Archive for March, 2012

Growing pains or disturbing trend?

March 28th, 2012
By dreardon



Does Joston Thomas leaving the University of Hawaii basketball program a year early raise concern? Or is it just symptomatic of the way things happen now in college hoops?

Are others on the way out, such as Vander Joaquim, Bobby Miles and Trevor Wiseman?

Is Hawaii the kind of program that can thrive with players coming and then going without using all their eligibility, or do the Rainbow Warriors need to develop players in order to compete?

***

What follows is something I wrote about Thomas in 2011 when Arnold basically but him in timeout for a few days for insubordination. Much of it is still applicable today.

When things are going well for him, Joston Thomas is the brightest star in the universe. When they’re not, he’s sullen and he’s sullen for all the world to see. To this point, the talented Hawaii sophomore forward never hid his emotions, and that’s part of what makes him so much fun to watch when he’s playing well, but it’s also a part of what got him in the doghouse.

Of course it’s disappointing to ride the bench when you’re used to playing heavy minutes. But you can’t show it to the whole arena. When you do that you’re disrespecting your teammates, your coach, and by extension, the entire program.

And you can’t continually argue with your coach and expect no repercussions.

Thomas is a very likable person, and seems to always means well. He tries to be a good teammate and is very genuine in his encouragement of his fellow Rainbows. But if he can’t function consistently as part of a unit — in good times and bad — he’s not going to be a good teammate or player, not to mention the team leader he wants to be, and could become with some maturity.

I’m glad first-year coach Gib Arnold and Thomas have patched things up. I look forward to watching Thomas electrify crowds at the Sheriff Center through the next couple of years. That is, if he truly realizes his role on the team. Because if he doesn’t do that and he becomes even more of a distraction, there’s no way Arnold can keep him on the team. Perhaps sitting in Honolulu while his teammates won a game on the road without him helped wake up Thomas.

Arnold’s goal, as it has been from the beginning, is to get Thomas to consistently perform in a way that helps the team; when Thomas doesn’t try to dribble or shoot from outside too much, he’s fine, he has some great games and helps the team win. When he gets fancy, he doesn’t. It’s simple as that.

When you have a young player who sometimes thrives on emotion but also sometimes hurts himself and his team with it, the question is if that emotion can be reigned in without breaking his spirit and losing the positive energy that can come when it is displayed at the right times.

In Joston Thomas’ case, I think it can. But he shouldn’t test Gib Arnold’s patience again if he likes playing basketball at UH.

Fast Pace … Satele to Colts

March 21st, 2012
By dreardon



By now you’ve heard or read about the uptempo pace of the Hawaii football practice on Tuesday, the first under new coach Norm Chow.

There was little wasted motion and plenty of verbal motivation from assistant coaches urging players to move quickly from drill to drill.

The intensity of pre-camp conditioning sessions prepared the players psychologically and physically for the pace.

“There were days when the goal was to grind us into the dirt and make us throw up,” quarterback David Graves said. “Some days like boot camp, a military regimen.”

Sounds like a big difference from the Super Games of the previous regime, when part of the offseason training was intramural-style competition in games like basketball and dodgeball.

***

According to numerous news reports, former UH center Samson Satele signed with the Indianapolis Colts today.

Statement win for Wahine

March 15th, 2012
By dreardon



That 3-1, 10-inning win by the University of Hawaii softball team over No. 1/2 Cal will make the college softball community that hasn’t already take the Wahine seriously.

Or at least it should.

Many of the sport’s elitists didn’t take UH seriously two years ago when the Wahine bashed their way to the Women’s College World Series because they saw UH as a one-dimensional team.

They were somewhat wrong then, but would be really wrong now if they cling to that view.

UH (23-1) is still a power-hitting squad, as evidenced by Jessica Iwata’s walk off, two run blast to beat the Bears — and 34 team homers in 24 games.

But the Wahine pitching and defense is better than two years ago, as well as their ability to manufacture runs.

Senior Stephanie Ricketts and junior Kaia Parnaby were good pitchers in 2010. Now they are routinely dominant and sometimes unhittable, even against top-level competition.

Parnaby threw a no-hitter Wednesday against Marist as UH bounced back from its first loss of the season, 4-0 on Tuesday against Texas. Ricketts allowed a home run in that loss, but bounced back to handcuff Cal for 10 innings on Thursday.

If they close out the Chevron tournament by beating Texas A&M and Winthrop, look for the Wahine to climb into the top ten in both polls next week.

Bob Coolen has fielded some fine teams over the years, but this is starting to look like it might be the best.

Huge win for Hawaii

March 8th, 2012
By dreardon



Hawaii’s 72-70 win over Idaho in the WAC Tournament today was one of the biggest in recent years for UH. The Rainbow Warriors came into the game without their top 3-point shooter and second-leading scorer, Zane Johnson, and had lost five games in a row. Also, they hadn’t won a WAC Tournament game since 2005.

To me, it changes the complexion of what might have ended as a losing season. That is guaranteed to not be the case as UH is now 16-15 overall. Tomorrow’s column is about how UH fans can dream for even more, since this is the time of year for that kind of thing.

Is there magic left for tomorrow night against New Mexico State? (By the way, this game will be televised by KFVE at 4 p.m. and repeated at 9:30 p.m.)

Coach Gib Arnold said it is the biggest win in his coaching career, even before UH.

Where do you rank it among UH’s all-time wins?

What now for Wahine hoops?

March 7th, 2012
By dreardon



Dana Takahara-Dias is done after three years of 10, 11 and 11 wins. She stabilized the program off the court after the dysfunction of the previous regime, but not enough improvement on the floor. 32-58 including no postseason wins and a WAC record of 15-31 is not going to cut it.

Who is the next hire? Is Gavin Petersen a better candidate than he was three years ago because of his one year on the UH staff? Or does that tarnish his record since he’s on the staff of the coach who was fired?

Former Hawaii Pacific coach Jeff Harada has some advocates. He’s now an assistant at Navy.