2017-18 MBB Banquet rewind

Outgoing UH players Zach Buscher, Gibson Johnson and Mike Thomas posed with their framed jerseys at the 2017-18 UH basketball banquet.

A smaller-than-usual Hawaii basketball postseason banquet still managed to produce some memorable moments on Wednesday night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.

There was a silent auction, a recent staple at the UH preseason and postseason hoops fundraisers. There was pretty much the entire 2017-18 team in house, minus departed center Ido Flaisher, who still found a way to dominate the team’s season highlight video (perhaps the biggest upset of the night).

And there was, for the first time under coach Eran Ganot, a procession of players introducing each other one by one, instead of the coach(es) dominating the mic. That led to some pretty humorous moments, with Zach Buscher roasting Sheriff Drammeh a bit after a relatively tame introduction of Buscher by the Swede.

Mike Thomas hugged fellow senior and co-captain Gibson Johnson as the last players to take the stage.

There was Ganot naming his team’s response to its late five-game Big West swoon as his proudest moment of the up-and-down year.

But what there wasn’t, was a robust crowd. It felt like half of the showing of the NCAA Tournament season of 2015-16, Ganot’s first year. UH went to a smaller pocket of the Coral Ballroom than usual, reflecting the crowd of 248. What to make of this? For one thing, banquet seats don’t come cheap anymore, at $150 each, and there are now, as mentioned above, both preseason and postseason events for fans to commit time and money to. For another, it could be attributed to the level of interest based on recent results — it was another middle-of-the-pack Big West season for UH (17-13 overall, 8-8 BWC), one that saw some disappointing crowds at the Stan Sheriff Center as well. And who knows, perhaps the recent San Diego headlines (dismissed by Ganot) affected it as well.

UH coach Eran Ganot spoke to the banquet crowd.

Anyway, onto the awards!

Unsurprisingly, senior co-captain Mike Thomas hauled in the prime awards after finishing as the program’s all-time winningest player (87). He took the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player and Riley Wallace Leadership awards.

The other named awards went to Drammeh for the Bob Nash Hustle distinction (a repeat) and the selfless Buscher for the Ah Chew Goo Most Inspirational.

Brocke Stepteau was issued Most Improved, Gibson Johnson repeated as the Scholar-Athlete (and made sure to let the crowd know about it) and Zigmars Raimo collected the Community Service award.

Congratulations are also in order for Johnson for a separate reason, as he’s now engaged and soon to be be married.

Other highlights included banquet MC Bobby Curran ribbing Ganot about upgrading the nonconference schedule (something to the effect of, “I hear there’s even schools we’ve heard of coming next season!”) … and UH’s longtime play-by-play man noting that Australian freshman Mate Colina could be considered the best big man ever to pass through the program by the time he’s finished. Make of that one what you will.


No official mention of the Rainbows’ spring commitment, City College of San Francisco guard Eddie Stansberry, at the banquet, but that wasn’t too surprising. (These things are rarely made official on the first day of a signing period.) It sounds like things are ready to go on UH’s end, but Stansberry apparently will be partaking in a signing ceremony Friday at CCSF.


  1. HawaiiMongoose April 14, 2018 10:53 am

    It’s Saturday and Stansberry hasn’t signed.

    I hope he’s still committed. He could be part of something special at UH. We have legit bigs coming in, athletic wings and good point guards. The missing piece is a knock-down perimeter shooter and that’s him. He has a golden opportunity to be a starter on a potential 20-win team and conference title contender.

  2. Kahuna April 14, 2018 4:51 pm

    I wonder if CCSF cancelled their signing ceremony thus delaying the signing. I believe Stansberry and a teammate from CCSF who was supposed to sign with SJSU was supposed to participate in a ceremony . I cant find anything regarding SJSU getting any commitment from CCSF so it made me believe there was no ceremony.

    It was Friday the 13th so maybe they didn’t want to do it on such a day and postpone it till Monday.

  3. cappie the dog April 15, 2018 10:20 pm

    So Sheriff Drammeh doesn’t have to take the three.

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