Hawaii men’s basketball: No timetable on Eran Ganot’s return

Hawaii acting head coach Chris Gerlufsen talked strategy with point guard Drew Buggs against South Dakota on Sunday. / Photo by Bruce Asato, Star-Advertiser

The first Hawaii men’s basketball press conference since the season-opening Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic did not provide much in the way of new information about head coach Eran Ganot’s condition or a timetable of a return to the sidelines.

Acting head coach Chris Gerlufsen, who has proven adept at media obligations over the last week, did not have a update when asked about a possible Ganot return from his medical leave.

“No, we’re trying to take it day by day,” Gerlufsen said. “I think that’s the only way you can really operate when something like this happens out of the blue. No one was expecting it. If you get caught looking ahead or thinking about what next week’s going to hold, bad things happen. So we’re just operating on a day-to-day basis, and continue to do that until Coach is back.”

However, he said he has been in frequent contact with Ganot, who hired him in early September.

“We speak just about every day, whether it’s text message or a quick call,” Gerlufsen said. “And it’s more, not basketball related, just to check on his well-being and make sure his recovery is going good. Just to show support and love for him. And I think the rest of the staff has done the same thing. Whatever we can do to help the process, is what we’re going to do.”

Gerlufsen carries a 2-1 record as the 22nd head coach in program history. He needs to coach three more games to avoid the distinction of having the shortest head-coaching tenure among that list; Rick Pitino coached six in 1975-76.

Over the course of the Classic (a 65-52 win over Florida A&M Friday, an 81-75 loss to South Dakota Sunday and a 72-67 win over Pacific Monday), players occasionally remarked about the former San Diego assistant’s ability to hype up the team in huddles or the locker room.

Here’s what junior wing Samuta Avea had to say Wednesday about the (ostensibly) temporary coaching change, which was made two days before the season opener last Friday.

“It was sad news, of course,” Avea said. “But we all love Coach G and he’s been great at continuing the culture that Coach (Ganot) has put in and established. But it’s been fun. (Gerlufsen) is always energized before the games and he knows how to get us revved up. It’s been a lot of fun playing for him, for sure.”

UH continues play at home Friday against Portland State (1-1) before heading out for Illinois.