During the Hawaii men’s basketball team’s visit of Waikiki Elementary as part of Gib Arnold‘s “Give Back Hawaii” campaign on Wednesday, Arnold indicated he’s altered his preseason plans somewhat.
While Saturday will still be UH’s first day of official practice for the 2014-15 season (the Rainbows put on their Green & White scrimmage that night at the Sheriff Center), Arnold said UH won’t have full-bore practices until Friday, Oct. 10, giving certain players time to rest and recover from ailments. That’s a week after the national start to full practices — this Friday. In the meantime, the team will continue to do workouts with its healthy players, Arnold said, including Saturday morning.
Most of the setbacks are in the frontcourt. Arnold said Isaac Fotu returned with a bulging disc in his back from the FIBA World Cup, Sammis Reyes “banged up” his pinkie toe at last weekend’s King of the Beach competition, and Stefan Jankovic has shin splints. Brandon Jawato is still recovering from offseason foot/ankle surgery.
“Of all the injuries, everyone but Jawato if we had a game tomorrow they’d all play,” Arnold said. “They’d all be cleared to play. This is more just being smart and understanding that they need to be strong in the season. We need to be 100 percent in the season, not as much right now.”
Fotu said: “It’s nothing really. I just tweaked my back a bit. This time off is mostly to get me back in school. … I think it was from the (Tall Blacks’) two-a-days. But it’s not too bad … (if there were a game) I’d be playing right now.”
UH, like any other team, gets 30 full practices over 42 days in the preseason. It could be difficult to get them all in at this rate, but you can bet Arnold and Co. will try.
“I just want to err on the side of caution and make sure these bumps and bruises are all taken care of,” he said. “I’d hate to see a guy get injured worse six weeks before the season starts. I’d definitely rather have them in the season.”
In the meantime, Wednesday’s visit to Waikiki Elementary was UH’s fourth school this offseason the hoops program’s new literacy push. Arnold said he’s also expanded its focus from just literacy to include anti-bullying and anti-domestic violence for future talks with kids.
“It’s been fun for me to walk by the classrooms and see some of the guys reading to the kids,” Arnold said. “Seeing how they talk about it in the ride home. They really enjoy it. Before they all started, these guys were just little squirts at one time too. First and second graders in elementary school — this brings back some good memories for everybody.”
For more on the visit to the school, check out the weekly Warrior World page in Thursday’s print edition.
Here’s some more shots of UH at Waikiki Elementary on Wednesday.