Extra Q&A on Tavita

While Hawaii’s game against Boise State tonight is obviously the main focus, many are curious about the team’s new addition, Jace Tavita, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound transfer guard from Utah.

Tavita will be a practice player for the rest of the season, and most of the fall portion of next season per NCAA rules.

He already looks to be the most physical of any guard on the UH roster.

Here was what UH coach Gib Arnold had to say at yesterday’s practice about the team’s new addition.


“Love him. He can guard it, he’s athletic. Obviously love the fact that he’s Hawaiian, he’s got family here … and he can play. He’s a Division I player who started a lot (19 of 30 games last season) at the University of Utah. I’ve known Jace since (eighth grade at a basketball camp). He’s going to end his career here. I told him he’s going to come back home, although he’s never lived here. He went home to finish his career.”

“He’s a great athlete, he’s tough as nails, and he’s going to bring that attitude to the floor every day, and he’s going to give our guards fits by getting into them and guarding them and doing those things. He’s going to make us better and he’s going to make that scout team better as well.
And we’ve improved our ability to do the haka as well over Christmas break, with adding him and Miah.”

Arnold wouldn’t say whether Tavita would be a scholarship player (the team has two available right now with the departure of guards Anthony Salter and Jordan Coleman).


Tavita was happy to do a little Q&A yesterday after his first UH practice:

Q: How did you come to be here?
A: I just wasn’t happy with my situation at Utah. I knew the great things Coach Arnold was doing over here, so I just wanted to be a part of that. That culture and stuff. Coming back here, where I got a lot of family, my Poly roots, I thought it’d be a good thing for me.
I was born in California and raised in Utah. My grandparents were born here, my mom was born here. So it’s cool to come back over here.
Both my grandparents are both full Hawaiian. Got some Hawaiian in my blood.

Q: On getting in five games at Utah this year:
A: Yeah, the style of play over there, I didn’t really fit it. More of an athlete, I like to get up and down and run. (Coach Boylen’s) plays kind of slowed tempo. It didn’t really fit me, and I wasn’t really happy over there. So I decided to make a change.

Q: What’s your history with Gib?
A: Yeah, I’ve known him since, like he said, eighth grade, so we have a good relationship. I’m comfortable playing for him and I like what he’s doing over here, so I want to be part of that.

Q: Were you with Utah when it came down for the Diamond Head Classic?
A: No, I had already gotten my release. I watched it. I was rooting for Hawaii and I’m happy they won.

Q: What were your thoughts on your first UH practice?
A: I thought it was good. We got up and down without killing the guys’ legs, because they have a game (today). Working on the things he talked about, rebounding and getting stops. Being tougher. So that was good, I like that.

Q: Will you be on scholarship?
A: We haven’t really talked about it, so I’m not worried about it as of right now. Just trying to get situated.


  1. UHDODGER January 8, 2011 10:31 pm

    Wow this sucks! Is the WAC that much better than all the teams UH played earlier? Starting off 0-4 in the WAC, what a nightmare! Brian how many years will Jace be able to play?

  2. bb January 8, 2011 11:39 pm

    Again, great work with the player interviews.

    I am just as frustrated with these past 2 home games. My question:

    Why is Joston Thomas in the doghouse? He played sparingly and perhaps he could have helped us out a little more. I know he has a little T/O issue but still.

  3. josh January 9, 2011 12:36 am

    Can’t believe how bad they are playing. Whatever Gib is telling the team at half time, he needs to stop. Seriously cringworthy second halves in these last two games.

  4. Rock January 9, 2011 1:02 am

    Brian, I thought I read somewhere that the NCAA doesn’t let coaches use scholarships from players that leave during the same year and give it to other players. As in Salter and Colman’s scholarship can’t be used till next season. I think it was for football, but wouldn’t this be for all sports?

  5. MV7 January 9, 2011 7:33 am

    What’s frustrating is the lack of on the ball and off the ball movement and the atrocious shooting.

  6. jeezy33 January 9, 2011 8:42 am

    While Josten plays out of control at times, he still is our only true athlete on the team and needs to be in there. If not, get Wiseman more minutes. Our team is way too slow and not athletic when we go with Hiram, Johnson, Barnes.

  7. MV7 January 9, 2011 9:25 am

    Thompson, Johnson and Barnes are our best shooters. When they aren’t making their shots or getting open, our team struggles. First half of the season teams would leave Barnes and Johnson wide open, but they are figuring out our offense as the season progresses.

  8. masteruke January 9, 2011 12:14 pm

    Barnes has no defense and since conference started his shooting has hit bottom. Miles has
    no offense and because of that opponents forget about him and double down the center.
    Three pointers are nice but this team needs to hit those 15 to 17 footers. The
    coach needs to find some offensive sets that work. Last night they struggled to get the ball

  9. josh January 9, 2011 12:19 pm

    Basically the last three matches, the coaching has been awful, step it up Gib, come on!!!

  10. Lanaiboy January 9, 2011 12:47 pm

    Basketball strategy is fairly simple. There is an inside game or power game and there is the outside game with three point shooting playing a big part. At the beginning of the year opponents concentrated on the inside game with Bill Amis a huge presence there. Now all teams defend the outside strongly, trying to force Johnson, Barnes, and Thompson to work for their shots or to hurry them. Hawaii’s outside game has collapsed. One way to counteract close guarding is to drive to the basket, but only Thompson seems to have the skill or the will to do this consistently. Joaquim has taken advantage of this with strong outings but, unfortunately, Amis is still rusty and has not been hitting his medium range shots. Hawaii has to take what’s given and they are not doing that, due to lack of one-on-one skills or athleticism to make defensive players respect one’s ability to drive past close guarding. Hawaii can improve if Amis returns to his earlier performance and force double teams or collapsing defenses freeing the outside. If not, it will be a long season. You can’t win with hasty three point shooting.

  11. Manoa Mist January 9, 2011 3:08 pm

    Thomas, Johnson, Jaoquim, Amis – those guys gotta play most of the minutes.
    The rest of the dudes are weak. I’d get Kurtz, Thompson, Blumfield, Wiseman and Miles to rotate in an out at that last position. Miles is young, but he’s got to get more aggresive and take the ball to the hoop. Hawaii gets no easy penetration baskets, no kickouts for easy jumpers. Those come as a result of good guard play which we’re not getting. I’d even try Thomas as the shooting guard.
    There is too much substitution. I think for a lot of rookie coaches, they overcoach the game. And yes, too many slow, one-dimensional players. Gib has shown he can recruit, the team is young but the verdict is still out on whether he can game strategy coach.

  12. bowsfan January 9, 2011 8:13 pm

    I thought Jackson/Johnson matched up well and Kamilah did well even in the lose. Could you have Q & A with some Wahine BB players too. I think it was great to have the double header and have the extra fan see the Wahine play, even if it was at the tail end of the game. The last time I saw so much fans watch the Wahine was the WNIT several years ago, hope this will increase the fan support.

  13. Jimbo January 9, 2011 9:02 pm

    Wasting another scholarship on this transfer, NO OFFENSE, can’t score,look at his stats.

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