Rupp moves on // More on Clair

Hawaii director of basketball operations Kerry Rupp is leaving that position to take a full assistant job with Wayne Tinkle’s staff at Montana, he confirmed on Friday.

This is unsurprising. Rupp as a DOBO was always a curious arrangement, to say the least. The former four-year LaTech head coach made the best of his reduced role — day-to-day and travel arrangements, primarily — and leaves with well wishes from Gib Arnold and the other UH coaches after a single year here.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity I had here,” Rupp said. “Coach Arnold, known him for a lot of years, and it was really an honor and a pleasure to work for him for a year. I really enjoyed the staff. Enjoyed the players. It couldn’t have been a better opportunity for me at this point in my career. The experience was unbelievable, I’m just really indebted for that. But looking forward to getting back to an assistant (job) where I can get on the floor a little bit, and be a little bit more involved in that, which is what I’m more accustomed to. … But to be the director and take a step back and kind of evaluate and look at things, I think in the long run it could be even more valuable.”

It’s believed strength coach Chris McMillian, who is on the verge of getting his masters degree at UH, is the likely successor as the DOBO.

Arnold couldn’t yet comment on McMillian or who else would fill the position, but he glowed about Rupp’s contributions in his relatively short time here.

“I think (Montana) is a great move for him. He he was well overqualified to be the director of basketball operations, and that gets him back to coaching, and back to recruiting, which is what he does best. Quite honestly, it was the goal we had coming in here. Coach is a really good friend, he was out of the business and wanted to have him come out here, help him out and keep him in the business. But help him find a place to go if there wasn’t a role up here. He’s a type of coach that needs to be on the floor and should be on the floor, so I support this and helped him get it. I think it’s a great fit.”

Montana (25-7) won the Big Sky Conference and was a 13 seed in the NCAA tournament, losing in the round of 64 to Wisconsin. The Grizzlies thumped UH 94-79 in an ESPNU BracketBusters game on Feb. 18 in Bozeman, Mont. UH will host Montana in two years for the mandated return game.

“I think they’ll be picked to win the Big Sky next year, and he’ll have a chance to really help out there,” Arnold said. “We’re going to see them.”

Rupp is looking forward to it.

“I was very impressed with them when we played them up there, and I think Coach Tinkle is a very, very good coach. I think it’s a special time to be at Montana. They won the league and have done extremely well there in all his years, and have a lot of players returning.

“(Coming back to play UH) will be like going back to play LaTech. Anytime you go back to somewhere else you coached, it becomes a big game for you. Definitely, I have a lot of fond memories of being here. I’ll look forward to the opportunity come back. Hope it’s a good game.”

Lastly, Rupp thanked team secretary Bobbie Omoto for helping him get acclimated to the program. As for things he’ll miss: “The aloha spirit, the family feeling you get here at the university. And I don’t know about going back to wearing suits and ties to games. I kind of like the aloha shirt. And it’s unbelievable to wake up every morning and it’s 74, 75. You got those tradewinds blowing, window down every morning. I think I’ll miss that come wintertime.”


Now that the paperwork of 6-foot-2, 170-pound Canadian guard Manroop Clair is official, Arnold could comment on his addition to next year’s team. Here’s a brief Q & A on Manroop.

Q: Overall, what does Manroop add to the team?

A: A player like him, he’s exciting to watch, I think he’s going to be exciting to coach. He’s got great range and very, very good ball-handling skills. And, like I said, self-made player, that’s one of those guys who spends a lot of time in the gym. I like guys like that, in fact I need guys like that. They want to get better and they’re coachable, and they do nothing but keep getting better. I’ve always enjoyed coaching guys like that. I was pretty much a gym rat growing up, and really, really like guys who feel the same way about basketball as I do.”

Q: He’s on the younger side (17). Is he a redshirt candidate for you, or is that to be determined?

A: I don’t think so at all. I think he’s going to come in here and fight for major minutes.

Q: His shooting range is what seems to be his most notable attribute. Is it as legit as advertised?

A: I think it’s legit. I think whether he’s shooting it in Canada or shooting it here, the gym is still the same size. And he’s hit a whole bunch of deep 3s. Obviously he’s going to have to adapt to the college game and play against players who are older and bigger, but our goal here too is to work with him and help him get bigger and stronger and faster. And so that’s our commitment to him, and we’re definitely committed to that. I think he’s as talented and as good as a shooter as was out there, at all this year. He’s at an elite level of shooting.

Q: He’s got some passing ability that would allow him to play the point, as well?

A: He is a point guard. He’s played point his whole life. He has the ball-handling ability to play the point, and the shooting range to play shooting guard as well. He’s a true combo guard in that sense, in that he can play both positions.


  1. al May 4, 2012 11:04 pm

    Q: Coach are you still pursuing one final recruit or will you give it to someone like Jace Tavita since he will be a senior and that scholie would be available for next year anyway?

    A: We are still in the hunt with two other recruits that we have developed a relationship with. One that we will find out real soon if he has satisfied some administrative hurdles. While the other we are trying to coordinate a recruiting visit before May 15th. We are always in the recruit mode, trying to improve our team is an ongoing task.

  2. Eagle May 5, 2012 12:39 am

    IF Manroop works as hard in weight room & track for speed & strength as well as in the classroom, as he does in the gym, seems sky’s the limit…and being only 17 maybe can even add height…

    With India’s population (like China with its “70 Seven Footers”) for a hard recruiter like Gib, could become a “Diamond in the Rough” Mine…they already take academics seriously; what else would their tall athletes aspire to?

  3. Sickman Fraud May 5, 2012 3:43 am

    A potentially big time shooter on the collegiate level. A long range bomber with a quick release and decent ball handling skills. Check the Warrior Insider for videos.

  4. krump1_AKA_protector May 5, 2012 5:15 am

    Manroop Clair and Orel Lev both look like exciting players that can not only
    shoot and drive, but can pass as well. People will stop whining about the
    players that left because these guys as well as Fotu (who looks like a real
    banger), Dressler, Stanhardinger, Tavita and Jawato will make us more of a dynamic team than last year. Lev and Clair look like better pure shooters than Zane and Bo Barnes in my opinion.

  5. jkjones May 5, 2012 7:23 am

    Zane was a good shooter but had difficulty creating off the dribble. He became limited in the later part of the season and defenses collapased on him. His point production declined. Hopefully, both Orel Lev and Singh Clair have more game. Manroop’s videos suggest he can go inside with strong athletic moves to the hoop to score or dish…Coach Gib has a strong array of combo guards returning that will provide depth–dont forget Brandon Spearman recruited for 2012 and Shamburger becomes eligible in 2013… If Gib can recruit another 3-4 scorer from the JUCO ranks, we should have a team nucleus with solid potential.

  6. lava May 5, 2012 7:26 am

    I admit to being excited about the new recruits, but I also admit I have some huge reservations about a program that has seen a mass exodus of guys.

  7. Hon2255 May 5, 2012 7:30 am

    Would be great to get a athletic small forward now to cap it off.

  8. Eagle May 5, 2012 7:45 am

    They do ….Manroop’s moves & adjustments to the onrushing defense or to create space to shoot appear as advanced as Savo in his Third Year; that Zane never (yet) acquired. Both have good court awareness /Both are good drivers and ‘Roop appears to have the ability to seek/ create contact and still finish (make, not just take the subsequent shot even if he appears contorted or off-balance, but he’s not like a smaller Nowitzky); I always thought that after made free throws they should count those as made threes or maybe start tracking them ‘cos you also get the defensive players in trouble…

  9. Eagle May 5, 2012 11:13 am

    To Clarify; Missing comma:

    …off-balance, but he’s not, like a smaller Nowitzki….

  10. Hon2255 May 5, 2012 12:05 pm

    Now we can get Heffernan involved with the guys second summer session and get Clair,lev and the rest into weights and conditioning Heffernan nationally recognized in strength training is an asset to Gibs program and need to get him involved

  11. Eagle May 6, 2012 4:59 am

    Heffernan the MASTER (Certified);

    McMillan (expectantly) the focused Specalist and Director of Basketball Operations

    Clair, Lev, Dressler, Fotu the proven hard workers and evidence of what is possible when potential meets hard work and good, focused, insightful training & coaching (“…that’s our promise to them…”)… We get to see just how good these high performers can become… Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Quicker, More Hops, Better Skills…Evidence: Vander & apparently More to Come…

    Consider: IF he so chooses what is to keep an Isaac Fotu from approaching (or even becoming) the Next Coming, Following the Template/ Pattern of say “Lebron James”? (Even if they only get 80% there, that will be pretty near ‘unstoppable’ or our level of competition… How High will these guys go?

    Stay Tuned…

    Now that they’re getting the Best Recruits they can find (and get)… We might begin to see how really well they can coach. To quote an ol’ venerable keeper of this program, “These guys can actually do what I ask them to…”

  12. gklum2 May 6, 2012 8:23 am


    It’s enjoyable to read your ‘write’ (gotten better time after time!).
    This one has to be the best so far (keep them coming).

    If I am Coach Gib, I would order a copy on a large poster for the team locker-room!

    Really thought about the Fotu – James trait, for his build and explosiveness.

    The ‘train’ was drafted out of HS; Well, if Fotu developed into 60% as James-capable,
    Coach Gib will hang his picture near-by his desk. (college).

    Roopi: If you keep up the good work, you can too (wow!)!

  13. mctruck May 8, 2012 7:35 am

    Don’t know if reported earlier, but on Warrior Insider, UH has offered Kamehameha senior guard, (Dyrbe Enos/5’09”) a walk-on invitation which he has accepted. He credits Miah O. as his inspiration for going this route. Did anyone say, “point-guard?” right in our back yard.

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