Continuity was the word of the day as the Hawaii basketball team opened the first of 30 full practices before its Nov. 10 season opener.
The Rainbow Warriors are certainly not identical to last year’s 14-16 (8-8 Big West) squad. But compared to the previous offseason — when basically the entire roster was replaced — the carryover feels substantial.
All 14 players were present for the offseason workout program.
“We’re a little further along than we were at this point last year,” third-year coach Eran Ganot said prior to practice.
UH has Mike Thomas back in action to go with Gibson Johnson as the team’s two seniors.
The point guard battle promises to be the one to watch, with incumbent Brocke Stepteau, redshirt freshman Drew Buggs, and newcomer Jaaron Stallworth competing for the job. UH also has to figure out if it will employ Thomas, Johnson and Jack Purchase simultaneously.
Johnson had one goal in mind for Day 1 of practice.
“Probably dunk on Ido,” he said with a smile. “Speaking honestly, if I could do anything I’d probably dunk on Ido.”
Ido Flaisher, the team’s 6-foot-10 sophomore center, looks to be in much better shape compared to this time last year. Several players do, in fact.
Stallworth was just about a full participant coming off his broken leg and dislocated ankle injuries from the spring. He was just cleared for contact.
UH brought in officials to work the latter portion of practice.
UH has added a walk-on, Trevor LaCount of Ventura College, to bring the roster count to 15. LaCount was listed at 6-foot-7 and 180 pounds as a sophomore at Ventura. He averaged 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 58.5 percent from the field.
A couple of scheduling notes:
>> It sounds like ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-off Marathon is done. UH will not be playing in a midnight game to cap the Rainbow Classic, ending a streak of nine years of participation — all nine years of the event. (It would’ve been Troy for the midnight nationally televised midnight game this year.)
>> Strangely, the Diamond Head Classic championship game on Christmas Day will precede the third-place game. Chalk it up to TV reasons.
Here are some shots from Day 1, including Clippers camp which immediately preceded UH’s practice. Some of the Clippers hung around to watch UH warm up.
Former UH guard Larry Lewis Jr. is official at his new home, Hawaii Pacific.
Should be interesting when the ‘Bows and Sharks meet up in an exhibition on Nov. 1. Lewis, an excellent finisher, never quite fit in at UH, but maybe he can close his college career on a high note at HPU. Best of luck to him.
Speaking of former UH guards, Isaac Fleming is finally eligible to play again coming off his transfer redshirt season at East Carolina.