Pope decommits

North Idaho College point guard Austin Pope said Tuesday he’s decided to decommit from playing for Hawaii next season.

Pope cited the job uncertainty of interim coach Benjy Taylor in his move.

Austin Pope at North Idaho College
Austin Pope at North Idaho College

Here’s what Pope said:

“I have decided to de commit from Hawaii due to circumstances beyond my control. I thank them for the offer but I would like to explore my other opportunities. Thanks!”

It was understood that there was some inherent risk involved with this commitment a couple weeks ago; if Taylor didn’t get awarded the long-term job, Pope was as good as gone. But it’s interesting that Pope came to that (un-)decision even before the verdict came down from new athletic director David Matlin and his search advisory committee.

Taylor, of course, can’t comment on recruits until they are signed, and we never got to that point here. But this news has to be a disappointment for him. Ultimately, it’s difficult to build something while standing on quicksand, as the interim tag amounts to.

All eyes are back on the coaching search. Taylor will no doubt still try to be proactive in the meantime, mainly in the realm of scheduling.


  1. Kapahulu April 7, 2015 10:36 am


  2. Mauian5 April 7, 2015 11:38 am

    Maybe this kid knows that Benji is out as coach.

  3. biggestuhfan April 7, 2015 1:46 pm

    Since Benjy hasn’t been offered yet (that anyone knows of), is it looking more like he ISN’T going to get it? If he doesn’t get it, I hope the powers that be know what they’re doing because it seems to me that the vast majority of the fans want him.

    Personally, I think they should go in another direction. Benjy can say all he wants about how his name has never been mentioned in any of the allegations, but he had to have known what was happening. I also remember Gib saying the same thing about what was going on at USC. We all know how that ended.

  4. poorboy April 7, 2015 1:49 pm


    You nailed it on the head.. say, it is process. protocol, going through the short list to be fair, union, state laws, UH fair hiring whatever.
    However all season, Benjy, Senque, Brad, Brandon, working the recruiting trail , WHAT do they tell recruits potential commits and signees.. Hey sign with us, However I don’t Know If I will be here?
    If Benjy had even a One Year guaranteed. or better 2 year.. already, hired by AD current and chancellor back in Feb.. could have gotten some guys ready.. see what happens by end of this week . I feel real bad for Benjy and staff, tough, tough situation, and applicants, short list asking about possible sanctions.. ? still appears to me. Benjy, been there, seen it. fought through it, and guided team. he is a good pick just to go through the sanction if any years for MBB. would be easier, than New Staff,and the scramble and gamble, making team and staff

  5. poorboy April 7, 2015 1:53 pm


    I like Benjy retained for Continuity.. I don’t want to go from scratch, possible several guys defecting.. all over again..Benjy if he were implicated, or in anyway tainted, I don’t think Chancellor and Jay would have made him Interim this year, AND asking him to apply.. there must be a Protocol, process they are going through.. they should have let Benjy stay EVEN one more year. yet Not interim, as Real Coach, for recruiting purposes and keep stability.. Go another direction, however, I bet the other applicants, are going hard at Matlin and Chancellor, are they going to inherit a crippled, program? and waste 2 or 3 years as far as getting big time guys to come here.. I think current Team Is Big Time already.. they are Warriors

  6. poorboy April 7, 2015 2:07 pm


    ..good point Benjy very popular pick with majority of mbb fans..why go another direction? And it hurts recruiting, the current guys and their families, everything in program.. By NOT telling Benjy one way or the other, if he is the guy.. going through this process.. man, I feel for Benjy and his family and the team,, it just drags on, too long and hurts good people..

  7. Pocho April 7, 2015 4:40 pm

    Mahalo! to UHAdmin. as usual. Nothins changed! Just a couple of new face and the same-o same-o

  8. Richboy April 7, 2015 4:44 pm

    Poorboy/Runbows, go back to WI. no one buying what you are selling

  9. Hon2255 April 7, 2015 5:20 pm

    It’s not about who the fans want. It’s about hiring a coach with vision , accountability , smarts , integrity, a winner on and off court. period !

  10. cappie the dog April 7, 2015 5:47 pm

    Teams offered: Hawaii, Oklahoma State, Bowling Green

    *** recruit

    Other teams interested: Boston College, Colorado, DePaul, Gonzaga, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, TCU, Temple, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Washington State, Wichita State

  11. Richboy April 7, 2015 5:55 pm

    This team is “Big Time”? OMG. If you watched the dance you could see the REAL Big Time. Get a grip

  12. Derek April 7, 2015 5:57 pm

    As I expected, Pope should move on. With a new coach, the coach would want to get his own recruits anyway. I wasn’t too impressed with Pope’s stats at North Idaho and on his highlights. Now, we’ll never know anyway. His shooting percentage wasn’t very good for a guard.

  13. oneseason April 7, 2015 6:32 pm

    CH on sports animals was very unimpressive IMO in his analysis of the MBB coach hiring situation this afternoon on the sports animals. If Benjy isn’t hired, it could be because things haven’t really change in UH leadership. While it would be nice to forget that the folks that hired AD Matlin are the same ones that green lighted the Arnold termination without cause (apparently without reading his contract), it seems reasonable to keep that in mind for at least a few more weeks.

  14. biggestuhfan April 7, 2015 7:05 pm

    #5, 6 Poorboy

    You make good points. I agree it’s tough for everyone not knowing. I have confidence in Matlin that he will make the right choice. Either way, it’s a tough call.

  15. poorboy April 7, 2015 11:53 pm

    Real class, integrity and High Character on Benjy Taylor’s part, to work at final four with Matlin on improving and getting contracts signed for finalizing next season’s schedule. Company, Hawaii all the way coach.. Must be that 80 percent or more, of population, watching MBB, that WANT Benjy as coach, unless something so awful on his resume, or character.. why have him , get on hands and knees and BEG.. man that is awful.. should have rewarded him with 2 year deal at least.. see if he can recruit and have 2 more 20 win seasons and NIT or NCAA appearances.. then if by year 2, he not doing the job.. THEN look for coach, because, Benjy could not win and advance.. First Time in my near 70 years of life, that I have heard of an Acting Coach, winning 22 games, BWC tourney championship games, National Recognition. and award, and Not get hired.

    I hope Matlin changes, his mind, and Hires coach Taylor, if he is thinking of going with Ganot or Smith..

  16. ALLAN April 8, 2015 4:18 am


  17. Pocho April 8, 2015 4:32 am

    Hope they bring back Nash with Wheeler in tow.

  18. poorboy April 8, 2015 4:38 am

    yes, Benjy, as some allude to and even Dave Reardon, guilt by association, however I never did see him being implicated in ncaa allegations, and personal matters, that is on him to take care of, very sure he did , if not, he would never have been acting coach, … very, hypocritical of Admin, old and new chancellor and not even acting AD, to have Benjy go through interview, with No Intent at All to hire him, just go through the motions..
    I hope ALLAN we , the majority of MBB fans, and in Hawaii we are very forgiving, giving ones second chances, whether, high officials, or athletes and coaches, and they come out better for it. Like Benjy did when made Acting coach this year. Nationally, it will be weird story, dumb really, Hugh Durham mid season coach award winner, 22 wins, BWC tournament within 3 minutes of NCAA bid, championship game appearance, and such excitement brought to UH MBB fans, in years.. All for Nothing.. simply, too many people with agenda, they want their guys from 5 years, ago, Now is their time to get the guy they want. Benjy he admits never was perfect, this season he cleaned up, and his team, did well, they are on track to finish spring semester well, no one in jail, or suspended, community loves them, families love team and appreciate Benjy, What more could he do for job ? He never had a shot from day one.. I hope he gets the Fullerton job or something, and has a good run against UH, if that comes about.

    I hope Matlin and Bley Vroman prove me wrong, however they want their Princeton offense, or flex motion, well so be it.. very boring..

  19. cappie the dog April 8, 2015 4:40 am

    Last year’s highest profile decommit was Jaleel Cousins.

    As a freshman, he averaged 2.9 pts. and 2.6 rebounds at South Florida.

    I don’t know where Taylor Harville is. I thought he was supposed to be at St. Mary’s. He came in with the reputation as a 3-point shooting specialist.

  20. cappie the dog April 8, 2015 4:44 am

    Tyler Harville.

  21. oneseason April 8, 2015 5:29 am

    By accelerating the hiring to (it looks like) Friday, the AD-select put a good foot forward. Considering the fiasco that the Gib Arnold firing became, hopefully UH has learned that “trust us, we’re doctors” won’t cut it for major decisions. The post-Wonder Blunder track record has not been stellar. Lots of folks either resigned or fired. Bad decisions seem to come to light pretty quickly.

  22. Pocho April 8, 2015 5:48 am

    Where’s Jake? you’d have thought he’d be giving a report on Tyler’s progress

  23. bouncingball April 8, 2015 8:13 am

    Said a while back that UH should move in a new direction with complete break from the Gib bunch and I’m glad to read Reardon also taking this stance. No doubt the team this year played hard and was fun to watch but the facts are that they were a mediocre conference team led by a mediocre interim coach buoyed by early success against mediocre teams. Why so many are willing to put blind faith in Taylor is beyond me. His past coaching accomplishments are spotty at best, has no proven recruiting successes and showed extremely poor decision making by rejecting a year extension (and don’t give me no bull about nothing being guaranteed). Well, bye bye Benji, thank you and good luck.

  24. poorboy April 8, 2015 9:59 am


    All Benjy did was SAVE this MBB season. Lot of fans, new and older ones, and ESPN, Fox Sports, pundits , announcers, they knew the deal, and gave tremendous credit to Benjy. Say what you will , that is loyalty to UH and Hawaii,..it must have Shocked Admin, and You, that the Warriors won 22 games, and almost, just so agonizingly almost, made it to NCAA dance, then would you be throwing Benjy to the gutter? Bet, even if he and team made it to NCAA tournament, it would be same old SHIBAI, oh.. go and apply and the process. and we see.. He earned it, if UH admin, power that be , ARE FAIR.. I kind of hope, couple of guys go overseas pro, and younger guy transfers back to mainland. You think, the Whole team is going to buy into Princeton and Flex Offense? They loved playing the uptempo D game. One more year, or two, and No…Benjy did not receive a guaranteed 1 year deal, No way.. it was talk of him as interim, month to month pay, then when UH found another man or woman, they would dump him…total NO class. and In Hawaii, at least the Hawaii I have known the past near 70 years.. we Don’t do that.. that is why UH and UH athletics are getting totally SCREWED up.. it is terrible.. guys and gals(Beeman)are taken for granted for hard work. Laura, they made her go month to month until after long time , they got the extension. I hope, if UH has Ganot or Smith, Benjy goes to Fullerton, Or UC San Diego, coaches there and goes to NCAA next season if not UH HC.. and Beeman, I hope she IS THE FINALIST the pick for Utah.. and she goes.. UH does not deserve guys and gals, give there lives for Athletics and get nothing for it..really not right..
    And , thousands of fans who do support Benjy and Otto, Austin, Olive, the kids of Benjy. they love the passion and effort.. without the injuries, UH MBB would have won 26 games at least..

  25. Richboy April 8, 2015 10:58 am

    Yep, true fan of UH mbb. Don’t hire who I want then I root for anyone but IH. Real Poorboy finally shows true colors

  26. Mauian5 April 8, 2015 11:13 am

    Per Kanoa Leahey show here on Maui, Ganot from St. Mary’s to be named new head coach at UH.

  27. Tempmanoa April 8, 2015 11:37 am

    Ganot is the interim head coach at St. Mary’s while the head coach is– guess what?– on suspension for NCAA violations. So we reject one assistant, Benji, who was an assistant to a head coach terminated after NCAA allegations, and hire another in a similar position. I hope the UH knows what it it doing.

  28. hon2255 April 8, 2015 11:48 am

    Temporary job Manoa , chillax , his name aint Arnold! he didnt deal with OJ Mayo

  29. oneseason April 8, 2015 11:55 am

    What a disappointment that would be. To throw away all the capability that coach Taylor demonstrated for somebody who has never been a head coach seems hard to believe.

  30. Pocho April 8, 2015 12:15 pm

    Benjy musta known prior to the announcement. I wish you the Best of Luck getting a new coaching job Benjy. Mahalos!

  31. hitman April 8, 2015 1:27 pm

    sad day for UH sports !! new bb coach !! hasn’t coached I D1 game. !! and give up on BT !! know we shell see how much of the uh kids will move on !! good move to the new AD !! we shell see how fast you can sink a ship !! and remember its not all about winning!! go blow smoke up some else a@@ !! that line only work with chow !! really wish there was a other all sports team in town ! shame UH this really looking like a color thing know !!

  32. Richboy April 8, 2015 1:42 pm

    Whew, here comes the race card. Unbelievable. AD wants clean start. Benjy part of old staff. Did good job but can u say over rated? And what kids will move on? Maybe Fleming but who else? Gub never hc D1 game but u LOVED him. Get a grip. And there are other teams u can root for if u are so upset. Pick one, Chaminade, HPU, Hilo. I support UH and will renew my season tickets next year. Btw, do you actually go to games or sit on that comfy couch and watch for free? Not like we are losing coach K.

  33. bouncingball April 8, 2015 4:56 pm

    NO current player is an exceptional Div.1 basketball player (except maybe Bobbitt who is great defensively). The new coach should be able to fill the voids with decent players (shooting guard and power inside player). Loss of Pope is no big deal, in fact, pretty sure the new coach is happy to have another scholarship open to him. As for “poorboy”, what a poor excuse of a UH fan to wish for bad things to happen to UH because he doesn’t get his way. Dang it, he’s the poster boy of what’s wrong with locals who jump on the bandwagon when things are good but bail out when things are tough.

  34. bouncingball April 8, 2015 4:59 pm

    29, you believed when Chow got hired, right?

  35. bouncingball April 8, 2015 5:06 pm

    Poorboy, poor Benji had his chance. If he’s as good as you make him out to be, why did he not take the extension? What was he afraid of, not being able to do good and being fired? Face it, he blew it and knows it.

  36. cappie the dog April 8, 2015 6:12 pm

    Some recruiting services has Austin Pope rated as a three-star recruit. So was Issac Fleming. A lot of Hawaii commits, for the most parts, don’t have stars attached to their names.

    Fleming chose UH over Virginia Tech.

    I think it’s a big deal that Pope decommitted.

    Now Pope may go to Oklahoma State.

    There are now, with the subtraction of Benjy Taylor, twelve coaches of African-American descent. ESPN recently did a story on minority hires.

    I hope Fleming stays. I don’t understand why an athlete would want to lose a year of eligibility. I hope he at least sits down and talks to Eran Ganot.

    Without Fleming’s injury, Hawaii could have potentially gone 10-6 in the Big West. Some of his drives to the basket were pretty spectacular. You had Valdez dunks and Fleming layups.

    St. Mary’s.


    Hire a coach from a program who was investigated by the NCAA.

  37. cappie the dog April 8, 2015 6:19 pm


    I am also rooting for Laura Beeman’s own best interests.

  38. oneseason April 8, 2015 6:24 pm

    34 … Plenty of parking and the seats stay cheap.

  39. Derek April 8, 2015 6:39 pm

    I think we got the right coach. One former UH player believes that also, Bill Amis. If anybody should know, it’s him. at. St. Marys went 21-10 this past year. 13-5 in the West Cooast Conference and played in the NIT. While he was there they were 81-22. I think he will do a terrific job. Give him time. He’ll prove himself.

    Who knows. We might be dancing next year!

  40. Derek April 8, 2015 6:52 pm

    Bouncing ball, poor boy is Runbows. You are right on the money. As Ferd Lewis said we played a lot of games that were “pastries”. Pine Bluff, Southern, Hilo, prairie View, Delaware St., Bakersfield, Chaminade, etc. That 22-13 record is very deceiving, but that’s how Gib Arnold scheduled his games. The main reason why we did as well as we did is because of Roderick Bobbitt. Without him, we would be 10-22. And did you notice, that when Bobbitt had a good game the team played well and when he didn’t we probably lost. A lot of times the team was undisciplined, jacking up bad shots early in the shot clock and did not pass the ball around to get good shots.

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