Saturday’s opening Hawaii basketball practice of the 2018-19 preseason was in the relative air-conditioned comfort of ‘Iolani School’s gymnasium.
Sunday, it was back to the sweaty confines of UH Gym I, a place that is slated for a full renovation once work on Gym II is completed. That’s expected to be available in mid-December.
By all accounts, the Rainbow Warriors went just as hard for about three hours Sunday’s as they did during Saturday’s closed session, which coach Eran Ganot took as an encouraging sign.
“I think we got a good run in today. We’re very fortunate to have a lot of gyms we can use at this time, even when we’re down a gym,” Ganot said. “We’ve been in here quite a bit for the fall. It’s a good workout, too. It gives you a good sweat, obviously. And guys are competing as you saw. We had two really good back-to-back days, which is nice to see. Obviously you have some moments where we have to break through, but those are what we need now so you can learn from it and grow.”
There’s still a ton of time before the Nov. 9 season opener vs. Portland, but the competition for spots already looked pretty heated. Junior guard Eddie Stansberry is in the thick of competition at guard while the junior college transfer continues to learn UH’s system.
“We’re learning a lot of new stuff, especially for the new guys,” Stansberry said. “But I think we’re taking it well. We’re taking it one day at a time. All the work we’re putting in is showing good results, I would say for the most part.
“The coaches are pushing, encouraging me to get it right. I’m making mistakes here and there but they’re correcting it and I’m making sure I’m trying to get it right the next time.”
Senior forward Jack Purchase, who’s been in UH’s system for three full years prior to this, is among the players who are now setting the tone at practices with the exit of Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson from last year. Purchase, Sheriff Drammeh and Brocke Stepteau are the seniors.
“Everyone’s getting into it, it’s a little bit chirpy out there, which is always good,” Purchase said. “It’s competitive. It makes practice more fun when people are going at it a little bit.”
The Rainbows were to take in the L.A. Clippers’ preseason exhibition against the Sydney Kings later that afternoon. Purchase has spent time with his uncle, Kings coach Andrew Gaze, and members of the Australian team this week.
“It’s always good to hear an Aussie accent in Hawaii,” Purchase said. “We’re going as a team (to the game). We played the Kings, we played some of those boys in Australia. We’ll watch them go up against the Clippers. I think they have a chance, but you never know.”