Opening night notes from the ‘Bows Show

The first five minutes of Hawaii’s mens basketball season-opener last night against Montana State was close to a perfect blend of what the fans, the players and first-year head coach Eran Ganot all want to see out of the Rainbow Warriors this season.

The best of both worlds. Excitement and discipline. And a 10-point lead.

The Rainbows spent the next 20 minutes expanding that lead to 26 points, and then gave back most of it to stagger in with an 87-76 win over a team that, to be generous, is just not very good.

There’s been much hand wringing from fans worried that Ganot would mess up a good thing by demanding much more structure than was required last year when the Rainbows won 22 games largely through pressure defense and transition. It was fun to watch, but in crunch-time situations when UH needed to do something efficient and effective in the half-court, it came up lacking.

The alarmists haven’t been listening closely to Ganot; he has repeatedly said he isn’t trying to neuter this team and play away from its strengths. His preseason message has been consistent in that the system (4-out, 1-in motion on offense) is not “his,” it is the team’s, and the key will be compromise by all to bring out the best.

What it boils down to is picking your spots to press, picking your spots to run, picking your spots to shoot. Also, more organized back-end defense so when a press is broken, there’s at least somewhat of a semblance of some protection on the other end. The same idea comes into play on help defense in the half court.

Of course, making the first six shots to take a 16-6 lead in those first five minutes is what made everybody happy … but how it was done — a variety of solid basketball concepts combined with the aggressiveness of last season — bodes well for the future. There were easy baskets off of steals and nice passes, there were well-selected 3-point shots. There was frenetic energy, there was disciplined patience.

If Hawaii can play that way for an entire 40 minutes (or at least a good share of it) and against better competition, this will be a very good team.

A few more observations from the opener:

*Hawaii doesn’t have a go-to outside shooter it can count on every game. But, UH does have several who are capable of getting hot. Last night it was Sai Tummala who hit his first five 3-pointers in a row and was a big part of the Rainbows separating from the Bobcats. In the exhibition against Chaminade, it was Brocke Stepteau. Stepteau made 4-of-8 3-pointers in the overtime win against the ‘Swords, but was 0-for-1 in just 4 minutes last night.

This is an interesting team in that the two starters who may be the best outside shooters are Aaron Valdes and Stefan Jankovic — who at 6-foot-6 and 6-11 are also the most effective around the rim. They were much better from close range last night, combining for 33 points while a combined 1-of-8 from 3-point land.

Often it is WHEN you hit a long shot that is most important. When Roderick Bobbitt made his first 3-point attempt early, it helped open up other things for the UH point guard who finished with 14 assists, as the Bobcats did not feel they could sag off Bobbitt and let him shoot.

This is a team that will depend on different players stepping up from outside on different nights.

*Best stat for UH? Zero. No technical fouls for Hawaii, in the Chaminade exhibition or last night.

The Rainbows have grown up some since the end of last season. There was significantly less complaining to the officials after calls that went against them last night. I agree that at times it’s important to voice displeasure if a call is blatant, but do it too much and the refs at best don’t listen to you, and at worst you and your team become targets, as happened last season; it’s not good when your penchant for complaining becomes a “point of emphasis” for the officials.

Whatever attitude problems sophomore guard Isaac Fleming may have projected leading to his preseason “personal leave” did not manifest themselves last night. He looked rusty at times, scoring 6 points in his 22 minutes. But he also showed flashes of brilliance as he did often as a freshman last season. The development of Fleming’s talent, but within the team framework on and off the court is one of the X-factors to how far this team can go this season.

*Worst stat for UH? Nine-for-20.

Obvious, but important: You cannot shoot 45 percent on free throws in the second half, regardless of score. If the game were just a couple of minutes later, the ‘Bows could have squandered what was a 26-point lead with 14:33 left. Lose focus at the line, and it will bite you hard eventually.


  1. H-Man November 14, 2015 12:29 pm

    Warriors are an exciting team to watch.

  2. poorboy November 14, 2015 1:34 pm

    jam Rod up, double or just physical him up, he gets frustrated, team slows down, and he cannot facilitate. Opponents, have 12 guys play, just use up fouls, and get super physical with UH bringing ball up and setting into that 4 out 1 in, .. you are right Dave, not enough consistent shooters..the Good teams, even mediocre, that have this game film scout on UH.. Zone UH, match up and bloody UH up, just knock them on their okoles.. UH still the finesse team, a big physical team, bigs, and good perimeter athletes. will beat UH quite easily.
    Too bad, dumb UH did not keep Benjy for consistency, even if some guys said did not want him least the defense would still be there. and Benjy KNEW.. that back line guy was supposed to pick up guys the guards lost.. plus he never had time to develop good half court sets.. why? they fired his boss Gib,. and Benjy had to scramble, if not for Benjy just going high road. and helping team to BWC championship game. last year? a bust.. and Ganot would still be coach, however with a team, no legacy, continuity, just 9 walkons from Australia.. and Sweden.
    Hope bows do good, I like the team, not the politics that brought in the 5th choice for MBB..auwe..

  3. Hossana November 14, 2015 2:15 pm

    Definitely the news media and the new A.D. did not want Benji back even though they gave him encouraging news that if he cont. to win, he would be back but the excuses they used such as lack of discipline etc..was sufficient to warrant for a new coach. THAT’S ALL B.S. Taylor only had less than 2 wks. to have the team buy-in and incorporate a system offensively and defensively..yes, there were technicals etc. but that was a lack of maturity and discipline, yes, I admit, but if Benji had returned, do you not think he would have addressed those problems with the team and have implemented a more consistent policy…remember, he was under the gun and had to win to keep his job so he thought and even though he did more than expected and won beyond expectations, the slant of the news media and the A.D. was not in favor of him returning and even now, there are “cracks” at Taylor’s coaching and lack of discipline and that because there was no tech. fouls, its better under the new coach…….this is all B.S……..don’t get me wrong, I’m glad UH won but I’m not happy, and there is a bunch of us, about 15 of us that watch the game every week at different bars, all felt Benji had the “raw deal.” Oh, well, isn’t that typical of the way UH operates behind their bureaucracy………GO WARRIORS!!

  4. Dave Reardon November 14, 2015 2:20 pm

    There’s stuff we couldn’t report due to privacy issues, things that you apparently don’t know about … go ahead and call it “politics” if you want … that’s the catch-all when people don’t know the reasons things happen. But when you imply that “the media” — at least speaking for myself — is in alliance with UH against certain people, you truly have no idea what you are talking about.

  5. Hoosier November 14, 2015 2:47 pm

    Oh stop with the rants Poorboy et al. One minute you are saying all teams need to do is bloody UH players, zone the and knock them on their butts. These are the SAME players who suddenly become world beaters under Benji. You and Hossanna are ridiculous. Wanna support Benji? Go buy a new car (if you can afford it). Now go take your nap.

  6. poorboy November 14, 2015 3:44 pm


    There are much much more that feel the way we do, darn UH admin and politics which include the spin from SA pundits.. man all in cahoots together, it is sickening, and they are making the loyal long time fans feel really queasy about the whole thing. Hey , just like you, are old time bunch, since the Fab Five, and before that fans of MBB program, loyal. feel this is The Agenda to rid UH of Gib/ Benjy and get Eran or Riley in at any cost.. It will come back to bite them in the arse for sure.
    Me too, I love that they won, however when TV pans to coaching staff I cringe, when those mini pre , before half and post game interviews with Ganot, are on, I just mute or turn tv off. HIS team, yes, BS.. it should be BT, Benjy Taylor team, the black coaches of America, Espn, CBS sports, Fox west sports all the commentators. when asked, should Benjy get the job, when he was at about 18 wins.. every single one of them said yes. as for the other personal stuff? they never addressed it, that is Eran, and we don’t hate him or his bride.. the SA comes out with that article HOW good is our guy, angelic.. I say , shoots, HOSSANA. .. we will not get justice, Benjy thrown to the curb.. UNLESS.. something comes out of the Dallas NCAA hearings.. and admin, and those power that be, get their arses. whacked that would be justice.
    However you , your friends and many many more, we support team, know that Benjy got BS raw deal

  7. Hoosier November 14, 2015 4:05 pm

    What part of STOP do you not get? Ur conspiracy theories were old six months ago and are even staler now. Go watch Benji sell cars if you need that fix. You can get all the looks you want. I say you need to take a hard look in the mirror if you say the story about the Ganot family is a way for the media to make him look like an angel. Really? You go that low on a story about a family death and the raising of a small child? What happened to Ohana??? What happened to Pono? You should be ashamed of yourself. Get a life and grow up. And get off that high horse.

  8. Dave Reardon November 14, 2015 4:18 pm

    It’s BS that no technical fouls are better than having more than the rest of the conference combined? What world are you from where players constantly getting technical fouls is better than a disciplined team that doesn’t commit any?

  9. amela November 14, 2015 4:57 pm

    I guess Hose Anna and Poor buddy would coach a bunch of kids that would taunt at the other players and swear at the refs as part of their practice. Real respectful, op BS.

  10. Iron Man November 14, 2015 6:33 pm

    Well there goes poor boy with his famous fragmented comments Get off the the Benjy krap already. He didn’t get hired. Move on for god sakes. For the first game in a new system and staff the guys did relatively well. Fleming was off two weeks he’s rusty They ousted the floor well on transition. Foul shooting needs to be practiced continually.

  11. Iron Man November 14, 2015 6:37 pm

    Move on Poorboy your constant negativity is baseless. This is a new era. The guys did fine for a first game for the season. Much to learn and improve on. They pushed the ball well on transition Coastal Carolina will b a tough game go Warriors !

  12. pali November 14, 2015 6:42 pm

    The free throw plague by UH late in the second half made this game closer than it should have been. When Thomas missed the entire rim on his second free throw after missing the first signified how much their free throw shooting needs to improve. I don’t know if it was nerves, lack of practice or a little of both, but if Eran wants to implement more structure and discipline, he might want to start off with his players executing free throw perfection.

  13. Hoosier November 14, 2015 6:57 pm

    He is from the world of 15 guys at a bar. Now that is what I call credibility!

  14. al November 15, 2015 12:36 am

    Poor kid/Roseanne ( I refuse to refer to you as a biblical figure), it’s obvious you are not “we” but rather one in the same.

    You are obviously not privileged about some of stuff surrounding the former interim coach.

    BT had the opportunity to reach a one year extension. However, turned it down, instead hoping to seek more money later. Big mistake. The need for more green backfired.

    During a road trip an issue regarding a telltale odorous smoke residue was swept under the rug. It did occur in a hotel that the traveling rainbows were housed.

    Although, no “issues” surfaced in the NCAA investigations, surely one cannot believe some issues were not of concern.

    There’s quite a bit more. But, the AD did it correctly by hiring new blood that was not linked to the latter nor would not uphold the ethical standards of the state’s university.

  15. Amosilatus November 15, 2015 6:22 am

    The team looked good but inconsistent, but that’s to be expected with a new system. I like the more disciplined play–it’s going to pay off in those tight games.

  16. hossana November 15, 2015 8:15 am

    Apologies to Dave Reardon. You’re right. There’s many things that the public are not privy, too, and are confidential and border on privacy issues. I was just upset about B.T. getting “the shaft” but you’re right about privacy issues that we are not privy too that people like yourself are privy but cannot report it. My apologies which I hope you will accept. Thanks. Cheers.
    P.s. I know you folks in the media take a lot of grief from people like myself but that’s the nature of the job and I commend people like yourself, Tsai, Mcinnes for having “tough skin” as they say.

  17. Dave Reardon November 15, 2015 9:23 am

    hossana: Sure, no worries … I can understand the frustration of the situation, and how it would appear that Benjy Taylor deserved an opportunity to be the long-term coach of the team that he kept together under very trying circumstances. I know it’s got to hurt, and the fans feel that hurt, too. I would say he was the right guy at the right time last year. As was pointed out, he did have a chance to accept an extension (granted, under not very advantageous terms), but declined. From the perspective of a columnist, Benjy was excellent; intelligent, passionate, articulate — what we call “good copy.” … If this team continues to develop and do well this season, he will deserve credit for keeping them together and building their confidence despite the turmoil of last season. I would hope that UH would recognize that by acknowledging him, perhaps on senior night. This team plays hard, and plays for each other … Benjy Taylor instilled that in them last season.

  18. poorboy November 15, 2015 12:45 pm

    Yes, Dave, a lot of fans, we all got very attached to Benjy Ball.. Wish him the best.
    As for UH, well, looks like they are starting to clean things up, make sure Admin on down are good to go.
    We all want student athletes to graduate, be good citizens, have FUN, and get some wins.
    Go Bows !

  19. poorboy November 15, 2015 2:01 pm

    still the fanbase, the alumni, supporters, donors, and UH students,we re curious about findings, results, .. what NCAA will or will not hand down in Januay or whenever.
    interesting that Lead Counsel Ms. Okinaga, said that is more concern, the ncaa decision regarding ncaa allegations, than the Gib settlement, we know you or UH, cannot comment.. however, we ALL want that be pau and move on

  20. Dave Reardon November 15, 2015 2:46 pm

    I can comment on some of that, and have: It is horrendous what UH allowed to happen in the Arnold contract, and UH officials acted like it was nothing. Ridiculously negligent, but they patted themselves on the back like giving a guy they fired $800,000 they didn’t intend to (plus court fees) was some kind of “win.”

  21. Hoosier November 16, 2015 1:51 pm

    Agree that Gib contract clause was MASSIVE screw up. No one in their right mind could look at that payout as a net positive for an organization that throws money around and then simply asks for more. I know there are privacy issues but this kind of mistake would result in numerous heads rolling anywhere else. And props to Benjy but honoring him at Senior night is not a good idea. For his supporters it is disappointing to see him go but everyone needs to move on. Not getting a job happens to people all the time. Life goes on. I am sure Benjy himself is moving on so his supporters should do the same

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