Nevels emerges

Garrett Nevels was a great asset for his team in Spain over the past year. / Photo courtesy Garrett Nevels
Garrett Nevels was a great asset for his team in Spain over the past year. / Photo courtesy Garrett Nevels

While San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills was billed as the surprise of the day at Hawaii’s Rainbow Warrior basketball camp, there was another appearance in the Stan Sheriff Center that turned heads Wednesday.

Former ‘Bow Garrett Nevels was on hand to help the 60 (give or take a few) campers with encouragement. Old players appearing at such camps is no real surprise, but they tend to be of the local variety. Zach Buscher and Dyrbe Enos were also on hand.

Quietly, Nevels had himself a pretty dang good year playing for Albacete Basket in Spain’s fourth-tier league, the EBA. He averaged 20.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, stepped up his production in the playoffs and was named league MVP.

“I think it was a good start for my professional career,” said Nevels, rarely one to speak effusively.

He explained his appearance in the Stan Sheriff Center thusly:

“I was home for about a week (in Los Angeles) and I just wanted to come. Felt like a little vacation and to just work the camp. I miss Hawaii and I was just glad I was able to come down.”

He said he’ll likely play in Los Angeles’ prestigious Drew League again this summer — he has enjoyed productive run there — and work out in preparation for what could be a step into a bigger league.

Spain, where Isaac Fotu plays in the top league, appealed to him.

“Definitely I’ll go back to play in Spain again, I just have to weigh my options this summer and choose the best one for me,” Nevels said.

Being back on Oahu, though, brought back some memories. It wasn’t too long ago that Nevels was a key piece on the Benjy Taylor-coached team that won 22 games and nearly ended UH’s NCAA Tournament drought before this year’s group did.

“Aw man, it just feels so good (seeing people I know),” Nevels said. “I really missed the island and the school, the Stan Sheriff Center. Just being able to come back here and work out on the floor in the mornings. It brings back so many memories and it just really feels good. I can’t put it into words.”

For Eran Ganot’s part, he’s made it a point to be inclusive with alumni, including the group from recent years that went through turbulent times.

Nevels got wistful talking about the success of the 2015-16 team, the one that stood on the shoulders of the squads that came before it.

“I mean, it was difficult to follow the games because of the time change. But I was able to watch the game against Cal and the game against Maryland. I was always trying to keep up with them. So I was just really proud of the team … we went through so much adversity the past few years. I feel like this season was the culmination of all that with all the success they had.

“I felt, the whole year I wish I had one more year to play here. Really. If we had the full team. Say we had Isaac Fotu, Negus (Webster-Chan) and me, we’d probably be unstoppable.”

Interestingly, Nevels found himself in a leadership role as a first-year pro. It’s not too surprising given the stoicism he showed in 2014-15, when everything could have unraveled after the firing of Gib Arnold.

“For me, not too much really changed (being pro),” he said. “I’m always going to work hard, I’m always going to be on time. And just try to prepare myself for whatever situation may come. But I would say, I think this year I became a better leader. Learning how to lead a team and try to talk to my teammates the right way to try to get the best out of them. So I think that’s where I grew.”

Some other shots of Nevels’ season with Albacete supplied by the guard:

Garrett Nevels Spain 2

Garrett Nevels Spain 3

Garrett Nevels Spain 4


As for Mills, here’s a video we put together from his appearance today. Look for a story on him in Thursday’s print edition.

Some additional photos:


  1. cappie the dog June 8, 2016 10:50 pm

    Because we’re not Louisville, we didn’t enact the self-imposed post-season ban, I suspect, out of respect for Garrett Nevels, who is credited with keeping the team together. Nevels was our Isaac Fleming whisperer.

    Unfortunately, all that extra responsibility, affected his shooting.

    I’m happy to hear that he’s having success overseas.

  2. K-Bay June 8, 2016 11:01 pm

    Welcome Back, G-Money!

    Way to School ‘Em in Spain
    And Learn & Improve While You Earn

    Always Have a Home Here
    Thanks for Visiting, Sharing
    Tear Up The Drew League
    We know it Serves You Well
    Woulda Enjoyed You Tearing Up The Manoa League, too

  3. Obake-san June 9, 2016 10:53 am

    Congratulations big G…

    Watching you play is always exciting. Good luck in Spain and in LA…

    Welcome back!!!

  4. Wonna June 9, 2016 12:02 pm

    The kids are so happy and cute.

    The pros’ MVPs are being grateful.

    Hawaii is extremely impressed by them!

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