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Notes from “Call the Coach” radio show

University of Hawai’i basketball coach Eran Ganot joined host Bobby Curran for “Call the Coach” show at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant in Moanalua on Monday evening. It was broadcast on ESPN radio 1420 AM (and 92.7 FM).

Here are some excerpts from Ganot’s responses on the show (note that this is not a complete transcript):

On the finish of the UC Davis victory:

I’ll tell you this after the fact, that’s exactly how you want it. It made for a special night. It’s been a special year, obviously, with the 100th anniversary. But with the magnitude of the game, two teams that were pretty good coming in, playing pretty hot. And then on Thursday with the gathering of the former players and the alums. And then the celebration of the 100th with one of the best finishes in our history, so it was exciting and I’m really happy for everyone involved in our program.

On the UC Davis game:

It’s league play and battles, and we know Davis, they were 2-0 on the road coming in and obviously playing well. This has been a crazy year. We had three guys go out before the season started and then coming into that night we had two starters out so we wanted to at least stay out of foul trouble and then of course Webster and Eddie pick up two fouls each within the first six minutes, so it was a multitude of things.

But I think this group has gained confidence. They’ve been battle tested. Guys stepped up and then we were able to play Eddie with two fouls. Credit him as a senior to manage that. I thought guys gave us a lift. Every game it’s been different. I thought Hemsley was huge in the first half.

On Drew Buggs:

Not many people get double-digit assists in a game, let alone back to back games. He’s doing it at the most difficult position, while he’s playing both ends and (UC Davis)  guards were obviously really good as well. Think about this, last two games, 23 assists 3 turnovers.

He’s battling through a lot as well and he’s been huge for us … he’s our leader, he’s our captain. We just celebrated 100 years and if you can break a school record when you have 100 years of history, that’s impressive, let alone do it as a junior.

On team leadership:

Before the season starts, we show these guys some of their clutch plays and they gain confidence from that. I can go down the line. Every single one of those guys on our team were clutch. Whether it’s a shot or a screen or a defensive stop. And they’ve been battle tested. They’ve been in these situations. We do have some good experience coming back, even though we’ve had quite a bit of injuries. We do have a veteran backcourt.

On local recruits:

I can’t talk about any recruits until we sign them. But I know it’s been a priority for us. I think we have four on our roster right now. That’s the most we’ve had in our program in a long time. I just like where they’re at and I like where they’re headed. They’re great workers, obviously. We develop in our program, but the development happens with guys who work. You can go across the board, and obviously Samuta being the oldest one, think about the development he’s had since he’s been here. He’s become a knock down shooter. I’ve said that I’ve coached 17 years and I think (Matthew) Dellavedova and Samuta are the two that spend the most time in the gym and you like to see guys rewarded for that. Samuta has improved his body and improved his shot, he’s added such a dynamic for the game, he’s a guarantee for improvement. That’s kind of the formula we’re looking for.

On interacting with the former players:

I think that’s what it’s about. It’s not just the current group, it’s about the connection between former players and coaches, support staff, current group, future recruits. We have such a special history and we’re building the alumni base, reaching out to people. It’s the best it’s been. I want to thank our support staff, Dominic Drury, Gibson Johnson … you know how tall a task it is to try and contact every former member of our program? To do that anywhere, let alone Hawaii with the travel and the distance, is incredible. So I want to thank those guys for the work they put in to make it a real special night.

On upcoming game with CSUN:

(Lamine Diane) a handful, obviously. Last year as a freshman he averages 20 and 10. Who’s done that in the country over the last decade? And then he comes back and misses a semester and it’s like he didn’t miss a beat. He’s averaging 28 and 11. And then you combine that with some returning young guys and (Terrell) Gomez. I think those are the two leading scorers in the league.

I think they’re the No. 1 offense in our league right now. Their record is deceiving.

On UH receiving a technical foul for the new “flop” rule:

We were confused because it happened earlier in the possession and then they made the call so it wasn’t greatly explained but it was on Hemsley. It’s a hot topic nationally because there’s a balance there.

On lineup possibilities without Samuta Avea:

We don’t have that many options. Remember, we had three guys go down, two guys who won’t be in the fold for us in terms of Junior (Madut) and Ahmed (Ali). And then we had this situation with injuries. Reality is, we have Justin Webster as our first sub for any of the three guys. And then Zoar (Nedd) gave us a lift when Hemsley was out at Fullerton.

Hemsley’s been really good off the bench as a back-up 4, but this game changed that. To answer your question, we didn’t have Samuta at all. The game before, we had him for 10 minutes so we could play Webster. This time we knew Samuta wasn’t in there so we were prepared to play a little bigger and have Hemsley at the 3.

On Junior Madut:

I’m going to hold on to that (redshirt) until the end of the year. The way things are going, you never know. But we’re trying to be smart about it. This is a guy who’s really good, too. So burning half a year on a guy who has great potential … we didn’t know what would happen with (Avea) but we can manipulate things in other ways. We’re going to be smart about it and we’re really excited about his future and his development.

On death of Kobe Bryant:

Yesterday was a tough day for a lot of people. We talked about it with our team. This tragic accident, you’re talking about husbands, fathers, sons, mothers, wives, daughters. Kobe is not just a sports icon, he’s a global icon. So many people’s lives were touched by this. You could make an argument that he’s the greatest worker in professional sports. He was obsessed there and rewarded for his efforts.

I was fortunate to be here for two stints for two of their training camps. I remember guys were coming to practice and go home … he was in the gym … he was in the weightroom. And then he would go over and sit and talk with the guys and give them advice. How many people do that?

Personal stories? I wish I could have had more interaction with him obviously, but the respect from afar and the appreciation for what he did for our guys and what he continues to do for the younger generation to grow the game.

A lot of guys on our team, that’s their favorite player. Gerlufsen played against him in high school. Trotter is a big LA fan. As a parent, you shift gears and think about how tough this is for a lot of people, bigger than basketball.

On Eddie Stansberry:

He’s such a great kid, Eddie Stansberry. In two years he’s made quite an impact. He’s such a good worker. He works hard in practice, he puts extra work in. He deserves the success he’s having right now. Great family guy, too. Really proud and happy he’s with us.

On Zigmars Raimo:

He’s a huge part of our culture. Culture is development, and how about his development? He went from not playing to starting at the 5, to this year starting at the 4. Obviously, he’s no scoring 20 a game, but he’s close to 10 a game, he’s among the leaders in field goal percentage, he’s I think No. 1 in rebounding, he’s top six in assists, top three in steals, he guards, he fights. He gives us a big part of our work ethic identity.

This is on and off the court. The big thing I’ll say about our guys, and Zigmars is a great example of this, they are achievers. They are intelligent young men. It is in every area – on the court, in the classroom, in the community. … It matters and it shows on the floor and in every area. I couldn’t be prouder because these are great young men that are representative of this state for the young people here.

2 Comments

  1. On Caoch Eran Ganot: Great coach and getting better. And Mahalo. Thank you. Spectacular job on the 100th season celebration !
    And congrats on the win.

  2. I missed the show so mahaloz for the write up. This team is starting to look better and better. Go Bows!

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