Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball
Search

Up next: Diamond Head Classic begins on Sunday

If the teams in the 2019 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic could be compared to Christmas gifts, it would be hard to pick the one that looks the best.

The three-day, eight-team tournament is set to start on Sunday. There will be four games per day on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. Each of the 12 games will be televised nationally on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Based on early-season results, this year’s three-day Diamond Head Classic appears to offer an even field. Seven of the eight teams in the tournament have winning records:

UTEP 8-2
Washington 8-2
Portland 8-4
Hawai’i 7-3
Houston 7-3
Ball State 6-4
Boise State 6-4
Georgia Tech 4-5

The Washington Huskies are the only nationally-ranked team in the field, checking in at No. 22 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. They also feature two freshmen who are projected to be first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft – 6-10 forward Jaden McDaniels and 6-9 forward Isaiah Stewart.

It is worth noting, however, that only three ranked teams have gone on to win the Diamond Head Classic since the tournament started in 2009: Arizona (No. 4) in 2012, Iowa State (No. 17) in 2013, and Oklahoma (No. 3) in 2015.

This year’s field also features two teams that are contenders for “turnaround team of the year” in UTEP and Portland.  The Miners finished 8-21 last season, and are already 8-2 this season. The Pilots finished 7-25 last season, and are currently 8-4.

The only team in this year’s field with a sub-.500 record is Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets play a rugged schedule. Four of their five losses have been against high-major opponents – Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Syracuse.

The host team Hawai’i is 7-1 in the Stan Sheriff Center this season. The Rainbow Warriors are seeking to reach the championship game for the first time. This is Hawai’i’s 11th consecutive appearance in the tournament, and its highest placing so far is third in 2014 and 2015.

In an odd scheduling situation, there have already been two games played this week that featured teams from this tournament. Ball State won at Georgia Tech, 65-47, on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, Houston won a home game over UTEP, 77-57.

Here is a brief look at the eight teams:

Ball State (6-4 overall, 0-0 Mid-American Conference)

Head coach: James Whitford (7th season)

Notes: The Cardinals are averaging 10.3 made 3-pointers per game. They made 21 3-pointers in a 100-69 win over Howard on November 23. Ball State scored a season-low 58 points in a 70-58 loss to Loyola Chicago on December 3, but then scored a season-high four days later in a 102-54 victory over IUPUI. The Cardinals are making their first appearance in the DHC.

Players to watch: Ishmael El-Amin (6-1, Jr., G) is averaging 14.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He has 25 3-pointers and a .481 percentage from 3-point range. Tahjai Teague (6-8, Sr., F) is averaging 13.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Kyle Mallers (6-7, Sr., F) is averaging 12.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and leads the team with 27 3-pointers and a .482 percentage from 3-point range. K.J. Walton (6-3, Sr., G) is averaging 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Boise State (6-4 overall, 1-1 Mountain West)

Head coach: Leon Rice (10th season)

Notes: The Broncos are averaging 80.4 points per game  They already played two Mountain West Conference games – a road loss at New Mexico and a home win over Colorado State. Boise State also have a road loss at No. 15 Oregon, 106-75, and a home loss against UC Irvine, 69-60. The Broncos finished in second place in the 2011 DHC.

Players to watch: Derrick Alston Jr. (6-9, Jr., G) is averaging 21.2 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He has scored 20 or more points in eight of 10 games this season. He also has 27 3-pointers and a .403 percentage from 3-point range. Justinian Jessup (6-7, Sr., G) is averaging 16.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 33 3-pointers and a .913 free throw percentage. RJ Williams (6-7, Sr., F) is averaging 13.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, and has a .671 overall field goal percentage. Alex Hobbs (6-4, Sr., G) is averaging 9.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Georgia Tech (4-5, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference)

Head coach: Josh Pastner (4th season)

Notes: The Yellow Jackets opened the season with an 82-81 overtime road win at North Carolina State. They are averaging just 65.4 points per game. Georgia Tech has a team field goal percentage of .430, but is limiting opponents to a .386 percentage.  The Yellow Jackets are on a three-game losing streak – vs. Syracuse 97-63, at Kentucky 67-53, and vs. Ball State 65-47. This is Georgia Tech’s first appearance in the DHC.

Players to watch: Michael Devoe (6-5, So., G) is averaging 18.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He has 19 3-pointers and a .452 percentage from 3-point range. Moses Wright (6-9, Jr., F) is averaging 11.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, and has a .547 overall field goal percentage. James Banks III (6-10, Sr., C) is averaging 10.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots per game. Khalid Moore (6-7, So., F) is averaging 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Houston (7-3, 0-0 American Athletic Conference)

Head coach: Kelvin Sampson (6th season)

Notes: The Cougars finished 33-4 last season and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. This season, Houston’s three losses have been against BYU (72-71), at Oregon (78-66) and vs. Oklahoma State (61-55). The Cougars are averaging 43.8 rebounds per game, while their opponents are averaging 32.2. Houston is coming off an impressive 77-57 home win over UTEP. This is Houston’s first appearance in the DHC.

Players to watch: Quentin Grimes (6-5, So., F) is averaging 13.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He was a starter at Kansas last season, but transferred to Houston prior to this season.
Nate Hinton (6-5, So., G) is averaging 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He also leads the team with 20 3-pointers and a .455 percentage from 3-point range. Caleb Mills (6-3, Fr., G) is averaging 12.0 points per game. Fabian White Jr. (6-7, Jr., F) is averaging 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. DeJon Jarreau (6-5, Jr., G) is averaging 9.2 points and 4.0 assists per game.

Hawai’i (7-3, 0-0 Big West Conference)

Head coach: Eran Ganot (5th season); Chris Gerlufsen has been acting head coach since the start of this season

Notes: The Rainbow Warriors are 7-1 at home this season, with the only loss against South Dakota (81-75). Their only other losses were on the road at Illinois (66-53) and No. 12 Oregon (89-64). Hawai’i is averaging 15.2 assists per game. Head coach Eran Ganot has been on an indefinite medical leave of absence since the start of the season. The Rainbow Warriors have an all-time record of 16-14 in the DHC.

Players to watch: Eddie Stansberry (6-3, Sr., G) is averaging 19.7 points, and 3.7 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 38 3-pointers and a .427 percentage from 3-point range. Samuta Avea (6-6, Jr., F) is averaging 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, and has 21 3-pointers with a .404 percentage from 3-point range. Drew Buggs (6-3, Jr., G) is averaging 10.9 points, 5.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Zigmars Raimo (6-9, Sr., F) is averaging 9.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He was named to the DHC All-Tournament Team last season after averaging 13.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in the three games.

Portland (8-4, 0-0 West Coast Conference)

Head coach: Terry Porter (4th season)

Notes: The Pilots have already surpassed their win total from all of last season, when they finished 7-25. Portland is allowing 63.0 points per game, and no opponent has scored more than 76 points this season. Head coach Terry Porter is a former NBA standout who played in two All-Star games and two NBA Finals with the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland is making its first appearance in the DHC. Hugh Hogland, an ‘Iolani School graduate, is a sophomore reserve forward/center for Portland.

Players to watch: Isaiah White (6-4, Sr., G) is averaging 14.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 25 3-pointers and is shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range. He is a transfer from Maine. JoJo Walker (6-1, Jr., G) is averaging 12.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Malcolm Porter (6-4, Jr., G) is averaging 10.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He is the son of head coach Terry Porter. Jacob Tryon (6-11, Jr., C) is averaging 8.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Chase Adams (5-7, Fr., G) is averaging 6.7 points and 4.6 assists per game.

UTEP (8-2, 0-0 Conference USA)

Head coach: Rodney Terry (2nd season)

Notes: The Miners have already matched their win total from all of last season, when they finished 8-21. UTEP beat defending Big West Conference champion UC Irvine, 67-61, on December 17. The only losses this season have come on the road at New Mexico State (59-56) and Houston (77-57). Head coach Rodney Terry was the head coach at Fresno State for seven seasons prior to being hired at UTEP. The Miners finished in third place in the 2011 DHC.

Players to watch: Bryson Williams (6-8, Jr., F) is averaging 19.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and has a .607 overall field goal percentage. He sat out last season after transferring from Fresno State. Souley Boum (6-3, So., G) is averaging 11.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Daryl Edwards (6-3, Sr., G) is averaging 9.5 points per game and leads the team with 17 3-pointers. Efe Odigie  (6-9, So., F) is averaging 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Washington (8-2, 0-0 Pac-12)

Head coach: Mike Hopkins (3rd season)

Notes: The Huskies opened this season with a 67-64 win over No. 16 Baylor. They also beat South Dakota, 75-55. Their only losses were to Tennessee (75-62) and No. 9 Gonzaga (83-76). Head coach Mike Hopkins was an assistant coach at Syracuse for 22 years prior to his hiring at Washington. Nine of the 20 players on the Washington roster are freshmen. This is Washington’s first appearance in the DHC.

Players to watch: Isaiah Stewart (6-9, 250, Fr., F) is averaging 18.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, and has a .604 field goal percentage. Jaden McDaniels (6-9, Fr., F) is averaging 14.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Nahziah Carter (6-6, Jr., G) is averaging 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Quade Green (6-0, So., G) is averaging 10.6 points and 5.0 assists per game.

— — — — —

2019 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
Stan Sheriff Center
Sunday’s Games

10:00 a.m. – Houston vs. Portland
12:00 p.m. – Boise State vs. Georgia Tech
4:30 p.m. – Ball State vs. Washington
6:30 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. UTEP

Monday, December 23
11:30 a.m. – Consolation game
2:00 p.m. – Semifinal game
6:30 p.m. – Semifinal game*
8:30 p.m. – Consolation game*

Wednesday, December 25
8:30 a.m. – 7th place game*
10:30 a.m. – 5th place game*
1:30 p.m. – 3rd place game*
3:30 p.m. – Championship game*

*Potential Hawai’i game

— — — — —

Ticket information

All tournament package (includes entry to all 12 games): $110 for lower level; $70 for upper level

Day sessions on December 22 and 23 (includes entry to first two games of the day): $10 general admission

Evening sessions on December 22 and 23 (includes entry to last two games of the day), and both sessions on December 25 : $30 for lower level; $18 for adults in upper level; $10 for senior citizens and students in upper level.

Leave a Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Supporters