Thankful return

The Hawaii men’s basketball team is flying home on Thanksgiving from one of the longest road trips in program history.

It was also a successful one. UH went 2-1 in the Gulf Coast Showcase, capped off with a 75-73 defeat of East Carolina in the fifth-place game (consolation championship) on Wednesday. Benjy Taylor’s group improved to a surprising 6-2.

There’s no question the team has outperformed expectations thus far. The defeat of Pittsburgh on Maui followed by two wins on the other side of country (within the span of just a few days) had to have opened some eyes.

It’s apparent Benjy Taylor made the right moves in not over-loading the team with sets and practice time during this challenging opening stretch of eight games in 13 days.

Pitt got hammered by No. 15 San Diego State in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, but came right back and blew out Kansas State the next night for third place. Beating Jamie Dixon‘s Panthers is still very much a feather in the cap of Taylor and the UH players. has UH in the middle of the Big West right now with an RPI of 201. UC Irvine, with its difficult games at Arizona and at Saint Mary’s, leads the way at 54 and unbeaten UC Davis is 56.


I’ll know more about the status of Isaac Fleming upon the team’s return. He did not play at all against ECU after receiving just a single minute in the win against Marist. Taylor described it as a “coach’s decision.”

The team will need Fleming’s dynamic slashing and playmaking in the long term if it is to be successful in the Big West. One could surmise that Taylor is sending him a message before the games ramp up in stakes.

Up next are a home game against Delaware State (Dec. 2) and a “neutral site” game in Salt Lake City against BYU (Dec. 6).


What are your thoughts about how the team has performed thus far?


  1. Warrior Dave November 27, 2014 5:18 pm


    The team is playing beyond my expectations, due to prior circumstances. I thought the pieces of the puzzle were there for a great year before camp. Hats off to the boys for sticking together and the coaches for guiding them in the right direction. Hope the team stays intact and the situation with Mr. Fleming is a learning experience for him and he comes back dedicated and focused.

    Thank you Brian for all you do to keep us informed.

  2. oldtimer808 November 27, 2014 5:45 pm

    Coach Taylor is doing a remarkable job of calming the waters for these young men after the firing of Coach Gibbs. Winning six games shows the character of this team of playing for each other. This will be an exciting year and I hope young Mr. Fleming plays for the team with the right attitude and not for himself.

  3. K-Bay November 27, 2014 8:52 pm

    Some of US thought this would be a Special Team.

    Clearly UH’s admin (typical?) bungling threatened to de-rail that. I Hope the Pre-Emptive Actions by UH Admin have Some Long-Term Positive pay-off; but like Much Over-reaction at U.H., it looks to have Hurt the Team; i believe Mr. Fotu deserved More Complete Information, Course of Action and a Statement of Expectations (from UH Admin — A Complete Evaluation andd pursuit of Corrective Actions with an eye towards How Things “Should Work” versus a knee-jerk re-action; And professional treatment versus harassment, even as he played for NZ in Spain); UH Admin needs to be problem-solvers versus posturers.

    Despite the Unprofessional Handling (so far) of the still-only prelim investigation, the Team shows Resilience, Toughness and an ability to perform under adversity; and maybe moreso than many teams in the past.

    The USF loss was not surprising as both teams’ coaches believed weary legs caught up with UH: to bounce back Twice in 48 hours was outstanding (irrespective of the level of opposition (Both opponents Beat Comparable Fresno State in the same time-frame) . I think as long as they learned from the High Point experience (blowing a strong second half lead in pretty much six consecutive possessions), that game should also prove valuable; it might have already paid off in their improved resilience in Florida, which even opposing coaches commented upon. A ‘semi-road’ win against a premier Pitt program (evidence Kansas State yesterday which took #3 Arizona down to the wire) is almost off of the chart for most years in the UH program. i suspect this team may be able to pleasantly surprise us a few more times, especially as they recover injured, or emerging eligibility players.

  4. alniques November 28, 2014 12:32 am

    Fleming’s Aunt passed away just recently, maybe Coach had him sit out because his head wasn’t into it at the moment. he seems really positive on his twitter account, so i don’t think its sitting is going to phase him at all.

  5. st. anthony trojan November 28, 2014 8:47 am

    u very optimistic there k-bay…season very young…shh how they do in conference play where it counts as against…teams with losing records…hope ur right n they last down the stretch n don’t fold under conference pressure n not have to very many ‘cold’ nites….

  6. RobT November 28, 2014 3:00 pm

    According to another site Issac and Q were late to breakfast or a team meeting. Q said the right thing while Issac unfortunately did not (with everything going on with his aunts death over reaction or not so appropriate responses can occur). We all just need to understand that these are young gentleman that don’t do everything perfectly but it seems like he has taken responsibility for what has transpired and he will be back in there getting the team 10+ points a game (hopefully) 🙂

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