Any takers out there?
About two months ago, I wrote about how this spring is a critical juncture for the direction of the Hawaii men’s basketball program as it pertains to recruiting.
Would the Rainbow Warriors receive a talent infusion commensurate with their peers in the Big West — the Irvines, Long Beaches, and Santa Barbaras — to break a spell of so-so regular-season performances and one-and-done outings in the conference tournament the last three years?
Well, in the weeks since, the news (or lack thereof) has not been especially promising, aside from an encouraging APR progress update from the 2017-18 academic year.
The spring signing period came to a close Thursday with UH netting just one scholarship player, junior college wing Junior Madut, and one invited walk-on, St. Francis guard Kameron Ng, to go with the signee from two years ago, Jessiya Villa, who returns from a church mission.
UH still has three scholarships to assign for the 2019-20 season. It’s disconcerting to see them burning a hole in a pocket of a stable program at this point of the year (even considering two were opened by early departures in Leland Green and Brandon Thomas). Star-Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis touched on the subject this week.
Now, it’s not impossible to bring in difference-makers from this point of the offseason until the fall through non-binding financial aid/scholarship agreements. Bill Amis, a very late offseason pickup for Bob Nash, is a notable example from a dozen years ago. More recently, Sheriff Drammeh was picked up just before the 2015 fall semester by Eran Ganot.
But lately, there’s been an apparent inability for UH to close the deal with players it has been reportedly interested in.
Two players who were affiliated with Hawaii during their recruiting process this spring, Northwestern graduate transfer forward Aaron Falzon and Greek guard Dimitrios Klonaras, are off the board. Falzon declared for Quinnipiac early this month and Klonaras just committed for Cal after receiving a late offer from the Golden Bears.
Excited to be part of the University of California Berkeley. Looking forward to learning from @coachmarkfox and being part of a new era of @CalMBBall.
Cal is my family now. #GoBears 🐻 pic.twitter.com/0KoSmr7KEX
— Dimitrios Klonaras (@dklon6) May 19, 2019
Recently, word is UH is interested in Ranger College (Texas) guard Brayan Au, a native of Mexico who has three years of eligibility should he play Division I next season. He reportedly has an offer from Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
Having one spot open for flexibility, like accommodating a late-blooming diamond in the rough, is wise. Having three open spots heading into the summer … well, it’s not a good sign.