Michael Thomas close to deciding

Michael Thomas flew back to California on Sunday after spending Friday and Saturday as an official visitor with the Hawaii men’s basketball team.

Among other things, the 6-foot-5 El Camino Real High senior guard/forward witnessed the team’s once-a-week 2-hour practice (allowed this time of year), UH’s early morning Saturday beach workout in Waikiki, and the UH football game/disaster against Nevada.

He’s choosing between UH, UC Santa Barbara and Northern Arizona.

Here’s a Q&A session from Thomas on his trip to the islands, and what he’s looking for in his school. Sounds like he’ll know where he’s going within the next week.

Q: General impressions from the trip?

A: The scenery is great and everything. I really like these guys, they play well together. Good team chemistry. Watching their practice, seeing how structured everything is. It’s really good, I like it.

Q: Your thoughts on the beach workout?

A: It looks tough, but it looks fun. Looks like they get after it. (At El Camino) individually we do (on the sand). The seniors this year, we go to the beach maybe three times a month. Every weekend.

Q: What are your top college options?

A: I would say my top choices are (UH), Santa Barbara and Northern Arizona. I visited both of those (others).

Q: When do you want to decide?

A: I’m thinking the end of September.

Q: What’s important to you when you figure out where you’re going?

A: I would say, spiritually, campus ministry with my Church of Christ that I’m in. Basketball-wise, coming in and trying to make an impact, getting better and maximizing my talent, so I can go as far with basketball as I can. Academically, I want to major in business … I want to own my own restaurant chain eventually.

Q: How would you describe your own game going into your senior year?

A: I would say developing or transitioning into a wing more. Putting up a lot more shots and creating off the dribble. … This year I’m going off the bounce a lot more and shooting. Getting better at that. We’re going to be pretty good this year.

Q: You’ve been a pure post player in the past?

A: Not pure. I started out as a guard. Then as got taller, and what they needed, I was put at that position last year. But I’m starting to branch out more. I’m a natural wing.


Saturday’s beach session was the team’s penultimate before the annual “King of the Beach” festivities, where a preseason fitness champion is crowned. Hauns Brereton was last year’s winner, edging out Christian Standhardinger on the final event.

Those two should get a run for their money from redshirt freshman Brandon Jawato. The shooting guard’s conditioning level is far higher than at this time last year. He was among the fastest on the Queen’s Beach sand.

“As of right now, I’m feeling pretty comfortable,” Jawato said. “Just can’t wait until next week, try my hardest, push myself. Give it 110 percent. Go hard for my team, basically.

“Last year I came in kind of out of shape, so now I’m just trying to be best conditioned, get my body right, trying to be faster, quicker, stronger. I’ve been training a lot this past summer, losing weight. So I’m looking forward to this season.”

Meanwhile, Aaron Valdes remains in NCAA limbo. He was unable to participate in the beach workout.


  1. Pocho September 23, 2012 4:14 pm

    Brian, thank you for the question answer. Seems like a great kid hope he chooses UH. It must have looked pretty crowded in open practice so … not phasing him with not coming here.

    Valdes still waiting seems to be a problem as practice begins in less than 3 weeks and Jawato seems to be coming in strong doing what one’s supposed to do off season.

  2. poorboy September 23, 2012 8:08 pm


    I hope not problem for Aaron, big move to come here late. Wonder if he can walk on? If he is attending class, doesn’t he qualify for UH academic side? Maybe, NCAA clearinghouse all backed up with football guys..however football in full swing. I hope for Aaron’s sake and UH MBB things get straigtened out quick!

    Maybe Brian will let us know soon. Kind of strange, Aaron admitted to UH school fall semester yet not cleared athletically so far. Well Brian , let us know as soon as you know. Mahalo!!

  3. al September 23, 2012 11:01 pm

    re-applying for the ncaa clearinghouse takes a longer circuitous route.

    he apparently has the necessary academic quals since he was accepted by the university of hawaii and is attending classes. worst case scenario is that he would be a redshirt this year.

    hopefully we’ll hear about mike thomas in a week’s time. he must be at the top of the gibber’s list since he could be the first visitor of this class,

  4. poorboy September 24, 2012 12:17 am


    Thanks for information on clearinghouse!

    Would be a nice early signing if Michael Thomas came on board!

  5. fan4m2b September 24, 2012 7:24 am

    BM, you the best – letting MT expressed himself well!
    Sound like one of those rare breeds, who has a level head, wants the best for his life..
    putting business, religion, environments which enhance his progresses athletically.
    no better “fit” than UH for you, MT – looking forward to see you in the next Manoa Summer League! Now, work hard on those academics, time is on your side, take advantage of it!

  6. fan4m2b September 24, 2012 7:59 am

    Hey “Jaw”,
    Serious hard-work alway produces great results. A credit & reward to yourselves.
    You & Jeff are the 2 most outstanding & impressive ones!
    You hold a little better edge on speed but, Jeff excelled with defense, which you can catch-up.
    Improve a little more on the “handle”, learn the “point-plays” well ==> a COMBO to help the TEAM!?
    110 percents will translates to putting the “Monkey-pod” on your locker all year long..

  7. jjay September 24, 2012 9:18 am

    Leave it to the Ncaa clearing house to depend on. Poor Aaron and his family have to pay out of state tuition, not cheap as in state is about 5k per semester plus books. Hope he’s at least getting financial aid . This is due to the incompetence of the Ncaa. They don’t care. Gib has a great bunch of student athletes,very impressed with their CHARACTER, Aaron is a perfect example . Good luck Aaron, you will be a Warrior officially very shortly, we are crossing our fingers and legs and arms. !

  8. lowtone123 September 24, 2012 2:23 pm

    SA reports that Thomas is coming to UH.

  9. Brian McInnis September 24, 2012 4:03 pm

    Update: Yes, Thomas is coming. See our breaking news. Also will have a new blog entry on him tonight.

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