Burgeoning respect

Tuesday’s docket in the College Summer League offered hoops watchers a chance for the two most productive Hawaii players in the competition, Isaac Fleming and Michael Thomas, to go head to head.

Fleming and the more veteran Clark Hatch Fitness team got the better of this contest, and it wasn’t close, 136-93 over National Fire Protection.

Isaac Fleming
Isaac Fleming

Fleming’s 31-point total wasn’t his personal best in the league, but between that and some consistently good passing for easy buckets, it was probably his best all-around effort.

“It was me just telling myself, play my game,” said Fleming, a 6-3 combo guard and incoming freshman. “I came out here for a reason … I came out here to play my game. So I just let all the thinking go and just let myself play my game and wasn’t thinking about anything.”

He and summer vets Kaunaoa McGee and Leon Ballard combined for 94 points alone.

The sophomore Thomas, meanwhile, was on his way to another solid game before a hard fall and some back pain forced him out in the second half. He finished with 16 — his highlights included some silky midrange shots and an emphatic dunk off a standing jump.

Thomas said he’d be OK afterward. On the court, he looked bothered by contact to his sensitive skin where we was burned a couple of times, and he had his hand wrapped at one point, but brushed that off as any influence on his play.

Mike Thomas
Mike Thomas

“I’m all right. It’s just a little sore,” he said.

Both UH players gave the other high marks after the game, though they didn’t directly cross paths during play very often. One such play came on Thomas’ attempted block of a Fleming layup early on; Thomas was whistled for a foul.

“He was impressive. He was shooting real well, attacking and being aggressive,” Thomas said, adding with a laugh, “I’d like to see him go right a little more. Nah, he played well. Really well.”

Fleming has been impressed by the 6-8 Thomas’ progress since seeing him last year on a visit to UH and playing with him in an open gym setting.

“From last year to this year, he’s a hell of a player and he deserves a lot of (looks) this year,” Fleming said. “I have so much respect for his game now. You seen him between last summer and now, he’s developed a whole lot. I love his game.”

As for other UH players in action on Tuesday, freshman point guard Brocke Stepteau had a brief appearance in Grantco Pacific’s destruction at the hands of Wealth Strategy Partners, 118-91. He scored six points. That has to be frustrating for him, as Grantco lost its fourth straight. Volume scorers Christian Standhardinger and Geremy Robinson were totally unable to combat Wealth’s better ball movement. Amazingly, it was a 30-point game by halftime.


In case you missed it, I reported on Tuesday a twofold scheduling update to go with a story on the NCAA’s ongoing lack of resolution to its investigation of UH.

First, UH’s season opener on Nov. 14 in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic has been swapped from Cal State Bakersfield to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The ‘Bows will play Bakersfield — now of the reconstructed WAC — on the second day, which was the previous slot for the UAPB game. The High Point midnight game is unaffected.

And the most likely replacement for the Florida Gulf Coast game that never was finalized is Southeastern Louisiana of the Southland Conference. UH has penciled in a “TBA” slot on Jan. 2 on its schedule, so you can expect the game to appear at that date, one day earlier than the supposed FGCU game.


  1. poorboy July 30, 2014 6:57 am


    Thanks for good write-ups. Isaac Fleming and Mike Thomas are proving to be two of the better and more entertaining hoops stars in this summer’s college league! Hope that Mike is okay. Man, getting those burns on his body, tough to heal, and his back, hope it is not serious injury. UH MBB, looks like going to really be able to use both of them, definite 3+ star athletes!

  2. poorboy July 30, 2014 12:43 pm

    Mike and Isaac Fleming proving to be as advertised. really impressive , even if summer league, very athletic, can score, rebound, dish, BBIQ, and blockshot/steals, all around game for both of them. It will be a WAR in practices when the returnees come back. Still, need Sammis, we pulling for you bro, get into to UH, maybe Que lock up an extra PF.. or super athletic SF,,… UH will go far , and finally into NIT< NCAA postseason!

  3. poorboy July 30, 2014 6:50 pm


    Man ncaa could take long time…if major..criminal..horrible..i think gib would have resigned in may work out buyout..
    seems like extra food, personal workout, practice time .,, maybe over time..contact…out of window ..I am guessing so much speculation..

    until then uh mbb will compete for bwc title and ncaa or nit tourneys..believe sammis get in soon..

    hope the best..gib has good counsel..entire staff..

  4. poorboy July 31, 2014 3:08 pm


    Hard to believe, however we are rolling into August 2014. Start of workouts for FB team, and WVB, and the MBB and WBB team coming back , and workouts.

    Wish the best for all athletic teams this year.

    Still curious if Gib, Que and Benjy have any visits by possible signees, sometimes they come in on redeye, or maybe the staff still on road recruiting..
    One more athlete, for that backup role, help front court, would help a lot for this year, not next..
    should be interesting and exciting finish to Summer for UH MBB hoops.

  5. poorboy July 31, 2014 3:49 pm

    Isaac Fleming: Work on going right, go right, then counter and go left, will make you a better offensive player, and very hard to guard. Same with Isaac Fotu, he can go left or right, matchup problems. Like a Tom Henderson, shot with either hand, could switch hands in mid flight to rim and layin, and one, … could not dunk at that time, however in pickup and practices, he could.
    Tom Henderson, Star NYC DeWitt Clinton High all star, JC All American San Jacinto JC, and USA 1972 Munich Olympian, plus world NBA champ with the Baltimore Bullets. What a talent.
    Maybe, …yet Tom so humble, says, that nowadays kids, have ton of talent, however need the focus and discipline, have to work hard.. he coach youth in Houston… so much talent from young age these BB youth today. However back in Henderson’s days, the playgrounds, he even saw Julius Erving, back on Long Island I guess, or the PARK.. tremendous story and athlete, Brian, probably waaaaay back in the day, UH MBB 1972-76, Sporting News first team All American as a Senior. and first round draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1974.

  6. poorboy July 31, 2014 3:52 pm

    Sorry, Brian and fans:

    Tom Henderson played two years UH. From 1972-74. IN 1974 March led UH MBB team to quarterfinals of NIT against Purdue, after beating opening round foe, Fairfield with the nation’s leader in assists, a guy that was averaging about 12 dimes or so, amazing. Madison Square, THE GARDEN! Also, great FT shooter, in mid eighties, so strong going to hoop, so many AND ONES…

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