Hawaii will try to fend off its Division II neighbor at less than full strength.
Sophomore swingman Negus Webster-Chan will not play against Chaminade, despite looking game ready and voicing confidence in his ability to play on his sprained right ankle at Thursday’s practice. Coach Benjy Taylor is apparently taking the cautious route.
That means others, namely Garrett Nevels and Aaron Valdes, will have to pick up the production while Roderick Bobbitt must wreak havoc in the open court.
Webster-Chan is the team’s co-leader in 3s made with 16.
UH is dressing only 10 players for the Battle at the Blaisdell. Forward Stefan Jankovic is not yet cleared to play — UH is targeting the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic opener vs. Nebraska for his debut.
Taylor himself is operating at less than full strength. He was sick at Thursday’s practice — he kept his distance from the players — and he hadn’t appeared out on the court Friday as of 30 minutes before tipoff.
Even without the 6-7 Webster-Chan, the Rainbow Warriors should have a rare size advantage tonight. Chaminade will be without 6-foot-10 forward Frankie Eteuati, its tallest player, for undisclosed injury reasons.
It will be on Mike Thomas and Stefan Jovanovic to capitalize and, like always, avoid foul trouble to the best of their abilities.
Chaminade will likely look to jack up a lot of 3s to keep pace. They’ve got several players — Lee Bailey, Kiran Shastri and Kevin Hu among them — who can get hot in a hurry, so UH will have to be on its game defensively.
I’ve heard a crowd of roughly 3,000 is expected, which should be about enough to fill the Blaisdell lower bowl. Here’s hoping for a good game atmosphere.