Video: Taylor’s banquet sendoff

Benjy Taylor spoke with Gary Payton prior to banquet ceremonies.
Benjy Taylor spoke with Gary Payton prior to banquet ceremonies.

The Hawaii men’s basketball postseason awards banquet doubled as a sendoff for former coach Benjy Taylor Wednesday night.

With a couple hundred fans in attendance at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel’s ballroom, Taylor took the podium and thanked fans for their support during his one season at the helm of the program. He also announced the awards, including the return of the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award from a one-year hiatus. (The Tip of the Spear award was nowhere to be found.)

UH’s most prestigious hoops award went to senior guard Garrett Nevels, who was lauded for his leadership and toughness during a season full of challenges.

Taylor said he plans to stay within the realm of college coaching, but does not yet know where he will be for the 2015-16 season and beyond.

Last year’s team was there in full, with the exception of assistant Senque Carey, who was on the mainland.

And no, new coach Eran Ganot was not present, out of respect for last season’s staff and accomplishments. New athletic director David Matlin was there, however.

Hoops Hall of Famer Gary Payton, who’s generated some controversy with his name in the news, attended as originally planned, but did not speak. Instead, MC Billy V gave the team an off-the-cuff tribute speech. Afterward, Taylor and the team received a standing ovation.

Here was the complete list of team awards:
Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player: Garrett Nevels
Most Improved Player: Aaron Valdes
Newcomer of the Year: Roderick Bobbitt
Freshman of the Year: Isaac Fleming
Community Service: Stefan Jankovic; Negus Webster-Chan
Scholar of the Year: Stefan Jovanovic
Team Player: Zach Buscher; Brocke Stepteau

The complete team gathered on stage to receive awards.
The complete team gathered on stage to receive awards.
Nevels accepted the Art Woolaway award.
Nevels accepted the Art Woolaway award.
Taylor and the team received a standing ovation.
Taylor and the team received a standing ovation.


  1. Not an Expert April 30, 2015 4:00 pm

    Ganot having concerns about contract length. Wants 4 years and has his reasons.
    Do not blame him for having to deal with UH.

    UH dumb as usual for a school of higher learning. I believe Coach Benji would of
    settled for a 2 to 3 year deal and continue to work hard as needed.

    If UH agrees to a 4 year contract and Ganot does not succeed especially if able to maintain all the players for the next 2 years and recruits are not better than or equal to the current players, this will cost UH more money and have another set back. Hope this is not the case. Lose next year with the same players that will create a lot of questions and doubt.

  2. Dana April 30, 2015 9:06 pm

    You were a class act and last night you demonstrated it Benjy. So glad to see you there. Disappointed you were not hired to stay on. I think Ganot’s wanting 4 years after he agreed to come for 3 doesn’t speak well. He knew there were sanctions to come so to use that now is almost holding UH in a no win position.

  3. HopeTheBest April 30, 2015 11:21 pm

    Not, and Dana… I never did think of it that way, myself like a lot .. a very lot of fans wanted Benjy. And , like Not, mentioned, Benjy would have stayed for a ONE year guaranteed year or Two, just to see this group win that BWC tourney crown and go to NCAA’s. No shows at banquet, Bobby C., voice of the Rainbow Warrior BB team, Jeff Portnoy, Jackson Wheeler.. hmmmm? now, they have their guy, Eran, a good young coach, however, he is Akamai, now has UH where he wants them, a coach who would , or maybe now, the only one who would coach through a 3 or 4 year sanction period? Strange. Have to have people that really know NCAA ins and outs running the show. JMO.. I don’t know, same crazy politics at UH.. a coach, coaching, or trying to, with No contract signed, and Now wants that extra year extension..imagine if UH counsel going to write or if UHadmin will approve? crazy

  4. Fan May 1, 2015 11:01 am

    For Eran, it will be a challenge. The sanctions, and any possible limits on scholies, as one or two years go by, and team either does not do as well, or as guys leave program, he will have to get good athletes with limited scholarships? True, Coach Taylor would have been a good choice, for one or two years, for continuity, after sanction period, then UH could make another choice. However, UH will do what they want, and we know what happens when they do..

  5. Fan May 1, 2015 11:02 am


    It will not be easy for Eran. Wish him the best. Coach Taylor would have been good transition coach. for One or two years. And maybe beyond. Benjy did more than a great job !

  6. FanOfUH May 1, 2015 11:05 am

    Now, SA and Brian, …
    Can we express other opinions? Other than your, SA, slant?
    Eran will have a tough go, .. wish team the best,
    Benjy would have been good, even for 2 year deal, agree with above posts.

  7. b May 1, 2015 11:20 am

    Eran will have tough time, uncertain probation
    Could have given Taylor. 2 years
    Hope best for team

  8. bouncingball May 1, 2015 2:33 pm

    Taylor still having his “friend” Payton appear proved UH did right not hiring him.

  9. poorboy May 1, 2015 3:20 pm

    I don’t think Payton was going to give speech. He just showed up.
    Kudos to Benjy, and great interview with Benjy Brian. I hope Benjy can even be employed in Hawaii in some capacity this season. Wish the best, a lot of fans loved his passion , effort, and helping team win. What if they lost 22 games? Would have been long season. Benjy and Bows did great.

  10. poorboy May 1, 2015 3:23 pm

    I know impossible, however if Benjy was somehow still with team, as advisor, player development for This Season, would have been nice, Benjy could see the fruits of his, the staff, and team’s labor bearing fruit, a BWC tourney title.
    Eran, tough first year or couple with sanctions/probations or whatever comes down. I feel for him. Real challenge.

  11. BowforLife May 2, 2015 4:56 am

    Thanks Coach Taylor for putting together a very successful season despite the circumstances!

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