By Gary Dickman.
For the first time in a long time, I can write about two University of Hawaii teams playing at the same time. And I’ll start with football. I thought their season had ended last Saturday, beating UNLV 38-21, and ending their season at 4-4. But then Sunday happened, and the announcement came, Hawaii is playing in a bowl game. There’s a lot of ways to describe 2020, and “Expect the Unexpected” is definitely one way, in sports at least.
Most were under the impression that there was no way UH was going to a bowl game this year. The Mountain West did a very poor job of communicating how the selections would work. No one seemed to know, including guests on our show who cover the conference full time. I wonder if San Diego State knew how it worked. The MW went with the top teams, by record, by overall record it turns out. The Aztecs picked up a game three weeks ago on two days notice, a COVID makeup game vs. Colorado on the road. So Fresno, UH and San Diego State all finished with .500 records, but the Aztecs played an undefeated Colorado team on the road. That loss kept them out of getting a bowl game ahead of UH and Fresno.
Now, for our Rainbow Warriors, they’ll play in the New Mexico Bowl, which of course this year will be played in Texas. Remember, expect the unexpected. At least it’ll be played on a familiar Hawaii bowl day, December 24th.
I was not suprised at all to see that WR Lincoln Victor is transferring. He fumbled the opening kickoff in Hawaii’s first game this season, vs Fresno, and hardly played this year. Victor only caught two passes this season and saw his time dramatically reduced after the fumble. The sophomore had a pretty good season last year, and a lot of fans were hoping to see how good he’d develop over the next few years. I’m not trying to second-guess head coachTodd Graham, but to bench someone for almost this whole season for a fumble seemed to go too far with his punishment. I know some coaches do this, but in this case, Hawaii lost a really good player. At least three other players have transferred because of a lack of playing time as well.
As I wrote earlier, I get to write about two UH teams this week. The UH basketball men opened their season last Friday by beating HPU, 83-50. The Bows only led by 5 at the half, and went 0-9 on 3 point shots. Whatever Eran Ganot said at halftime seemed to work, resulting in a 33-point win. I try not to get too excited after the first few games of the year, mostly cause UH plays lower tier or D2 schools in the first month of the season. This team has basically a brand new starting five, and only Justin Webster started any games last year (nine starts).
There are seven new players this year, and I was excited to see them finally instead of mostly reading about them. I was impressed by several players, and I loved what I saw from our bigs. James Jean-Marie really stood out, at 6-8 and 230. First, his name sounds like he could be a star of a superhero movie. And he came off the bench and put together a double-double, 21 points and 11 rebounds, in only 19 minutes. It’s been a while since we had a big guy who can really battle and use his size down low. He’s a blue collar-type of player, the type I really admire. Another new big is Casdon Jardine, who’s 6-7 and 220. A nice inside-outside player, Jardine hit three 3 pointers and can score from all over. And then there’s Mate. Mate Colina had a career-high 17 points and had 6 rebounds in only 17 minutes. It wasn’t just the numbers, it was how he got them. He was aggressive, and finally not tentative or hesitant to take shots, and make moves to the basket. Think about it, it’s been a while since Hawaii had a big player who could make moves a few feet from the basket and not lose the ball in the process. Think of the possibilities.
Or, just expect the unexpected.
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