Gameday: Norfolk State // Spearman wins PoW

The Hawaii men’s basketball team got some recognition to kick off its gameday preparation for Norfolk State on Monday.

Brandon Spearman
Brandon Spearman

Senior guard Brandon Spearman was named the Big West Conference player of the week for his efforts in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. UH won the last two games of the tournament over Saint Mary’s and Oregon State to take the event’s consolation championship (fifth place) for the third time in four years.

It was the captain’s first career weekly honor.

Spearman averaged 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in three DHC games and was really the face of the tournament for UH. He took all-tournament team honors and posted his first career double-double, 14 points and 10 rebounds, against OSU.

He shot 53.6 percent from the field in the tourney and 54.5 percent on 3-pointers, something he’s really shown improvement on after getting up plenty of shots this summer.

It was the second Big West PoW honor for a UH player this season; Christian Standhardinger won it on the first week of nonconference play.


So it’s now on to Norfolk State for the ‘Bows. This is an opponent that needs to be respected, despite coming from arguably the worst conference in Division I basketball, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC, or mee-ack). Norfolk State has been the class of that league the last two years, reaching the NCAA (and stunning 2-seeded Missouri as the 15 seed) then following up with an NIT appearance in 2012-13.

Seven of NSU’s top eight players are seniors.

Watch how UH responds to the considerable backcourt size of the Spartans (6-5 and 6-6). The last time UH faced such a lineup was (ironically) against Missouri, though you can figure on a talent gap from the Tigers to the Spartans.

NSU also has a rim protector in Brandon Goode, so the going could be tough for Standhardinger and Isaac Fotu inside if they can’t get Goode in foul trouble.

UH has a real chance to get to conference play as an 11-win team, but they have to play to their potential this week for that to transpire.


Freshman wing Aaron Valdes played through some pain in the DHC, in the form of a medial tear in his right (shooting) elbow.

Aaron Valdes
Aaron Valdes

Barring anything flaring up, he should be OK to keep playing with the injury which occurred early off the bench against Boise State. He was big against Saint Mary’s, though, supplying 10 first-half points.

“It was hard at first, but I really wanted to play those two games (SMC and OSU) ’cause I know (vs.) Boise State I could have helped the team, at least a little bit,” Valdes said. “But we played good those last two games so it helped. It did hurt. It was sore a little bit, but you gotta play through the pain.”

Valdes was asked if the pain or wrapping affects his shot.

“I like to think it kind of helps me a little bit; if I’m shooting it right then it should hurt. My shot’s been falling a little bit more.

“Throwing long, I can’t do that right now,” he added. “So I won’t be playing water polo for a while. … Not too bad yet (when I dunk), but I haven’t done anything crazy yet. I guess we’ll test it in the games if I have a breakaway or something.”

For what it’s worth, he had a great putback dunk in practice on Saturday.




  1. warriorrebel December 30, 2013 7:27 pm

    Valdes needs to save himself for Big West play. From what I’ve seen so far if Fotu and Standhardinger get into foul trouble, Hawaii doesn’t have suitable big men off the bench. I’d like to see Valdes get healthy for conf. play and use Jawato as a SF. He played well last yr, and don’t know if he’s in Gibbs doghouse, but I’d like to see him get more p.t. Jawato would be a valuable asset for conf. play.

  2. poorboy December 30, 2013 10:57 pm


    On post game radio show, Gib said that Jawato has been really good in practice, Gib was going to find him minutes in tonite’s game against Norfolk. Jawato, provided more size, I swear the guy is around 6’5″ tall not 6’4″ and muscular. He hit a big 3 pt shot to help UH, catch up to Norfolk in first half. Gib also, said, he will find more minutes for Jawato against Omaha on Friday. If Brandon can play 8 minutes, or so and score a couple of threes, get rebounds, and help with his length and size, will help UH battle for BWC regular and Tournament championships. Brandon, will get a shot. A lot of fans are pulling for him. Gib will give him some minutes, and he can work his way up rotation. Jawato, when he is on, look out., he can score the 3 ball!!

  3. oldtimer808 December 30, 2013 11:49 pm

    Jawato will help a lot but he has been hampered with an ankle injury but it does sound like he is healing and will contribute as the season goes into conference play. I love the intensity of this team. I think we have the right pieces now to have a really good season. Better guards and no Vander holding on to the ball and whining to the refs.

  4. K-Bay January 3, 2014 12:44 am

    NOW Finish Off Non-Conference Pre-Season with a Win to 11-3…

    Then Attempt to Roar into The Big West…

    Make It Our Own…
    After All, No One’s More West Than Us…

    Go ‘Bows!…

    Let’s Heal Up Fotu, Valdés and Jawato for The BW Conference Golden State RUN!

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