By Gary Dickman.
Okay, I’m gonna start with an apology and some breaking news, both involving University of Hawaii men’s basketball. First, the apology. I wrote last week that the men’s basketball team was going to start their season on December 9. I also heard of a probable game on the 13th. Those aren’t happening. The game on the 13th was supposed to be vs Alcorn State. It was listed on their website, until it wasn’t. They, like so many others, have had to cancel games due to COVID-19. Which explains why UH hasn’t released a schedule yet for the non-conference games. I’ve heard rumors, but I’ll wait until UH makes an announcement.
The breaking news, as of Monday night, is that senior forward Samuta Avea is opting out of playing this season due to COVID concerns. He said in his statement that he intends on being back next year. I wonder, though. And I wonder because I know that go either way. Maybe he does come back next year, or maybe he leaves and doesn’t come back, for whatever reasons. But for this years team, wow. I don’t remember seeing this much turnover in one year ever at UH. There are seven new players, a very high number. And they’ve lost all five starters from last year. The only returning player who started games last year is Justin Webster, and he started nine games. That , along with everything else, could make for a long season for our Rainbow Warriors.
It’d be nice if one of the new imports can adapt to D-1 play quickly and contribute this season. That’s hard, and even harder when everyone you’re playing with is new except for returnees from last year that played significant minutes: Webster, Justin Hemsley, Mate Colina and Bernardo da Silva. Where are the points going to come from? Webster should be good for 15-16 a game. As for the new players, I’m really excited to see new pony guard JoVon McClanahan, who’s only 5-9, but can really shoot from the outside, shooting over 42% on 3’s. He had over 40 and 50 points in games last year, and averaged just under 24 a game. JoVon also averaged over 6 assists and 6 rebounds a game as well. Now I just want to see the season start, and hopefully that’ll be soon.
By the way, this year for home games, I’ll be hosting the pre-game show, “Countdown to Tip-Off.” I’ll be joined this season by Brian McInnis, who covered the men’s team for many years for the Star-Advertiser. And you’ll be able to watch us on Facebook live, at ESPN Honolulu. So I’m hoping that’ll all take place really soon, like this week.
# # #