Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors work on improving while waiting for games

No games means more practice time for the University of Hawai’i basketball team. It might not be an ideal trade-off, but under the circumstances, the Rainbow Warriors will take it.

Injuries and illnesses have created daily absences since team practices started on October 14, but the pieces are slowly coming back together, according to head coach Eran Ganot.

“I don’t know how to describe it because this year has been so different from any other,” Ganot said. “Guys have been in and out (of practices) since Day 1, but I think we’re getting closer to where we want to be. The thing is, we’re trying to be smart about all of this. You’re seeing that with a lot of other programs. You get an injury, and you play it safe hoping to avoid a more serious injury because a lot of these guys haven’t had the year-round time to train and prepare like they normally would.”

Among the players who have missed significant practice time are Samuta Avea, Noel Coleman, Mate Colina, Bernardo da Silva, Justin Hemsley and Jovon McClanahan. Other players have missed time due to illness, but Ganot pointed out that the team has not had to “pause” any scheduling due to COVID-19 issues.

If the Warriors were to play a game this week, da Silva might be the only player unavailable, although others are still “catching up” due to the missed time.

“The guys who have been there have been doing a great job, I need to say that,” Ganot said. “But it’s tough to get a rhythm and implement things on both the offensive and defensive ends when you have so many guys out at a time.”

The past two weeks have featured five-on-five drills, allowing the coaches to start mixing various lineups.

Here are some of Ganot’s thoughts on the five-on-five play:

“Some of the newcomers made a jump. Noel Coleman and James (Jean-Marie) certainly made a jump from where they were in previous weeks.

“Junior (Madut) has been a guy who has the potential to be a separator for us. You see that coming. His talent on both ends of the floor is blossoming, and could allow him to be a difference maker.

“Mate (Colina) didn’t have a healthy Fall, and had to work his way back, but he’s a guy who’s experienced and worked hard in the summer. You can see his confidence coming along.

“I feel like you take (Justin) Webster for granted because he’s such a night-in, night-out guy we can count on, even though he’s only a sophomore. He has an ability to be energetic and vocal and he’s gotten better from year one to year two.

“Casdon (Jardine) has jumped in and become a leader right off the bat. He stretches the floor and I’m impressed at how quickly he’s picked up on things and become a leader for this group.

“Hemsley is a four-year guy, so we were excited to finally get him back on the floor (after injury). He gives us physicality and experience.

“Jovon (McClanahan) has potential to be a playmaker who can shoot it.

“Biwali (Bayles) and Kam (Ng), they’re young guys but with all the injuries they got a lot of reps and they made the most of it.”

As for the non-conference schedule, there still are no updates. A majority of the NCAA teams started playing non-conference games this week, including five Big West Conference teams (Cal Poly, CSUN, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC Riverside). Two other Big West teams – Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara – had games cancelled due to COVID-related issues.

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)