Frontcourt feasibility

Benjy Taylor came off like a new man on Friday.

Yes, his confirmation as acting head coach for the entire 2014-15 season was a rare bit of good news for he and the players (who’d mostly pushed for him) nearing the end of a week that has been challenging to say the least.

That was two days after he gloomily described the program as “a rudderless ship.”

But now there’s one serious issue to confront: the frontcourt.

Isaac Fotu is, at the very least, going to sit some games. And as I mentioned in Saturday’s print edition, sources say he’s considering going pro instead of waiting to find out exactly how hard the NCAA is going to come down.

Sammis Reyes requested his release from the program on Friday, and by all indications he will get it.

Stefan Jankovic was back at practice, which was encouraging because he wasn’t around right after Gib Arnold‘s firing. But he’s slated to miss the first 10 games of the season.

UH’s frontcourt wasn’t deep to begin with. So to open the season, here’s who UH has to play up front.
>> 6-11 Stefan Jovanovic
>> 6-8 Mike Thomas
>> 6-5 Aaron Valdes
>> 6-7 Negus Webster-Chan

Webster-Chan isn’t a post player but he spent some time there this preseason when there were multiple injuries. Valdes can play above his height, to an extent, with his spectacular leaping ability.

But this means there’s virtually no margin for foul trouble or injuries, at least while Jankovic has to sit out.

So what can we expect? Plenty of smallball, for starters. Thomas has played well this preseason, and now is his chance to shine. Webster-Chan will have to be the guy plenty of fans hope he is, even likely playing out of his natural small forward position a good deal.

It looks to be a challenge, that’s for sure.


  1. islandman November 1, 2014 1:59 pm

    I was reading on the number of games to sit out based on a football player’s case. They do take into account mitigating circumstances, if any.

  2. islandman November 1, 2014 2:14 pm

    He may be gone soon, per someone’s post .

  3. poorboy November 1, 2014 2:21 pm


    True about lack of size in frontcourt. However, even though smaller, The Fabulous Five had a 6’2″ center on offense in John Pennebacker, and Bob Nash 6’8′ , Al Davis about 6’6″, Jerome Freeman, about 5’9″, and Dwight Holiday 6’4″, however they were quick , good passers, could rebound well for their size and got a lot of steals. I think same thing with UH now. That was Benjy Taylor’s thing, in his stop at Chicago St. Small ball, not much size, and they had that 19 game winning season, and leaders in steals and scoring. Remember the Tark led teams, the UNLV runnin Rebels? Not much height, guys between 6 feet and 6 ‘7″, same thing quick. amoeba zone, press.. they were smaller, just quicker , lot of steals..rebound well for their size, and Tark;s team finally won the National Championship with Larry grandmamma Johnson, a 6’7″ 245 center, and no real height once again. I think, if they play small ball, for the big west, it will suit them fine, collapse, on Mamadou, and just box out, etc, I think you are right, if this team, and I think the 14 or so remaining are very smart BB IQ wise, as Negus said in your article, They Will make it work, even without Fotu or Reyes.. This could be, probably will be a successful fast, high scoring team, rebound by committee, and great team defense.. like the Fab Five, or even the Tom Henderson teams, who did not have a lot of backup size.. I kind of got the juices going again, being that Benjy is the HC for this year. the guys work with him, and for Team, they can have success. Hope that Fotu gets the reinstatement.. if he goes pro, well best wishes to Isaac, he was a special player and good person.

  4. HawaiiMongoose November 1, 2014 3:00 pm

    Fotu can make a huge difference by staying in school, sticking with his teammates, facing up to adversity and being a leader. I hope he does the right thing.

  5. Fotuneedstostay November 1, 2014 6:22 pm

    Fotu won’t see the nba if he leaves. Next Carl English possibly, if he’s lucky. (English is a star in the Spanish league if you didn’t know.) he needs more experience from college bball, especially after his recent world play. To be taken seriously he needs build off that success. If he truly is a great kid and didn’t do anything wrong, which I believe. He has nothing to worry about and should stay. Leave after the season. If he does leave though, it probably means something’s up and we should be worried.

  6. Keepitreal November 1, 2014 7:21 pm

    I hope players that remain continue to work hard and hang in there. I also hope that many of those posting pages of unbelievable comments step away from the key board and take a nap or a pill or something that will help them get a grip. Other sites peppered with homophobic slurs like “Ben gay”. But no call out by regulars who are quick to call out any anti Gib language and then press for banning individuals. And enough about “true” fans and “trolls” and what a long time fan you have been. Here’s a secret for you….it is not about YOU. you do not need to monopolize boards. Wait, I take that back. Maybe you DO need to monopolize the boards because that is the size of your universe. Sad in a way. I know it won’t happen but many need to take a long look in the mirror before rambling on any further

  7. poorboy November 1, 2014 7:37 pm

    is it true or just rumor Fotu decided to go back home play pro ball
    that is rumor on social media
    so much speculation
    too much distractions..shoots!

    Thanks Brian.

  8. poorboy November 1, 2014 10:47 pm

    You ever hear of freedom of speech? Right to express..I don’t give bad names to Gib or swear on these have a brain? We all have one, a belief or opinion, pono..gibno, jake?
    Brian and others allow civil not vulgar different point of views. This is a great country with civil liberties.
    You are free to post as much as you want..if you don’t like my or other’s expressions or opinion , then just ignore them. What universe you come from bizarro world..just kidding..lightrn is only sports however if unjustified or qualified decisions made..look battleground..just be civil..respect other’s opinion..and go read a book..I will…aloha friend pono..jake..gibno..

  9. tom November 2, 2014 8:50 am

    #8 I do get concerned when opinions ignore facts.

  10. Derek November 2, 2014 10:32 am

    No Fotu, season is pau. No front court scoring and rebounding spells doom. Unless the perimeter shoots at least 50% or more, we’ll probably end up around 6-23 or something like that. It’s sickening.

  11. poorboy November 2, 2014 10:59 am

    tom: sure, however, have you not questioned facts before? had your okole on the line with facts put on your desk? Would you not want answer/s, Unless you are Board of Regent, or Powers that be, or Legal counsel, Do YOU know All the facts about allegation letter, and handling or mishandling of matter?
    It still is freedom of expression, I follow guidelines of this and every forum, a lot of times, JMO.. everyone has one, and I respect yours, and others.. I am not saying I KNOW IT ALL, I don’t to I give an opinion.. My Opinion based on FACTS.. how things done in Hawaii over the past 55 years.. it is a lot of times, really backwards… in regards to UH AD and admin, how they handled we shall see.
    There was situation this past summer, one person, got into heated debate, over what, Opinion.. let it go.. If don’t like others opinon well that is Your right to opinion and I respect that. Even media, SA, radio and TV, they wonder, their opinion, what is going on, and what will letter of allegation say, is this over with Gib trying to clear name.. I don’t think so.. and that is a fact..

  12. Keepitreal November 3, 2014 11:55 am

    Whew, Poorboy. Hard time following you today. That’s okay though. Long as you throw in a “just kidding” I guess that takes you off the hook for everything said before the qualifier. But you are right. Entitled to your opinion. I am also entitled to mine and strongly object when you and others tell me or anyone that, because our opinion differs that we are not “True Fans”. Just a game played by kids so relax with the legal talk, etc, etc. life goes on. Games will be played and I will enjoy them. Just keepin it real. Look forward to your next response. Then I can take your suggestion to read a book. Most of your resonses are like reading “War and Peace”. To paraphrase…..”just kidding”

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