This seems like a good time to recap the last couple days of events in UH hoops.
So, after what coach Gib Arnold considered the worst practice of the young season Tuesday — featuring his first five getting booted from the proceedings — how would the Rainbow Warriors respond on Wednesday?
Pretty well, actually. Arnold called it the best session so far. The previously shunned five of Keith Shamburger, Garrett Nevels, Brandon Spearman, Isaac Fotu and Christian Standhardinger set the tone.
“You look at it, they’re your five best players,” Arnold said. “The No. 1 team rule we have is compete. It’s a central part of our culture. And the one thing I was upset about … I’m not too upset about execution this time of year. But you compete and I didn’t feel like they competed at the level they need to compete. And that’s what upset me. But I thought they competed (Wednesday).”
Fotu isn’t normally a magnet for criticism during practices going back to his successful freshman season. He seemed to take it pretty well, though.
“It was embarrassing,” Fotu said. “We just said we’re not going to let it happen again. So that’s why we responded the way we did.”
Center Davis Rozitis summed it up best.
“Everybody came back locked in and ready to work,” he said. “Coaches were pleased with our work today. And it was more fun to do the things we did today than it was yesterday. It’s not fun to get cussed out. It’s fun when you get encouraged for doing a good job, you get dap, and that’s what happened today. You get support from coaches, from each other. … I think we didn’t turn the ball over as much and I think communication was great. Since we were communicating, there were less turnovers. Better passes, more teamwork. The ball was moving, everybody was rebounding and competing.”
The team had Thursday off and will get back at it on Friday.
For those of you anxious to watch the team’s next officiated intrasquad scrimmage, it’s currently planned for 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Stan Sheriff Center. Keep in mind times and venues can change swiftly if you plan to go.
Thursday wasn’t bereft of hoops news. UH announced its Halloween exhibition against Brigham Young-Hawaii It will be UH’s only exhibition, not including the Oct. 19 Green & White scrimmage at the Stan Sheriff.
UH is encouraging fans to bring canned goods to donate to the Hawaii Foodbank. It being Halloween, kids who come in costume will receive candy at the main gate, which would hopefully help negate what they’d be missing out on during a regular trick-or-treat session around the neighborhood. (Admission is free whether or not you bring canned food … or a kid.) One can argue the merits of a 7 p.m. game on one of the more popular days of the year (for kids and adults), but it’s happening. It will be interesting to see the level of turnout.
Including regular-season games against Chaminade (on Kauai) and Hawaii Hilo (at the Sheriff) UH will now see three-quarters of the local PacWest Division II contingent this season. There’s still time to work in Hawaii Pacific for the clean sweep! Get PacWest commish Bob Hogue on the phone.
As I reported on Thursday (sub content), Arnold will be taking a trip to Louisville early next week to do some recruiting in the area, and sit in on two of Rick Pitino’s practices. What are your thoughts on this? Is it a worthy use of time and resources? The ‘Bows are off Tuesday and Wednesday, so Arnold won’t be missing time with them and if all goes well it could result in some new tactics from one of the best teams and coaches in the country.
Though Pitino has at times been reluctant to acknowledge his history as a UH assistant and interim head coach, he could have a soft spot for one of the places he got his start.
Nothing new on the Josh Fox recruiting front yet.
It’s been a frustrating preseason so far for redshirt freshman center Caleb Dressler. He’s missed close to a week of action now with a bulging disc in his back, and isn’t expected to return through this weekend.
“It’s just really sore. It sucks having to watch this but I feel good,” he said. “It’s getting there. Hopefully be cleared by next Wednesday. … Last Monday, just got hit really hard and it kept bugging me. … It hasn’t been the same. So I haven’t been able to really go when I’ve wanted to.”
Meanwhile, true freshman Stefan Jovanovic has been active as the next big man behind Rozitis. He’s fairly mobile when he wants to be and, with Dressler out, has seen an increased minutes workload. Arnold has said he wants one of those two players to assert themselves for rotation time. If the season started now, it would be Jovanovic.
“It’s incredibly frustrating for me,” Dressler said. “Last year I had to sit and watch everybody else do their thing. … But this is the time where I figure out in the rotation and show Coach I want to play, show Coach I have everything I need down. And just having to sit hurts me because it’s almost like I’m taking up more time than I’ve already (taken).”