Another closed practice today left some guesswork as to the contents of the day’s work, but senior forward Bill Amis offered a clue as he ran out of the gym:
“I’ve got a quote for you. Coach Gib puts the fun in fundamentals.”
Look for a story on the progress of the team’s defense in the Wednesday edition of the Star-Advertiser.
Today’s Q&A transcript is of senior point guard Hiram Thompson. Reminder: just four more days until the Saturday exhibition vs. Chaminade.
Q: What’s it been like dealing with another new coaching staff at UH? (His third after Riley Wallace and Bob Nash)
A: Yeah I mean, it’s definitely new. A whole new staff, whole new players. But I’m kind of used to it. I had my freshman year, came in brand-new. Then when I came home from my mission, everything was brand-new again. So I mean, I’m used to change. I’ve been able to adapt and I feel like it’s been a smooth transition so far.
What was it like getting married this summer?
I had a really exciting summer, getting married and everything. It’s definitely different, I have a wife now. But I love the married life. Bridgette, she’s my best friend, so it’s good to have someone by you all the time. It’s exciting. I don’t know what else to say about it (laughs).
What did your teammates say about you being married?
It’s all pretty crazy to them. They’re just like, “I couldn’t imagine being married.” But I mean, they say some jokes here and there, but it’s nothing different.
On his summer as a whole:
It was definitely a busy summer, full of a lot of events. Right when school ended, I went home for about three weeks with my wife. She got to know my family good, then I went to know her family well. I came back here and worked out and did rehab for like a month or so, then went back for a month to home and Utah. So it was pretty busy, but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.
On recovering from his latest injuries:
This summer I was rehabbing my shoulder and everything, trying to get healthy for season, and then the first week of basketball here, I was hurting. I knew something was wrong, and that’s when I had my physical and found out I had a hernia. Definitely another thing, another trial that I had to get through, and got through. So just getting back into the swing of things now, feeling good.
With all the new players, how have you adapted to their unique playing styles?
Yeah, it’s pretty tough because you’re used to playing with guys, you understand their type of games. So now with all the new guys, I have to learn what kind of positive things they have and how they play. Everybody plays different. So you just have to learn on the fly. It’s kind of something you … it’s a long process, but it’s my last year so I gotta learn it quick. These guys will, as the year goes on, get better and better playing with each other. But I feel like I can adapt to people and play with anybody.
How challenging is that?
Definitely (challenging). Top to bottom, everybody’s different. I have to learn everybody’s type of game. Me and Bill (Amis), we played that year together and we really connected. I feel like that connection has been able to transition well now. But overall, everybody’s new.
How do you contrast the style of this team from last season?
This year it’s going to be a really up-tempo game. We’ve been working hard in the offseason, running and sprinting. So, everybody’s in great shape. We’re trying to score as fast as we can, and also we have a new type of offense, where there’s definitely structure, but it’s more free. … I mean I’m excited, that’s how I grew up playing. I’m excited about it.
How tough was it to pick up Coach Arnold’s sets and concepts?
I feel like I was able to pick things up pretty quick. The flex offense has its structure, but any offense is screens. So as you learn the plays, it’s second nature to me, learning. I feel pretty comfortable with it, still need to improve of course. I feel like I understand what coach wants and everything like that.
On the responsibilities of the point guard if the team is to play up-tempo:
Yeah definitely, the transition break starts with the point guard, getting the ball and getting up the court. So we have a big responsibility. But I feel every one of us is working hard and getting the hang of things. Coach likes playing with dual point guards and everything like that, so not only do we have to learn it by ourselves, but we have each other to help each other out and everything like that.
On fellow point guards Anthony Salter and Bobby Miles:
Both are great point guards. Quick and can control the ball and make good decisions and everything. I’m excited to play with them and get some help, and help them.
On his senior year:
For me personally, it’s my last season, I just want to go out knowing that I gave it my all. Not having any regrets. Especially want to be an example for a lot of young guys on the team, set the standard, the stage, so they can carry that on. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t really had a culture, an identity. Hopefully I can help establish one my last year so it could carry on for many years.
On being a leader again coming off his team captain year:
Just for me, I kind of try to go every day and do my best, and that’s how I kind of lead. And if people want me to step up and be their captain, (great), but no matter what I’m going to try to be a leader and set the stage as a hard worker, trying to do your best.