one.

    I remember the 93 team. Good memories. If I recall, the boys got sick because was so cold in Alaska and that’s how they lost so badly.

  2. Marcus Shaver Jr. was on the All-WCC Freshman team last season.

    Humboldt St used to play football vs UH at least in the 1960’s and 70’s.
    In 1960, they were ranked #3 in the AP Small College Poll. But they will be ending their football program after this season.

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