Welcome to Court Sense // Recruit passes on UH // WAC preseason polls

Hey everybody, welcome to Court Sense, my blog on University of Hawaii basketball as I cover the Rainbow Warriors on a daily basis for the Star-Advertiser.

I hope to offer up some insights from practices as Gib Arnold guides his new team through a period of challenging transition in Manoa.

Expect to see occasional items about UH women’s basketball, as well.

I’m also new to blogging, so feedback is always appreciated. Thanks for reading!

— Brian McInnis


Deshawn Stephens, a 6-foot-8 power forward at Santa Monica (Calif.) College, gave his verbal commitment to Utah State today, according to the Corsairs’ athletics website.

Stephens was one of two players to take an official visit to UH over the weekend. He took in the UH Ohana Hoopfest on Friday night and seemed to get a kick out of the coaches’ haka. But apparently, the Aggies’ winning pedigree was too much to overcome. San Diego State and Long Beach State were his other choices.

UH currently has two scholarships available for the 2011-12 season.


Today, the big news was that the Rainbows were selected last among the nine teams in the Western Athletic Conference in both the coaches and media polls. Not a huge surprise; voters tend to go with returning talent as much as anything, and UH returns just one starter (point guard Hiram Thompson) from last year’s last-place team.

Utah State, the defending regular-season champion, was the pick to win the WAC in both polls, followed by New Mexico State.

There are just so many questions about UH that can’t be answered immediately, as there is much for the young ‘Bows to learn from Arnold and his assistants. Of course, the team has much loftier goals than its projected finish.

No UH players were picked to the preseason All-WAC teams.

“I’ve been here three years, I know we have a good team,” senior forward Bill Amis said at practice today. “That’s just what writers and coaches have said. But we’re going to go out, and we’re going to prove them wrong.”

Arnold had a pretty good line in a post-practice session with the media. He’s already turned the polls into bulletin-board material.

“Sure, you use it as a positive,” he said. “And again, if the polls were what mattered, we would just not even have a season. So, besides, it’s guys like you in the media voting for us. I know you guys don’t know anything, so we’re definitely taking that as a positive.”

A look at the two polls (first-place votes in parentheses):


1. Utah State (8)  64 points; 2. New Mexico State (1) 55; 3. Nevada 47; 4. Boise State 36, Fresno State 36; 6. San Jose State 32; 7. Louisiana Tech 24; 8. Idaho 19; 9. Hawaii 11.


1. Utah State (19) 259 points; 2. New Mexico State (8) 237; 3. Nevada (2) 190; 4. San Jose State (1) 135; 5. Fresno State 133; 6. Boise State 129; 7. Louisiana Tech 116; 8. Idaho 78; 9. Hawaii 73.

All-WAC preseason teams: The coaches and media first teams were identical, except for the preseason player of the year picks. Utah State, not surprisingly, got plenty of love with four players on the media first and second teams.

Coaches first team—Adrian Oliver, San Jose State Sr. G; Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State Jr. F; Wendell McKines, New Mexico State Sr. F; Greg Smith, Fresno State So. C; Tai Wesley, Utah State Sr. F (player of the year).

Media first team—Adrian Oliver, San Jose State Sr. G (player of the year); Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State Jr. F; Wendell McKines, New Mexico State Sr. F; Greg Smith, Fresno State So. C; Tai Wesley, Utah State Sr. F.

Coaches second team—Olu Ashaolu, Louisiana Tech Jr. F; Nate Bendall, Utah State Sr. F; Daequon Montreal, Boise State Sr. F; Tyler Newbold, Utah State Sr. G; Pooh Williams, Utah State Sr. G/F

Media newcomer of the year—Brockeith Pane, Utah State Jr. G.


Oh, here’s a note on the Rainbow Wahine already, who were picked seventh in the coaches poll and eighth in the media poll for Dana Takahara-Dias’ second season.

Alert hoops fans might have noticed senior point guard Keisha Kanekoa walk off the floor awkwardly early in the women’s celebrity game during the UH Ohana Hoopfest on Friday night, with what looked to be a rolled ankle.

She was back in action with the team the next morning. No missed time.

That’s it for now!


  1. Dave Reardon October 19, 2010 11:35 pm

    Good stuff. Who came up with the great name for the blog?

  2. pupulepaul October 19, 2010 11:43 pm


  3. Eagle October 19, 2010 11:48 pm

    Welcome Aboard, Brian !

    Look forward to Maximum Scoops !

    With No Real basis other than seeing the videos & scouting reports and seeing the organizational skills & track record of the coaches, i suspect the Men’s & women’s teams will exceed (or significantly exceed) the pre-season projections; No Basis but such lack of imagination on the sports writers’ parts (similar to some of the BCS Polls that even use LAST Year’s finishes as starting points — That ONLY applies to the returning half of teams); The FAB Five, Riley’s Second (First Recruiting) and June’s First teams were ALL examples of teams with “overnight” success based on coaching AND/or recruiting …

    In the case of na wahine, to get TWO Bangers like Carlotta Mingo ( 11 JC RPG) who shoots much better than i expected and Kamila Jackson (25 points and 17 rebounds per game from the Number One team in the Country) plus TWO Good point guards (an area of team depletion last year) and the return of P-O-Yr Shawna Kuehu from injury, changes the whole complexion, chemistry, attitude & expectation of the team …

  4. Bill O'Rear October 20, 2010 12:11 am

    Hi Brian –

    Good job on your first basketball blog. Some good inside info as well as the WAC’s media and coaches poll. Of course, I like the quote from Arnold ripping you, but that’s the fun kind of stuff.

    Have fun covering the UH men and women this year and keeping basketball fans around the state updated.

    I’m friends with Dave Reardon and Paul Honda. Hopefully that doesn’t scare you and they’ll deny I know them. But all three of us love hoops … it’s a game for lifetime.

    Take care and play D-Reardon to the left, his right-handed dribble is a little weak.


    Bill O’Rear
    A diehard basketball fan

  5. Buffoman October 20, 2010 8:46 am

    I think it is okay to loose someone like that recruit who came and then chose USU. The young man probably made his mind up before he boarded the plane for Hawaii, which is also not unusual.

    Point here is that we want players who want to be a part of Coach Arnold’s team. A young man like that would probably not have dove for a loose ball, chase down a stolen ball going the other way, etc..

    We need that type of player to be successful.

  6. puuloke October 20, 2010 9:01 am

    Looking forward to the upcoming season and your insights. Please remember that we Hawaii Island fans love to hear about our hometown girls – all of them. We watched them grow-up, and now we are so proud to see them at the top level of college hoops. Aloha and Mahalo.

  7. Manoa Mist October 20, 2010 9:36 am

    Congrats on the blog bmcinnis!
    You know, I’m beginning to really like the Gibster. I don’t want to rub olive oil all over him or anything, but he comes across as a very sincere, hard working, fun guy.
    We’ll be buying some tickets this year.

  8. Dave Reardon October 20, 2010 11:57 am

    MM … olive oil?

  9. TerenceTwkWong[roygbivs] October 20, 2010 3:09 pm

    Aw, too bad about Stephens…. I hate it when they go to another WAC school, like Keith Shamburger of SJSU. I guess we just have to show them the Aloha spirit and give them a good ‘old poi pounding… Can’t wait to see this team!!!

  10. cocobean October 20, 2010 3:22 pm

    Bill O’Rear, diehard basketball fan and Vulcan Hall of Famer.

    Hey Brian, know what Rod Flemings is up to?

  11. Hoohiki October 20, 2010 3:40 pm

    Other than Minns, are there any other local boys on the team? Is Coach Arnold eyeing any HS players from our state?

  12. Imua45 October 20, 2010 3:42 pm

    Welcome to the blog Brian & keep that information coming about our men’s & women’s team. Our state loves basketball as much as football, so great to have that daily insider insight.

  13. bmcinnis October 20, 2010 6:07 pm

    Just Minns. The local boys from last year, Rykin Enos and Beau Albrechtson, are no longer on the team. Enos went back to football and Albrechtson is focusing on school.

  14. bmcinnis October 20, 2010 6:09 pm

    Rod is playing professionally in the Canary Islands (off the Northwest coast of Africa) in Spain’s second-tier league.

  15. cocobean October 20, 2010 10:33 pm

    Thanks Brian.

  16. Donaldo October 28, 2010 8:05 pm

    Hey Brian,
    I enjoyed reading your article today on Wahine player, Courtney Gaddis. It was a nice story about something in addition to just basketball. Those kind of stories help get us to know the players in a more well-rounded way. Keep them coming. Meanwhile, can’t wait for the season to start!!

Comments are closed.