Hawaii coach Gib Arnold threw a major curveball to his players in a shortened practice today, the team’s last before UH’s exhibition against Chaminade tomorrow night.
He had them run the “Man Drill,” a test of heart where two teams of five work to deny each other the ball in the halfcourt. Players can’t dribble, and there are no whistles as guys cut around the court and try to free themselves to catch a pass against their opponent at the same position.
After 60 seconds, the ball changes hands. Whichever of the two players at each position to catch more passes after a minute is declared the winner.
Arnold wouldn’t say who won at each position, but let’s just say there was a lot on the line. Check out Saturday’s paper for the reason for the drill.
Don’t forget about the Chaminade game. 7 p.m. tip-off at the Stan Sheriff Center. See you there.
UH fell short in its recruiting efforts on athletic Canadian forward Braeden Anderson, who was a primary target along with Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) forward Damiene Cain leading up the start of the early signing period on Nov. 10.
Anderson was widely reported to have committed with DePaul today.
The Rainbows still have verbal commits from Morningside High (Calif.) point guard Gerry Blakes and Serra High (Calif.) power forward Ronnie Stevens. One scholarship is currently free for the 2011-12 season.
Here’s the final Q&A session before the exhibition — associate head coach Walter Roese. I might be able to put together one from assistants Brandyn Akana and Benjy Taylor as well sometime before the Montana State game. Stay tuned.
Q: What was your summer like?
A: It’s been a very busy summer, but it’s been good. Busy means good for us, in coaching. It means we are active, we do our love. What we like to do. I was coaching this summer, I was able to go to the South American games in Columbia, tournament in Germany, came back, did some recruiting, went back. Went to San Antonio to qualify (Brazil) for the World Cup next year. It was very busy, coaching, a lot of time on the basketball court. That’s all we are about. Spending time on the court and getting players better.
On being in Hawaii:
It’s a pleasure because Hawaii is the closest we (my family) can get that’s called home. Like I said, my family has ties here, I came here to get my college degree from Oahu, from (BYUH). My two kids were born in Hawaii, I had a kid born in Kahuku and one in Kailua. So this is the closest we can get for me as home. It’s kind of my second home, or my first home ‘cause I’ve been like 20 years in the U.S. right now. So, I feel like home, I feel very comfortable here, people are very friendly, people really wants to help us. And I’m excited. I’m very excited about this program. I think the previous coaching staff did a great job. We just hope to keep the tradition here and keep the basketball going.
On his role on the team specifically:
I think everybody (all the coaches) will have some type of job. Coach Arnold will be very specific what he wants us to do. I sure am going to spend some time with the big guys. The bigs. But I think we’re all going to help in different ways. Scouting, preparing for the games, coaching. Skill development is important for us here, to develop players. Sure we’d like to have a guy, so-and-so, but there is a reason why they are not here, they are someplace else, so I think the kind of players we can get here, guys we can develop to become really good. So I think we have to spend a lot of time on the court, working our guys, spend time teaching them. They are very willing to work, and hard workers. So that’s great. Right now, we are just excited about everything else (for the season). I just do whatever Coach Arnold needs me to do. As the assistant coach, the number one job is to be loyal and work as hard as you can for him. That’s what I’m here for.
On fellow Brazilian Douglas Kurtz:
Yeah, I know Douglas a long time, matter of fact I help him come to the U.S. So I knew him long time, when the previous coaching staff call and try and recruit him, I was all for it for him. I think he’s a good kid, works hard, he needs to play on his strengths, which is his body. He’s huge. So if he does what he’s supposed to be doing, he’s going to help us a lot. Good kid, come every day prepared to work. That’s all you can ask of a kid, just come prepared ready to work and to learn and to get better. And he does that every single day.
I think Douglas, and Vander Joaquim is easy for me because both of them speak Portuguese. Even though Joaquim’s from Africa, from Angola, they speak Portuguese. Yell at him in Portuguese a little more. But Bill Amis is a solid big guy. Davis (Rozitis) from Latvia is going to be a high (quality) player in a couple of years. So I think we have a good foundation of bigs. They are young, other than Bill, and Douglas has not played many minutes last year. So we hope to play him more minutes. The key is, always work hard, and good things will happen to us, to them.
Will you oversee Joston Thomas too?
I think Joston is such a talented player that he can play both positions (3 and 4). He can play outside, small forward, power forward, he can do both. He’s just such a hard matchup. It depends who we play and what coach’s vision is. I’m not so caught up in positions like 1-2-3-4-5. I always tell my guys, you need to be on the court. If coach wants you to play that position, that’s the position you have to play. You have to gain minutes. Just be playing. Being on the bench is not helping the team. Do whatever it takes to help the team.
On being committed:
We are all in. One of our things this year is, be all in. We are all in with the kids, we are all in with the program, and with the city, community, everybody. We are here, trying to make this thing here as best as possible. So whatever it takes, we’ll make it a fun year, excitement, has to be an exciting year too, because we want to be here. We came here for a reason, and we want to be here and we want to do our best. Whatever it takes to make our fans happy to come here and support guys, we’ll go do it. We’ll make sure they feel like we are in here together with the players and we need their help, we need their support.