Big recruiting week

As you most likely are aware, the Hawaii basketball team has a lot of work to do on the recruiting front to replace its considerable offseason player losses.

UH lost nine of the 15 players from its Big West championship season. Of the six slated to return, three are walk-ons, and two of the six (Mike Thomas and Sheriff Drammeh) played meaningful minutes in 2015-16.

So far, the Rainbow Warriors have one player signed this spring in Redondo Union High’s Leland Green, and two others from the fall in Matt Owies and Drew Buggs. All are guards.

Gibson Johnson (Salt Lake CC photo)
Gibson Johnson (Salt Lake CC photo)

That’s where this week could be big, as Eran Ganot could potentially assign a few of the handful of scholarships he has available.

UH is hosting three players in the coming days, according to sources. The first, Salt Lake Community College forward Gibson Johnson, is already here. Our Ferd Lewis did a story on the 6-8, 240-pound Johnson last week (subscriber content).

The 6-foot-8 Johnson averaged 12 points and 5.6 rebounds for the NJCAA champions. UH’s chances seem good; word is the primary competitor for his services right now is Southern Utah.


Due up next to visit is another junior college player, Odessa (Texas) guard Larry Lewis. It sounds like he could arrive Wednesday.

Larry Lewis (Odessa College photo)
Larry Lewis (Odessa College photo)

Lewis, a transfer from Division I Texas-San Antonio, averaged 11.1 points as Odessa’s third-leading scorer in 2015-16 to go with 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was efficient from beyond the arc, topping 40 percent, but was a relatively poor free-throw shooter at 55.4 percent.

Lewis’ profile and full stats are here. Like Johnson, the 6-foot-2 guard has two years of eligibility.

Here’s a Q&A that the Wranglers’ athletics website did on him.

He was a first-team Western Junior College Athletic Conference player.


Lastly, UH is looking at a graduate transfer in UCLA wing Noah Allen. Allen is due in later this week.

Noah Allen (UCLA photo)
Noah Allen (UCLA photo)

The 6-foot-7, 215-pound Allen has played sparingly for the Bruins the last three years, averaging 1.2 points and 1.2 rebounds for a traditional powerhouse. Think of him in the mold of a Sai Tummala, a guy waiting for his chance. However, unlike Tummala, he’s not known for his 3-point shot. Allen shot 6-for-22 overall last year, so this isn’t exactly Gavin Smith we’re talking about.

One thing Hawaii has going for it in the coming season is the promise of playing time, and someone like Allen could be a sponge for those minutes.

Here’s one write-up about him.

Here’s a little something on Allen when he first committed to UCLA out of high school.


  1. H-Man April 27, 2016 8:16 am

    These are good recruits, but where are the 6-10/6-11/7-0 guys?

  2. Hoosier April 27, 2016 10:43 am

    UH has offered a 6’10” Lithuanian JC player Norbertas Giga. Wonder if and when he will visit. So far looks like most recruits can shoot the three which u want in coach’s offense.

  3. Derek April 27, 2016 11:40 am

    You can’t shoot 55.5% from the foul line, that’s unacceptable

  4. HawaiiMongoose April 27, 2016 1:24 pm

    Tell that to Quincy Smith (46.9%). The important thing is that Lewis can play defense and knock down three-pointers. He led his 22-5 Odessa team in minutes and was credited by his coach as a player who “does all the little things”. He’s not a primary ball handler but I think he has the potential to step in and fill Quincy’s role fairly well.

  5. pakipark April 27, 2016 1:55 pm

    Main thing get enough players to be able to practice. Though, Asst. Coach Zane Johnson could probably jump in and still hit three point bombs.

  6. Lowtone123 April 27, 2016 2:17 pm

    Valdez, Thomas, Drammeh & Smith all had noticeable increases in their FT % in the second half of last season.

  7. Kaimiloa April 27, 2016 2:32 pm

    Hoosiers… apparently Gigas is headed to Florida State.

  8. Hoosier April 27, 2016 2:40 pm

    Giga committed to Florida State out of high school but never made it. Ended up going to couple of jc’s. Visited East Carolina this past week but don’t know what level of interest UH has

  9. mctruck April 27, 2016 2:54 pm

    Still can’t understand why UH didn’t have a back up list of players especially jc’s since that would have been the emergency situation incase they lost the four returning players who might have vacated because of the NCAA fiasco ruling?

  10. mctruck April 27, 2016 2:58 pm

    I think the players coming in need to be like the ever ready rabbit; non-stop energy/motion, just go-go-go.

  11. Hoosier April 27, 2016 3:00 pm

    UH offered Giga according to Verbal Commits. We will see what develops with him.

  12. Derek April 27, 2016 9:09 pm

    Per Ganot, he said he had a Plan A, Plan B, and a Plan C so I’m not worried. I just don’t what plan we’re in right now. But I will say that for 2018 Kamaka Hepa is a priority. He’s a good one and only getting better and stronger and he’ll probably grow a couple of inches too.

  13. oldtimer808 April 28, 2016 6:42 am

    hoosier is correct. Giga was going to go to Florida State after high school but grades did him in and had to go the jc route. I’m sure Ganot already had his plans in the event of the departure of our juniors. We can’t expect the kind of season the Warriors just had as this is a huge rebuilding year

  14. rabbit ears April 28, 2016 7:44 am

    Hope he is not like Tummala. Sai was really a bust in the Big West Tourney and the NCAA.

  15. al April 28, 2016 7:52 am

    …and don’t we have Jack Purchase?

  16. kahuna April 28, 2016 12:09 pm

    #15….I think Jack Purchase is still coming back…if I read it correctly.

    McInnis mentioned of the SIX coming back…. only 2 played meaningful minutes and 3 are walk-ons.

    Two playing meaningful minutes are Drammeh and Thomas. The three walkons are Stepteau, Buscher, and Cornelisson. That only make FIVE. The sixth got to be Jack Purchase. He neither played meaningful minutes nor is he a walkon so his name probably was not mentioned in the article.

  17. Brian McInnis April 28, 2016 7:45 pm

    Yep, Purchase is slated to play next season after sitting out his redshirt year here.

    The six returnees as of now are Purchase, Thomas, Drammeh, Stepteau, Buscher, and Cornelissen.

  18. cappie the dog April 28, 2016 9:48 pm

    I’m surprised that Coach Ganot was able to bring in JC guys. After all, they’ll only have only one year of post-season basketball…if the appeal goes awry.

    If North Carolina goes unscathed, that bodes well for Hawaii, you would think.

    Can a program actually get away with GROSS ACADEMIC FRAUD!!!

  19. poorboy April 29, 2016 1:11 am


    I was one that liked the recruits, actually the upgrade of recruits brought in by Brandyn, Gib and Benjy the Fotu’s, Standhardingers, Jankovic’s, Negus Webster Chan’s, the athletic guards in Bobbitt, Smith and Fleming, and Dynamic walkon athletic monster turned good baller, Aaron Valdes, Plus the hard nose effort, of Jovanovic and Thomas.

    I Know that with or with out postseason in play for next year, there would be movement , like it has always been for several years at every DI school for MBB. However , it really shocked me when, Jovanovic and Filopovic 2 scholarship players, who would have played a lot this year left. Dyrbe Enos, at least he had a scholarship this spring which was very good, so he could finish his degree with this last semester paid. Dyrbe our boy 808 represent. So, the last count, Seniors gone, Sai, Bobbitt, Smith, Dyrbe graduating and pau with UH BB, Niko transfer out and retire from BB, Jovanovic transfer to LMU, with a shot at possibly NCAA or NIT tournament, a POST Season to play for his Senior season. Aaron Valdes and Jankovic, both going pro. and of course earlier decision by Isaac Fleming to transfer after this spring to another school or whatever he choose to do. so that is 9 out of 14 roster guys including RS transfer Jack Purchase gone, with the top 7 core guys leading scorers and defensive guys / rebounders, heart and soul of the past 70 wins over 3 years gone. That is a lot. Wish Ganot the best, however he knew, and for astute basketball fans, WE all knew, it would be tough to assemble a team that will challenge for BWC title or NCAA/ NIT this year. Wish Ganot and staff will offer MORE Freshmen, even low 2 star athletes that can develop at every position. This is the Season to develop them. And of Course One deserving LOCAL HS athletes.. of course with loss of great Jamie Smith, brought in by Gib, and possibly loss of another assistant or two. the WHO team will be different. Another 2 years or more, or longer until Ganot , can show us he can recruit like Gib did. We know Eran did good job coaching such great ready, and focused FOR ONE YEAR deal team. the Fulfilled their dreams.. so we have that. and we thank coach and team for that magical 28 game one win into ncaa tournament.. maybe once In a long time. Go Bows ! And Ganot, get freshmen, or a couple of senior transfer bigs, wings, who just want to play in paradise in lower tier league, can be done !

  20. cappie the dog April 29, 2016 8:07 am

    I like the concept of freshmen, but the trick is, can you get them to stay the full four years?

    With the exception of Mike Thomas, I think Adhar Mayen was the last freshman to matriculate for the long haul.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, anybody. I’m relying on memory, not Google.

  21. Oahuan April 29, 2016 8:20 am

    Actually, Adhar Mayen came to UH as a sophomore. The last player I can remember who entered UH as a freshman and played all 4 years here was Hiram Thompson, who’s career was interrupted by a two year mission but nevertheless began and and was completed at UH. Just before that, of course, a 4 year UH player (plus one redshirt year) was Bobby Nash.

  22. BigFan April 29, 2016 9:45 am

    Giga going to Jacksonville State.

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