Hawaii coach Gib Arnold appeared on KKEA 1420-AM’s “Call the Coach Show” on Tuesday night at Rumours Nightclub at the Ala Moana Hotel.
The team’s radio play-by-play voice, Bobby Curran, did most of the questioning himself, although a few fans called in. Most of the subject matter dealt with thoughts on specific players and opponents, as well as Arnold’s overview on positions and strengths.
Here’s an overview of the Q&A. These aren’t the complete responses by Arnold, but the highlights.
On the UH point guards:
The cupboard is no longer bare, I can tell you that. And we won’t be waiting on football getting over to grab a guy after football, like Miah (Ostrowski). Although he was great.
On which will be the starter:
I’ve got four … I haven’t made a decision yet on that. I’m watching very closely.
On G Roderick Bobbitt:
He had two triple doubles in his career in junior college … he’s hit as many as nine 3s in game.
On G Niko Filipovich:
He’s moving up the depth chart quickly. … He’s a little bit younger than the other guys.
On G Isaac Fleming:
It’s tough. I think Isaac in time will be able to run the point. I think it will be tough for him to beat out the other three as a freshman. Not for skill … just knowledge of the game.
Turning that ball over is such a gut wrenching thing for me. He’s a little loose with the ball, those no look, sexy passes. … But gosh he’s talented. He’s going to be in the rotation this year as a freshman for sure.
On F Aaron Valdes and F Mike Thomas:
Both those players have shown that freshman/sophomore growth. … They’re a little bit stronger, a little bit tougher.
I couldn’t ask for two better people. They’re both great kids. They want to win, and they want to win the right way.
On if this is the most athletic team he’s had:
Definitely … not even close.
On UH resembling a typical Big West team:
We’re a little bit more athletic. We were built for the WAC when we first got here.
On the schedule:
I hope we can win every home game. That’s always been a goal of ours, to defend your home court.
On the Pittsburgh game on Maui:
Jamie Dixon and I are good friends. … We’re going to go over to Maui and play him, and we’re working on a home-and-home with them.
On his overall team outlook:
I think the fans are just going to absolutely love this team. I can’t tell you how excited I am. … It’s going to be a fun, exciting young group. … We’ve got a lot of guys who can score it, a lot of guys who can shoot it.
On the kind of offense that can be expected:
Offensively, we were pretty efficient last year. … We’ll stick with what got us there. We’re going to run, we’re going to push it. … The one thing you’ll see a little bit different, is my bigs are able to step out and shoot 3s.
We’re still going to go inside … but you’ll see more pick and pop action like in the NBA. I will be shocked if we don’t shoot — and I hope we will make — more 3s.
On defensive progress:
On the defensive side, we’ll have to figure it out. But offensively, we’ll be pretty good.
On two PGs on the court at once:
I think we can at times do that. I do like to have a guy who’s the leader on the floor. … You gotta be really mentally tough to do that. I think I do have a couple guys, two or three guys, who are tough like that, who can play that position. But until the lights are on, until its a stressful situation, you really don’t know.
On his most secure ballhandler and other PG attributes:
I think Roderick Bobbitt is because of his size. He’s got a big frame.
Quincy (Smith)’s probably the quickest with he ball. He’s my best as far as getting by people.
Niki Filipovich is probably my best on-ball defender. So they each bring something to the table.
On joining the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament:
We had a game with Washington State, a series actually, home and home … we went through a promoter (Idol Sports). Same promoter that did the BYU (in Salt Lake City) game. … Same promoter as Gonzaga a few years ago, and Missouri (last year). So we’ve used this guy before.
Unfortunately, we had signed all the contracts, and he passed away and left us hanging. … And so we needed games.
>> Arnold said the new coach at WSU (Ernie Kent) didn’t want to honor the home-and-home arrangement with Hawaii in future seasons
On the strength of the Gulf Coast field:
Six 20-win teams … very strong mid-major tournament.
On opening vs. Nebraska in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic:
Top 25 team, a team that went to the NCAA tournament. … Very good team, very talented, very athletic, very deep.
On UH’s difficult opening opponents in the DHC the last several seasons:
If you guys are listening, one time give me some love. We’e played some pretty hard first-round teams in the last few years. But it is what it is, I’m not knocking it. … Great tournament.
On UH’s injury woes:
More than a couple. We had six out today. It’s just interesting. We’ve had to deal with it. It’s something we’re OK with, but you sure like to see a full squad out there.
Negus Webster-Chan, he has a cracked rib. Isaac Fotu has a bulging disc in his back. And see we’ve planned to keep (Fotu) out a month, and that comes up on the 20th. … If he had a game today, he’d play.
On F Sammis Reyes being out:
It’d be good to see him. He was phenomenal in the preseason workouts and individual conditioning. … Got a broken pinkie toe. Another guy if we played tomorrow, he could play. But we’ll keep him out so he can fully heal.
On who his scholarship players are:
I’ve got 13 (on scholarship) … I’ve got three walk-ons. I don’t differentiate between walk ons and scholarship players. … I try not to differentiate between how I treat them.
On Negus Webster-Chan contending at small forward:
He’s right up there in the mix. It’s going to come down to him and Aaron Valdes, and Mike Thomas who’s been at the 4 but can play at the 3.
On G Dyrbe Enos:
He’s still that great shooter, loves that deep corner. He spreads the offense there. Had a real good practice today. He’s actually improved his ball handling skills and can play a little point guard. Great kid … I’d love to see him get in there and give us more minutes.
On recruiting G Brocke Stepteau:
I really really liked his spirit. Played really hard. He could shoot it. … He’s a nice little competitor. A late pickup for us but a guy I really like.
On ex-‘Iolani G Zach Buscher:
I first saw Zach play a couple years ago at Iolani. I really liked him. … I thought he was the best player in the state last year. I always think the best player in the state should come play at the University of Hawaii.
On how UH’s guards stack up in the Big West:
I think we’re going to stack up just fine. I like what Garrett Nevels brings. I think you’re going to be really impressed with Roderick Bobbitt and Isaac Fleming. … I think we’re going to match up just fine.
On reigning BWC Player of the Year Alan Williams of UC Santa Barbara:
I think he earned it. But I do think Isaac Fotu is the best player in the league … but that’s not taking anything away from Al Williams. Al Williams is a phenomenal basketball player.
He will continue to draw the attention of all of us in the league. He’s that good a player. … No matter what you do, he seems to get his 20 points and 10, 11 rebounds.
He’s got a chance to play at the next level. He’s undersized, probably closer to 6-7, but he’s got the arm reach of a 7-footer.
On Cal Poly:
It’s a beautiful campus and beautiful part of the world. I wouldn’t say that about the (Mott) Gym though. … It’s got some years to it. … But it’s a tough place to play. They have a pretty raucous crowd, and biggest band in the conference. It gets pretty loud in there.
On Long Beach State guard Mike Caffey:
I think he’s an eighth-year senior. He drives us nuts. He’s beaten us on shots a couple of times. That was a tough one at their place.
They have four starters back, and they had a nice recruiting class. Some young kids out of Southern California, a lot of winners.
On who he normally finds himself competing against in recruiting battles:
We find ourselves predominantly against the lower level Pac-12s, Washington State and Oregon State.
On the game of basketball going away from midrange jumpers:
I think you can directly relate that to the 3-point line. … It’s become a part of the game. That 3-point shot is a deadly shot. They say one of the worst shots in basketball now is a deep, contested 2.
>> Arnold said he was flying out for a recruiting trip Tuesday night, to visit a player he’s been recruiting for three years.
Can’t get enough basketball on the radio? The season premiere of the “Hoops Talk” show with Jeff Portnoy and Jackson Wheeler is Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on 1420 AM.
The team had Wednesday off and will resume practice on Thursday. We’re coming up on the midpoint of preseason practices in the coming week. The Big West preseason poll comes out on Oct. 23.