Through about a week of full Hawaii men’s basketball practices, it’s been impressive to watch some of the team’s former fresh faces take commanding roles during drills.
Granted, the ratio of returnees to newcomers — 2 to 1 — is stacked in favor of the letterwinners, in stark contrast to this time last year.
There hasn’t been one guy — save perhaps Mike Thomas — who’s been dominant. Instead, a host of guys — Thomas, Leland Green, Gibson Johnson, Jack Purchase, Brocke Stepteau, even Zigmars Raimo and Ido Flaisher — who’ve been solid.
“I think we’re doing good as a team. But we still have a few things to work on. Well, more than a few things,” Green said Thursday after a practice in the sweatbox that is Klum Gym. “I think the new guys are picking it up faster than usual. I think the guys that’ve been here are helping those guys with everything they need help on. … I’m just trying to talk here and there, to see if I can help them.”
Green, a sophomore who averaged seven points per game last season, has looked strong defensively and has added some moves to his offensive repertoire as well. He said he worked on every part of his game in the offseason, including slowing down and seeing the floor.
“Last year it was a lot different,” Green said. “I wasn’t here in the summer. I just got thrown right in, had to learn everything really fast.”
“Last year everybody was pretty much new and (we were) moving a lot slower,” Green said. “This year we’re moving fast, going drill to drill. We just have to stop and break things down for the new guys and kind of go over things for the returners.”
He’s been occasionally thrown in the mix at point guard, particularly for pick-and-roll situations. Speaking of the point,
Drew Buggs, who hurt his right shoulder on Day 1 of full practices, is back in the fold.
Lately it’s been Johnson (ankle) who’s been sidelined. It doesn’t seem too serious, however. The team is scheduled to take off practices this weekend and get back at it on Monday.