Thoughts on UH’s Hoops Exodus

April 16th, 2012

Yes, that is quite a trend. Three players with a combined five seasons of eligibility remaining departing from the University of Hawaii basketball team. And all three players started at one time or another for UH, and all three were recruited by coach Gib Arnold two years ago, members of his first class. It’s a class in which seven of nine members have left UH with eligibility remaining.

Did they jump or were they pushed? In the cases of Joston Thomas, Trevor Wiseman and Bobby Miles, good sources tell me they did not “decide” to leave as UH press releases tried to indicate, and that before the season ended they had reason to expect that they would not be invited back for next season — and that they knew this before the team went into the late-season losing streak.

Looking at them individually, I wouldn’t fault Arnold for deciding to cut ties, which is his option since scholarships are renewed annually. Thomas and Wiseman were both disruptive at times, and I think Wiseman’s fate was sealed as an early checkout from the program when he refused to check into a game. Only very talented players can even dream to get away with something like that and suffer only a one-game suspension. As for Miles he was simply not a Division I talent, and also got himself into the doghouse late in the season.

But Arnold does have to be held accountable for so many of his recruits not sticking, regardless who made the decisions to disengage. Especially if he told them they were gone before the end of the season. Especially if it results in an APR hit. Losing most of your guys early to be drafted by the NBA is a lot different than losing most of your guys because they didn’t meet on court or off court expectations.

And the excuse of not having enough time to recruit the year he was hired goes only so far. Perhaps, for the first year at least, he shouldn’t have gone as heavy on marginal high school talents (although I do like the philosophy of recruiting high school players and believe it can work at UH; this trend, however, is patience-testing for an impatient fan base). Then, last year, he went the other way and rolled the dice with talents who would be hard to get into school; most of them did not.

Arnold is polarizing. Those who don’t like him say this is the end of the world and want him fired, now. That’s ludicrous. Those who do say UH basketball is headed in the right direction and all this is just part of building a program. That’s giving him way too much of a pass, especially considering the big raise after last season.

If star center Vander Joaquim leaves — which Joaquim says will not happen because graduation is important to him (refreshing) and those who know the program best do not think will happen — then, we can rant and rave about Arnold losing control of the team. Joaquim would DEFINITELY not be leaving because the coach doesn’t want him around.

So, in my mind, the jury’s still out on Gib Arnold. But his apologists need to remember that these players who aren’t good enough now are players he told us were good enough when he brought them to UH.

42 Responses to “Thoughts on UH’s Hoops Exodus”

  1. innocent observer:

    gib appears to be so driven by success that he is willing to dump players who he thought could be part of the team. this kind of tactic will haunt him as players will talk and word will get around that gib only wants you to help himself, once he finds that you can not help him, he will dump you. Unless you are a great coach, this kind of recruiting strategy will not work, especially when rebuilding a low mid-major program. It is obvious that this program will not attract 3 to 5 stars players, so gib has to go to 0 stars or at max 2 stars. but with his current style, such players will have doubts about him and their future with the team. this will make recruiting good players more difficult because there is no assurance or respect for the player to be part of the team. maybe, it is not the right coach, we need a coach that players can look up to and respect, not being scared whether their tenure on the team will come crashing down.

  2. Derrick:

    I understand cutting Miles loose. He wasn’t going to see significant playing time so it is better he can go to a program where he can play. Thomas was a legend in his own mind. Wiseman was a head scratcher. I like his hustle. Although short on talent he played hard. We haven’t heard the whole story there. Gib has a lot of work to do. I’m willing to give him a pass…for now. What he does this upcoming season will go a long way in seeing just what kind of coach he is.

  3. heluhelu:

    I think your sources are dead *wrong* about Thomas unless there were eligibility issues involved — in which case, Thomas wasn’t so much “pushed” as disqualified from returning. Thomas was recruited by blue chip programs out of high school — including Kentucky. It showed on the court even & despite erratic play by the entire team, not just Thomas. I’m rooting for the guy to make an NBA camp, show enough during summer league and ink a deal, even if it is just for his rights, i.e., Dleague assignments. *If* Thomas realizes any success as a pro, it can only help Hawaii’s quest for quality bigs.

  4. jjay:

    This is the crucial recruiting period ,who will come, are they in good standing academically, are they good players ,enough to play and compete at this level, can he retain them and keep them here if so so that our APR doesnt suffer? All this coming and going isn’t the composition of a stable up and coming D1A mid major program. Recruit and retain the best possible student athletes no more smoke and mirrors. Wiseman it was reported only decided after he started off season training with the team that he wasn’t returning, in doing so I don’t think he was told prior to the season ends that he was not going to be retained,otherwise why do or get invited to the team workouts???

  5. jkjones:

    Either way, as Reardon points out, Gib has backed himself into a corner. Im one of those that allows coach more slack to get it right. I like his energy and contacts–he is as much on a learning curve as the players he recruits Too many moving parts revolving around Joston to make a judgement and as for the other players–mediocrity sucks.
    Basketball is a sport where one recruiting class can make a difference. Only five are allowed on the hard court. At least with Gib we can see the effort. In past regimes, recruiting was less than exciting and the coaches held on to bad stock. Still early and of course, the measuring stick remains the same as ever–win.

  6. Manoa Mist:

    I’ve been following UH basketball since 1971, and have never seen anything like this. Wiseman and Miles weren’t great players, but they were decent. They committed to us, did we commit to them? You recruit freshman, and the deal is you’re going to develop them on the court and in the classroom – not get rid of them in two years if you now think they ain’t good enough. Not sure what that is, but it sure ain’t ‘ohana, baby.

  7. hosssana:

    All of you critics of Arnold can talk up a storm about getting Arnold fired or that the program is in shambles etc…but do any of you realize the problems in recruiting decent..just decent basketball players to Hawaii??? its easy to say, well, Hawaii is an attraction in itself but saying and doing are two different things and Hawaii has to compete with 119 other Div. 1 schools and its not easy to have a recruit come to Hawaii and stay for 2 or 3 or even 4 yrs. Look at all the movement in other Div. 1 schools with recruits transferring or declaring for the NBA draft. Like I said, its not easy getting a recruit to play for Hawaii. So all you critics ..go ahead and moan and groan about Arnold but its a tough world out there and recruiting for basketball players…just decent players….is tough in itself not counting the academic requirements to go along with it, also. Wishing Arnold best of luck and for all you kitbitzers and critics…try go out and recruit yourself……that’s like telling a local football prospect choose between Hawaii and a USC or Oregon or Texas or Washington…..these local recruits want to go away..and you can’t blame them…as they see the opportunities playing in bowl games and not the minor league bowl game called the Aloha Bowl… be it……..

  8. joneszee:

    Hossana, I don’t think Gib needs your sympathy or from anyone else for that matter, he’s a big boy,a head coach , who knows what it now takes to maintain, or SUSTAIN a viable program, failing that he will
    acknowledge that he failed . He is hell bent on not repeating what his Dad did at UH , stay two years,and dug out, failure. Failure for Gib would be recruits not qualifying again, then , if that happens ,the bugga going jump off the Pali !

  9. Lance T.:

    My opinion is the same as Manoa Mist’s. This is no way to run a program. It’s embarrassing. I just hope that Jim Donovan is investigating this mess. I’ve been a loyal fan of UH basketball since the Fabulous Five days, and this is the first time I feel like boycotting their games. I don’t necessarily want Gib gone, but he’s got to start accepting responsibility for the players he brings in.

    And I believe Dave’s sources to be reliable because I heard the same thing, from a source I definitely trust. It all makes sense now. We were all wondering why the team went into a late-season tailspin, and at least for me, my suspicions have been confirmed. Just sad all the way around.

  10. kev-1:

    For Coach Gib’s sake, I hope your sources are right, but Dave, I have to ask . . . why would UH intentionally portray them students choosing to leave the program? Wouldn’t that affect recruiting? Why would recruits want to come to a school where most of the starters choose to leave? It just doesn’t make sense for UH press to put that kind of spin on the departures.

  11. kev-1:

    should say “portray them AS students choosing to leave” sorry

  12. cocobean:

    The biggest loss under Gib’s regime has got to be Walter Roese. He brought in Vander and is probably responsible for Standhardinger transfering to HI.

    It is troubling that 7 of the original 9 recruits have left mainly because it gives other schools a lot of ammo for negative recruiting. They can spin that fact into anything they want to as long it casts a negative light on Gib and the way he runs his program.

    No one knows how this situation will play out until the Bows hit the court next season.

  13. Robin:


    There are well over 300+ DI schools that compete in NCAA men’s basketball. That 119 is the number for football.

  14. tsboy:

    so Dave, you mean to tell me that Gib let those three guys know that he didn’t want them back before the last six games of the season? i’m no genius, but what coach is going to tell some of his players that they’ll be gone after the season, when the season isn’t over yet? so Gib did this to intentionally torpedo his chances of getting into the NCAAs or NIT when he knows how much is on the line for him. makes no sense. Josten had his problems, but was a very good player for most of the season. i find it hard to believe that Gib put up with Josten for two years, and just when the guy is starting to come into his own as a player, tells him he’s not wanted. Trevor wasn’t a great player but he was Gib’s kind of player, blue collar, high energy and tough. i doubt that Gib would want to get rid of him even with his limitations. as for Bobby, i’m with most of you. i would like the coach to stick with a player as long as he doesn’t break the rules and wants to be here.
    the truth is probably somewhere in the middle and most of us will probably never know the true story.

  15. Will Espero:

    No one has mentioned the pay raise Arnold received after one season. UH was wrong to hastily give him a raise. UH has to make better decisions when it comes to pay for new coaches.

  16. Dave Reardon:

    14. Yes, tsboy, I agree … makes no sense. But coaches are people and make mistakes like the rest of us. And although I didn’t hear it first-hand I have good reason to believe it is true.

    15. I addressed that here, Will Espero:

  17. al:

    the pay raise was more so in part due to the fact that the AD did not execute the original terms in writing. the year lapse of having an official contract resulted in a more lucrative contract after a very good inaugural season for the gibber.

  18. al:

    what is interesting in the exodus is that all three had things in common…

    one, all from the first recruit class
    two, were all still available so late in the recruiting period
    three, at least two of them came with attitude issues in the past
    four, were all in the doghouse at one time or another
    five, were all good buddies of one another
    six, all had playing time issues for two years
    seven, two were suspended and given second chances where at other programs they would have been gone right away. the third was benched for a couple of games.

  19. innocent observer:

    tsboy, believe Dave’s statement is somewhat true (about telling the players they would not be invited back) because the team in the last part of the season went into a tailspin; some of the players did not play as hard as they could.

  20. rainbowbballer:

    Will Espero, you ae right on about the pay raise, you shook hands, you say “yes, I agree to these term” than you hold up the company. Taking care of family, etc,etc well said, but you Gibb Arnold is supposedly a COACH of young men, your word should be GOOD AS GOLD. People give you a pass for your coaching decisions, recruiting, your my way or the highway, the people of Hawaii took a chance on you, make a deal give back the extra hundred thousand dollars, da lemon showed itself. Coaching is trusting and training

  21. Dave Reardon:

    17. Actually, the financial terms of the original contract WERE executed promptly. Some boilerplate language that did not affect the financial terms were stalled for no good reason. The raise didn’t have to happen if UH wanted to contest it.

  22. MARY COBB:

    Keep in mind too, Miah was a WALK-ON and not recruited by Gib. If you put that into the mix, what does that tell you now?

  23. Kevin:

    Will Espero:

    April 17th, 2012 at 6:48 am
    No one has mentioned the pay raise Arnold received after one season. UH was wrong to hastily give him a raise. UH has to make better decisions when it comes to pay for new coaches.

    So much so that UH needs to start taking care of the coaches they already have if performance is not wanning……….. :roll:

  24. rainbowbballer:

    Is Father Frank on the uh payroll, whose “dime” paid for Coach Frank’s trip to China, if he paid his own expense, I apology. If someone else paid the expenses”auwae”. Are we treading in waters as did Rick Pitino. Auwae,if Coach Frank endangered the UH Program. Comparisons between father and son, considering the signs from the University. Lastly, I remember a Radio personality, once replied to comments about the Past,Past UH wahine coach, as to you cant say that,you dont know what really is happing, the coach knows best. Well that Coach was fired for cause, and Dana was asked to bring back the trust, she just couldnt Win. AD Donavan campaign promise was tell it like it really is, no waha? It getting SMOKY!!

  25. Jjay:

    Perhaps gib paid for his parents travel expenses,he gets paid enough. Email Donovan for the truth.

  26. al:

    24. auwae is the last name of a dear family friend.

    it is “awe” that you mean, i am sure.

  27. al:

    …and there is no way that the university of hawaii paid for any of gibber’s family members.

  28. Jjay:

    I doubt ath dept would pay for parents going on a summer trip ..if they did shame shame. Ath. Dept is broke

  29. pocho:

    well, all 3 of them seemed to have been disobedient to the Gibper. Not being a starter, not getting the playing time and hanging one’s face on the floor and not listening can infect the team and newcomers. That attitude can be contagious and I would say the last two is the prove in the pudding so to say. Thomas started it all but Gib needed him down the stretch. You could sense the fustration in Wiseman once Thomas started to get a lot of minutes and having Hauns coming around offensively. Wiseman was the garbage man, the put back man. But during the last quarter of the season I saw a different Wiseman on the floor, like he had lost his drive because he wasn’t the starter no more and having to come off the bench.

  30. Loma Grandbois:

    I think this is an interesting time for Sankarea to see if it truly can keep up. With so many anime being lauded at this early stage in the Spring season, Sankarea has had its big moment happen in episode 3. I figure that the animation style will keep consistent (hopefully), but once we’re more used to Rea as a zombie, will the show be as compelling as these first few episodes have been? I prefer to label my thoughts as “cautiously optimistic”.

  31. Season Tix:

    Well I have watched Gib for two years and so far have not been impressed with his offense nor his decisions. I watched the starting line-up change for what seemed like every game and that’s no way to get continuity on the court. You make a decision at the beginning of the season within the first two games and you stick with it unless someone is injured. They needed Wiseman because he seemed like the only player that would rebound which is especially sad when you have two seven footers on your squad. UH is the type of program with no clear superstars but plenty of role players. I do think Miles needed work on his offense and ball handling skills but he did show flashes of greatness so there was something to work with. Joston was a beast when he was pushed into that role. I have watch many games and he would post up on the block with a man four to five inches shorter than him but never get the ball and that in itself is frustrating as a player. It seems like the offense wasn’t designed to have the point guard make decisions on the court especially when they saw something like a mismatch. It’s like Gib didn’t have faith in his point guard to make a decision away from the offense. The only people I did see actually look for the open man was Miah and Stokes. To me they played the point guard position the way it should be played because they are the floor generals out there but it seemed as if Gib held them back at times. With the type of program UH has and the type of players that are willing to come to UH, he needs to have a more wide open offense. The biggest problem I saw in the last two years though was the fact that nobody wanted to put a body on anyone, with the exception of Wiseman, to box out for a rebound. I would love to see how UH stacked up against all the teams they played with respect to rebounding because I saw other teams get two and three shots at the basket which is a definite no no!!! I think Gib has a fine coaching staff but I don’t know how involved he lets them get in the coaching aspect. I will get my season tix this year but if Gib doesn’t change his ways, it will be another poor season for UH.

  32. UHBooster:

    Trevor Wiseman was a punk. His attitude was one that UH will be better off without. He had no ALOHA and thought he was bigger then he was. He won’t be missed.

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