Two days of recharge time over the weekend didn’t have a magical effect on the number of healthy bodies on the court Monday for the Hawaii men’s basketball team.
UH was as shortstaffed as ever this preseason. Bigs Isaac Fotu (back), Sammis Reyes (toe fracture) and Stefan Jankovic (knee) were still out. Jankovic actually was going to run fullcourt for the first time this preseason, UH coach Gib Arnold said, but he caught an elbow to the head early on and was held out for the rest of the day as a precaution.
Reyes exacerbated his fractured pinkie toe recently getting on a bus, Arnold said, which pushes back his projected return by a week. Fotu is also expected back at the start of next week, the coach said.
“I’m hoping to get these guys back,” Arnold said with a sigh. “I still got some guys banged up and playing out of position. So I’m trying to buy as much time as I can ’til everybody’s healthy. But we’re doing the best we can with what we got.”
Guard Brandon Jawato (concussion-like symptoms) wasn’t present Monday after sitting out the previous practice Friday.
By the end of Monday’s practice, swingman Negus Webster-Chan was sidelined after taking a shot or two to his already bruised ribs.
Guys of moderate size like Webster-Chan and Aaron Valdes have had to play “big” because of the team’s current deficiencies.
UH went ahead and did more fullcourt press work.
Sophomores Valdes and Mike Thomas have consistently been the most dynamic performers so far. It’s been said before, but Thomas is finishing well through contact, something he couldn’t do last season. And Valdes can jump for days.
“It felt good (to get back),” Valdes said. “I know a lot of us are sore or banged up. But it’s part of it. You’re going to be sore when you’re playing. Coach wanted us to come back hard and strong and I think that’s what we did.”