UH whiffs on another

Heading into the final day of the spring signing period Wednesday, there was some hope Hawaii could pick up a much-needed big man in the form of Navarro (Texas) College 6-foot-10, 290-pound center Jaleel Cousins.

Jaleel Cousins

Nope. Cousins, who I’m told visited UH recently with his older brother DeMarcus of the NBA, elected to sign with South Florida on Tuesday.

That’s two known recruits in a row UH could not close the deal on, after point guard target Joey Frenchwood recently committed to Montana State.

Another big UH is going after, 6-7 Sammis Reyes, reportedly remains uncommitted after his recent campus visit.

While UH can add players with non-binding scholarship agreements until the fall semester, getting another official signee surely would have helped quell fears of a light 2014-15 class (as of now, just guards Isaac Fleming and Roderick Bobbitt) going into the summer.

As of right now, UH’s front line for the coming season is Isaac Fotu, Stefan Jovanovic, Stefan Jankovic (starting in December), Mike Thomas, and in a pinch, Negus Webster-Chan.

The ‘Bows might be able to squeeze somebody in on Wednesday, but the bottom line right now is this signing class is shaping up as a disappointment amid the ongoing NCAA investigation.


  1. poorboy May 20, 2014 7:03 pm


    : hope UH Can get the rim protector..even up until fall semester..you are right the ncaa investigation through a wrench into recruiting..if Gib could at last minute get a hs or jc role defender provide depth..would make uh mbb faithful real happy..hope for best..these ncaa things take so long..wish they would finish soon..

  2. Hodad May 20, 2014 7:05 pm

    losing a player to Montana State shows how far this program has fallen.

  3. Pocho May 20, 2014 7:13 pm

    Guess we could scratch off Keondre Dew since we didn’t hear/read anything about him visiting UH other than Gib making a home visit there.

  4. innocent observer May 20, 2014 7:53 pm

    with potential sanctions by the NCAA, many players are reluctant to commit, not knowing if the coach will be there and/or some kind of suspension or restriction will be imposed. don’t know why jay did not wait to renew Arnold’s contract until after the investigation and matters finalized. if the sanctions are major, it would be very expensive to fire a coach whose contract has just been renewed. there is something wrong, a coach and players are leaving, not good.

  5. poorboy May 20, 2014 8:10 pm


    is innocent right did ben jay get gib to sign and agree to multi year extension?
    If innocent is correct..it should help now not hinder Gib recruiting..

    Still think if such a huge serious hit, AD, Coach and staff, office all suspended,.. and gone..look for interim coach..see how plays out..

  6. balut May 20, 2014 8:12 pm

    UH upper campus is not stupid , contract not signed, still in limbo awaiting this investigation, wait and see what happens at this point.

  7. poorboy May 20, 2014 8:12 pm

    If still actively recruiting ..uh must know they will still be intact coming season with minor damage..so good that uh mbb got negus and fotu..

  8. kimo browner May 20, 2014 8:18 pm

    Black clouds hanging over Manoa and it aint VOG. Shucks, fans were hoping this year Hawaii could separate from the middle of the pack in the BWC. TOO many variables attached to the NCAA investigation heading into the summer. bummer. I know what I am about to say has been well stated by many posters–we need stronger leadership at the top.

  9. Brian McInnis May 21, 2014 3:52 am

    From what I heard, the contract is not finalized and likely won’t be completed while the investigation is ongoing.

  10. Pocho May 21, 2014 5:43 am

    balut, I’d 2nd guess your “UH upper campus is not stupid”. Lets not forget:

    Past UH Presidents taking UH for the ride
    Past AD’s
    Past Coaches
    the Sand change for the New Sand Volleyball Court
    the New Softball redo
    the Stevie Wonder scam
    the delayed Sports Complex completion

    those above are recent happenings within the past 10 years or so and there maybe other incidents not reported in the media that we don’t know of.

  11. poorboy May 21, 2014 6:58 am


    If that is the case, the continued investigation NCAA, Gib not signed till it is over, His recruiting for this May probably shot…As you stated in above piece about Cousins, …his decision could be, probably is related to Gib no contract and ongoing investigation.

    If today May 21 , some last minute guy signed LOI, that would be almost a miracle. As above post said, This Was the Year, for big things…We still have to be patient, and NCAA seems to want to drag this thing on through summer, …
    I don’t particulars, I hope it is minor hit, if any..the guys in program seem like very outstanding young guys, as a whole, and their supporters..head scratcher, why would anyone want to mess up? Crazy…UH MBB was on the upswing..Just have to be patient, however, really downer for UH MBB faithful!!

  12. Hoosier May 21, 2014 7:29 am

    So Cousins going to South Florida. And we should be upset about that? We assume it is because of ongoing investigation. Maybe there are other personal reasons. And Frenchwood going to Montana has probably more to do with logjam at guard than anything else. Bobbitt, Fleming, Jankovic not a bad class. Disappointing only because the investigation hampered efforts to grab some more skilled players. It seems to me that there is quite a bit of “the sky is falling” going on, Let’s see what NCAA reports. If minor infractions or penalties then everyone who assumed the worst can turn their wrath to them for taking so long to do their job.

  13. poorboy May 21, 2014 8:25 am

    Hoosier: That is one of the most balanced observation made in a long time.
    NCAA investigation, since UH side cannot reveal details, would compromise the inquiries, it is really a lot of speculation on our part, and perhaps Wild Rumors.
    Still think if it were those BCS school blatant, over the top violations, UH with the admin. and BOR or whomever at the top, shutting down AD and Coaches, players.
    Could be a lot of minor things, …correctable…and whomever responsible suffer consequence.
    The dragging on by NCAA, is like a mini sanction in itself, might hurt recruiting, if guys lined up could not wait out the investigation.
    I am thinking of the Minor infractions, discipline dealt out to dept, or person involved and UH will be intact, and having a great season, next…remember, Gib can still offer those non binding scholarship agreements till Aug fall semester starts. Still Hope …staying Positive. Why not..better than negative, really no rendering of decision, and NCAA , the ONE guy taking so long, to get to conclusion.? Auwe!

  14. Forbes May 21, 2014 8:34 am

    Gib has no other option but to continue recruiting. However, it’s like trying to sell a car with a recall likely to happen on that model that he’s selling. A very tough sell. I’m worried that Flemings and Bobbitt will ask for a release if the NCAA comes down. I’m glad that the contract is being held up til the NCAA findings are published and sanctions are handed down. I like holding one scholarship for a potential transfer but by only having 11 scholarship guys on the roster vs 13 for most teams will hamper us.

  15. Andrew May 21, 2014 9:33 am

    I find it hard to believe that with the investigation going this long that it is going to end with no penalties or consequences at all. It really was a tough situation for Ben Jay though. Already the investigation hurts recruiting since recruits but even more so it would hurt if it was known that Gib’s future was in doubt. However if they just sign him right away and then there are major sanctions imposed by the NCAA and the staff was at fault, then they are stuck with a coach with a fresh new contract that would be very tough to buy out.

  16. Pupu May 21, 2014 10:19 am

    I was at a KAC youth basketball meeting yesterday, and Akana said they just sighned a big man and was expecting another commit today. Who was he talking about then?

  17. poorboy May 21, 2014 10:31 am

    Andrew: yes. Kind of in a weird Limbo or Twilight Zone episode!
    Just have to wait…If Ben had executed the contract a few months ago, maybe, some kids would have signed earlier, I don’t know.
    Even Gib stated, would be challenge to get Bigs late, however they were locked in to a couple.
    It is like the MBB program is in suspended animation. Still think, that not death penalty, huge long probation..could be loss of scholarship, or guys sit out games, or whatnot.
    NCAA, the sooner, they render findings the better..
    I just think, Gib and staff, even office, people would be really unwise, not Akamai, to let a HUGE violation occur, they KNEW the past to 1976 and what happened, and every coach since, ran a clean program..It would be crazy not too. UH was under watch for several years after the 1976 imposed 2 year probation…JMO…you can have penalties, there are levels of it from NCAA..some do not involve probation, loss of post season, that is what MBB fans are hoping for…I am sure.

  18. amela May 21, 2014 11:18 am

    Opposing coaches using these investigations to sway recruits, smart thing to do. UH needed to rush this investigation as much as possible or find out what the penalties would be if found guilty of infractions. At least the recruits would have some kind of idea to the situation at hand.

  19. Manoa Mist May 21, 2014 11:36 am

    It’s already been reported that the NCAA has found “lots of small violations” which add up to at least a Level II investigation. They ain’t going to keep expanding an investigation if everything was/is hunky dory. Gib was at USC when they got hit. He’s admitted a mistake was made in falsifying federal documents to get a player eligible here. NCAA taking a looong look and they have got to have reasons for that.

  20. balut May 21, 2014 11:42 am

    Mismanagement on all levels at UH is inherent in the system and has been for decades, look at the level of maintenance ,even when the money was there , it was wasted, contractors ,people overseeing them ,all to blame, when i walk on campus ,many of the buildings and surrounding landscape look in the same run down condition as it did 25yrs ago.
    They build it but dont maintain it. Les Murkami Stadium is another piece of history thats rundown. Getting back to BB, there aint going to be any good signees avail till this muddy mess is cleared and cleaned. The Kaka stinks from the top down.

  21. Pocho May 21, 2014 12:10 pm

    you only needed to read Dave’s “The fan” article and see maybe why the NCAA expanded it’s investigation. What the fan said hit the fan!

  22. Andrew May 21, 2014 12:13 pm

    Knock on wood but I have a feeling this is gonna end up being either loss of scholarships, postseason ban, or even both. This program definitely can’t afford to take a hit like that.

  23. Pocho May 21, 2014 3:07 pm

    Pupu forgive me. hahahahahahahaha, is that the short version of … .

    ending with the “le”

    Sorry, Pupu, just having some fun in these tense times with UHbb investigation

  24. poorboy May 21, 2014 5:11 pm

    Brian: I cannot believe it!! Sammis Reyes signs!!


  25. Hoosier May 21, 2014 5:28 pm

    UH did not falsify a federal document. Someone caught a changed date , corrected it, and reported it. What worries me more is the “fan” who doesn’t buy season tickets but has players over for potluck and counseling sessions. How about stay away from these kids unless you are in some official capacity with men’s BB. That one could be the killer (lack of institutional control). Can only hope coaches keep better eye on who players associate with and supposed “fans” quit sticking their nose where it does not belong.

  26. Pocho May 21, 2014 5:33 pm

    Forgive me Pupu, you dah man!

    like you say Akana mentioned signing a Big!

  27. Duster May 21, 2014 5:45 pm

    Here a link re. UH presser on signing of Sammis Reyes:


    It must be true because it’s on the internet. LOL!

  28. Hoosier May 21, 2014 6:08 pm

    Love it. Can’t wait for Dave’s column tomorrow. Must be an illusion because Gib is losing kids to MONTANA and SOUTH FLORIDA!! So how could he beat out Wichita State?? Should be interesting reading.

  29. Turfwar May 21, 2014 6:27 pm

    Counting the redshirts this is a great class. Can’t wait till next year!

  30. jkobnaks May 21, 2014 7:02 pm

    Frenchwood wasn’t offered by UH. There’s no whiff when the choice is a full ride v. walking on. And Cousins has a stronger connection with the new head coach at South Florida which is in the AAC. To imply that both chose to go elsewhere because of the investigation is a travesty.

    Interested to see how the SA will put a negative spin on the Sammis Reyes signing . . .

  31. Hoosier May 21, 2014 7:32 pm

    Well put. Couldn’t be better said. Mahalo for saying it, jkobnaks!

  32. Pocho May 21, 2014 7:36 pm

    I only read what’s printed and assume things, did any media person say Frenchwood was offered? and who says Frenchwood wasn’t offered.

    I enjoy the reads

  33. Brian McInnis May 21, 2014 7:48 pm

    Here’s Frenchwood talking about being offered by UH. http://courtsense.staradvertiserblogs.com/2014/04/29/2-new-recruiting-names/

    Cousins was just here on a visit before he chose to go to USF. I didn’t say the investigation is why UH missed out on him, but to believe that it had no bearing on the way this signing period played out is wishful thinking.

    I wrote about Reyes for tomorrow’s paper. If you’re expecting something negative, well, sorry to disappoint you.

  34. Pocho May 21, 2014 7:58 pm

    Thank Mr. McInnis, I do enjoy all of the media coverage on the current happenings with UHbb. There’s so much hatred out on the net, so pessimistic on the investigation which is rightfully so but it’s really discouraging. Nice to read some positives

    Keep it coming, your doing a fine job!

  35. Hoosier May 21, 2014 8:15 pm

    You are pretty accurate in your assessments, Brian . Now Dave is another story but I realize he is a columnist and needs to stir it up . But looks like Dave “whiffed ” on his premise that recruiting was over for this year due to the ongoing investigation. Can’t win ‘me all .

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