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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 UC Davis 3-point shooting:

his will be interesting because we did a good job against Riverside taking them off the 3. I think Riverside and Davis. We’re top five right now, to be honest, in allowing 3-point attempts, so making guys make tough 2s over hands. Hopefully, we can do a good job. It will be interesting, you got the top 3-point shooting team against the top 3-point defensive team.

Again, we’re going to have to evolve offensively. We’re going to have to get some swag back there.

On Samuta Avea:

We know how much we need him to be where we need to be. It’s tough. You can take a shooter away, maybe you can take two, but when we’ve been good, we’ve had Eddie, Web and Samuta shooting for us.

It’s a little breakthrough he’s gotta go through. He’s working his way back. He’s got the rhythm. Each game he’s been a little bit more. He’s giving us some scoring when we post him inside when we post him. At the end of the day, we need him to play better, which we believe he will.

On the team’s current shooting:

There’s certain guys, they’re not good shooters and they won’t become good shooters. Other teams, they have non-shooters who you can help off. Muta is a good shooter who might not be shooting his liking. Web and Eddie have done it pretty consistently.

We also have to find a way to get easy baskets. I think you saw in the last game we got in transition and we kind of flipped crap up at the rim and weren’t in the right spots and gave up offensive fouls. You can’t give those up. We have to get offensive rebounds, too.

On low-post offense:

We have to convert on those. We’re missing too many bunnies. We’re missing free throws that we hadn’t missed earlier. We just have to get the confidence back and move the ball side to side to wear down the defense. Especially good defenses we see. If we’re stagnant and we’re not sticking the shots we normally do then things start to get tight for us and we have to find ways to get easy baskets in those moments.

On playing nore full-court pressure defense:

It’s like ball movement gets us going, and then maybe picking up the pressure gets our energy going, or maybe at times it creates a turnover and gets us an easy basket. It’s really hard. We talked about it. When we have pressed over the years, it’s when our depth has been there. When we lost Muta and Bernardo, it was hard to have certain guys play 35, 40 minutes and pick up.

On Bernardo da Silva’s status:

Some guys get hurt and they can do some walk-through and 5-on-0 stuff, but their injuries, they really couldn’t do anything but rehab and watch. When you’re a freshman and you didn’t have as much in the summer, he really didn’t have the reps. He’s a guy who needs reps and building habits. He’s so coachable, but there was slippage in the time he was away, which is natural. If he was a junior, let’s say, it would be second nature more. But there’s no doubt we’re very high on Bernardo and his future with our program.

This is a mini-breakthrough, but he weighed in today at 208. I know that’s not a lot but can we celebrate the guy who came in at 194 and is now at 208.

On Justin Webster:

I think he has a chance to be a future captain in our program. He’s such an energetic, positive, consistent guy as a freshman. He has no head-hanging in him. He comes back the next day, it’s the same. And he’s gotten stronger and he will get stronger.

Now he’s going through something really new as a freshman. He’s getting scouted as hard as any freshman this early. Teams are already taking him away. While it’s tough in the short term, it’s going to be great for him in the long term.

On CSUN’s Lamine Diane:

He’s doing it again. He might be averaging 25 (points) a game and 12 boards. Not many people have done 20 and 10 anywhere, let alone in our league, or in the west, in two years.

He’s a little unorthodox. Some of the shots you want a guy to take, he can make. And he can get hot and streaky. He’s good in transition, he’s good on the boards, he can run. He’s very long and he’s got great hands.

On CSUN’s Diane and Terrell Gomez:

You make those guys work on both ends. We did a great job on them the first time in terms of the half court. Where they killed us was in transition. They destroyed us. It created a deficit that we had to make a big comeback from.

On Big West standings:

All those teams are pretty jumbled in. All that matters right now is we play better basketball going into the conference tournament. The focus is to continue to defend, continue to rebound defensively. We have to improve our offensive flow and get to the offensive boards and get easy baskets.

On Owen Hulland:

The reality is there’s some good competition there. We tried something differently. Teams are defending Zigmars a different way at the 4, so we moved him to the 5 a little bit to play smaller and to create some different action for us offensively. Owen is told the same thing all our other guys are told to get the minutes they need. He can certainly fight his way back in, but he needs to continue to do it in terms of getting in better shape and defending.

On recruiting more athletic bigs:

I think we have to improve there, for sure. Bernardo gives us a different dynamic. In our league, it’s surprising maybe from afar that some of the teams in our league like Irvine and Riverside and Davis had, a traditional back to the basket (center). We have Dawson Carper who’s 6-11 and 255 and those guys are bigger. And then you go to the other teams and they play more of a Bernardo type big man so you have to be able to play both ways.

We have some 4 men who are leaving our program so we want to get an athletic 4, probably an athletic 5, and a couple combo guards and/or point guards. We got some guys coming in, but that’s the target for sure … we’re going to continue to work with our 7-footers and our bigs to get better. Bigs take a little bit. They’ve each had different levels of success, but we’re going to try to complement that with a different kind of big.

On any new offensive wrinkles:

The wrinkles in a broad spectrum is you’ve seen some of them …we’re looking at playing smaller at times, we’re looking at moving different guys in the post. We’re looking at picking up the press to give us some easy baskets.

On Junior Madut:

Don’t sleep on Junior. He’s sitting out for us right now. He’s one of those guys. I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing a semester on a kid who’s good to have two full years. There’s some short term pain from that, but we’re excited about the long term gain.

I think people forget about Junior because he’s sitting out … but think about also the fact that he gets a full semester to acclimate. There are times I feel like sneaking him in there when I watch him in practice or I walk by the bench but I’m fighting that temptation. This is a dynamic player. Explosive and athletic and he can shoot and he’s good at ball screens and he has size. It’s a difference maker.

He’s tough for us to cover in practice every day … he’s certainly got all-conference talent and he’s got a good head on his shoulders.

On team’s demeanor in practices:

It’s why you see some teams go through some serious lulls and maybe tank. Our guys have great character and they care a lot and they support each other and it’s fun to be around. I would expect nothing but that every day. We talk about handling failure, we talk about handling success. We can’t get too up or too down.

On Zigmars Raimo:

He won our most improved player award a year ago and he’s progressed. He’s had to play different positions for us. He’s a special player. He’s a big part of our identity, a big part of our grit. He came in and changed his whole body, which allowed him to be a significant player for us. This year, where is his evolvement? It’s not always as obvious, but instead of being at the 5, he’s now a top 10 guy in rebounds and steals and assists. He’s about to get his 500th rebound.

 On Jessiya Villa:

It’s difficult because he’s not traveling with us. Sometimes it’s tough with the practices, but when we do get to practice he’s been on the scout team and a lot of guys go through the scout team and it helps them because they’re in scoring opportunities. Zigmars has gone through it, Hemsley has gone through it, Brocke went through it.

They’re working on their skills, they’re working on their shooting, they’re getting acclimated to a year under their belt in the program and in terms of the academics. The other thing is Jessiya and Kam are going every day against Drew and Web and Eddie.

On rotation of 7-footers:

You have to combine the defensive matchups. The key for guys, there’s an old saying you are who you can guard. There’s a simplicity on the offensive end, but the key for guys is to be in a position where it doesn’t matter the matchups. You’re just good.

On Eddie Stansberry’s conditioning:

It’s hard for a lot of guys to play extended minutes on both ends. He can. We still find ways with Muta back, we find ways to get Eddie a rest, Webster a rest, Drew a rest. That’s helped us maybe press more at times or create more action. But Eddie because of his conditioning and his desire to be good has made a huge jump on the defensive end.

3 Comments

  1. So frustrating….please stop saying we have Biggs. Who? Mate is the most aggressive, Holland is the most skilled, Carper plays because the staff favors him for some reason….he doesn’t play big at all. You talk about some of the guards not being ready….holy smokes, your Biggs definitely ain’t ready. Some games, them and I have the same amount of rebounds…and I’m in the 8th row!!!!

    Muta is an ok player, far from the star that you claim him to be. He was a horrible shooter early on, but he’s worked very hard to improve his shot. But, he’s shooting well because of a combination of his work ethic and the staff being willing to allow him to play….from early in his career….isn’t that the key to any players confidence? That’s what’s happening to Webster…it’s just playing without limitations….

    Webster, has had some good games. Has had bad ones too. This guy and Bernardo played at a Prep School last year, against OTHER 5th year seniors, away from home…College ball and life isn’t that much different for them. They should be used to it. Certain commentators admire him for taking shots and missing them just because he’s willing to take that type of shot. Well, don’t you feel that Eddie or Raimo should have those touches? That’s when Raimo is playing like a man and not sticking his hands in butter before every game….

    Stansberry mentioned in an article that Villa prepared him well to go against a certain guard on the opposing team and this kid seems to just have been thrown on the side. I have seen it myself. He has been a huge help getting these guys ready for way more than just that game. Yeah, I get it, he’s redshirting, but my God, I’ve never seen a scholarship player at UH ignored so much since I’ve become a fan in the 70’s. Every article Villa’s name appears in, someone has to mention Kam. Stop, it’s not even close. You will see once Villa starts playing. The question wasn’t about Kam coach, pay attention to detail! Some of us that actually watch practices every so often know that Villa is a lot better than you and your staff is putting out.

    Kamren, he’s a turnover waiting to happen. When is the last time he’s missed two consecutive free throws? When he was like 6? His game has not looked positive, yet, your staff loves him, so he gets to nod….

    With this record, you should be willing to try all kinds of combinations and players. Not just your favorites….cuz that ain’t working….

  2. Buffnblu – you hit everything on the nose!

    Who’s training the “Biggs” anyway? Some of their high school videos show them dunking and yet dunks during games here are far from a few. Then they miss 2 to 4 foot shots around the basket. They can’t block out nor grab and hold onto the ball once they get it. Their jump, or 3 inch vertical leap to put it nicely, needs to be worked on. They should dominate, yet they’re man handled. Do you think they are afraid of the competition?

    We’ve always felt that a three guard set is not enough and if one guard goes down, deep deep trouble. We can’t expect Eddie and Drew to play all those minutes and still be able to play strong at the end of the game? Anyone ever notice how the lead or game is lost at the 10 minute mark of the second half? A bit winded? Maybe cannot is saving Avilla for the tournament? If this is the case, then they’d better play him in the first tournament game since one and done for the past tournaments has been the norm. Big West tournament goers should plan on getting their volleyball tickets at CSUN for Friday and Saturday.

    Let’s talk recruiting. The coaching staff neglected to actively pursue or land a big in the past 2 recruiting terms with the exception of Da Silva. This year and last year guards were on the radar. Really? How many more do we need? Our only decent big is graduating and now what?

    The team played really well early on in the season. What happened? Anyone know the answer?

    Season ticket sales will falter. Attendance to games will fall to all time low levels. Who wants to spend all that money to see one tournament game.

    Go Bows!

  3. No can do Mr. Bill Re: Avilla

    If he steps on the court to play at all, he will lose a year of eligibility.

    Seems like the coaching staff are inclined to go with their 3 guard set and have Samuta share in the guard duties to give some needed rest to Buggs and Stansberry. Might be too late to do some experimenting at this point. Let’s hope that they all remain healthy. Was it 2 years ago when Quincy Smith got injured during the tournament (hip)? Recall what happened after that? The team struggled.

    This will be a tough road trip as the team has not had much success on the road this season. With a winning record of 33% on the road up to now, and a couple of road games that they let get away, a split or sweep on the road will be a stretch but good momentum for the tournament.

    Mr. Bill – We purchased our volleyball tickets to watch the men play CSUN! See you in Anaheim.

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