Former ‘Bow, Utah Tech assistant coach Gibson Johnson re-joins Hawai’i coaching staff

Former ‘Bow, Utah Tech assistant coach Gibson Johnson re-joins Hawai’i coaching staff

Hawai'i adds former player, Utah Tech assistant Gibson Johnson to staff.

via Hawai’i Athletics

Former ‘Bow, Utah Tech assistant coach Gibson Johnson re-joins Hawai’i coaching staff 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JUNE 5, 2024

HONOLULU – Guess who’s back, back again? 

Former Rainbow Warriors standout Gibson Johnson (‘18) will be joining the Hawai’i men’s basketball coaching staff, UH announced Wednesday morning. It will mark the 2nd stint as a coach for the former standout forward and all-Big West honorable mention after serving on Eran Ganot’s staff as a graduate manager (2019-21) and director of player development (2021-22).  

“First of all, I love the [Hawai’i men’s basketball program],” Johnson said regarding his encore stint on the Rainbow Warriors’ staff. “My love started playing here. I met a lot of special people at this program and university and the state in general is just surrounded by the type of people that I want to surround myself with … It’s a special place.” 

Johnson, who won a junior college national championship at Salt Lake Community College prior to his playing days for the ‘Bows, was a two-year captain and starter for the Rainbow Warriors. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged double-digit points in each season with Hawai’i, starting 59 out of 60 possible games while being named an all-Big West honorable mention during his junior season. 

“Being able to explain what it is on a day-to-day basis [at Hawai’i], what it’s like playing for coach – the amazing things about it and the struggles you go through [as a collegiate student-athlete] – I feel like I’m able to give that insight,” Johnson responded when asked about some of the traits he’ll bring back to the staff. “I have some good qualities as a coach as far as being able to recruit, how connected I am in the game [too].” 

Following his graduation, Johnson took a year as an assistant coach at SLCC before jumping on staff at his alma mater. After his three seasons on the pine with Ganot and company, Johnson accepted a role at Utah Tech as an assistant coach under legendary Division II coach Jon Judkins – who led then-Dixie State to 12 straight winning seasons, six PacWest conference crowns and nine Division II NCAA Tournament appearances before the program transitioned into the Division I institution ranks. 

“It was a learning experience overall. The programs are run differently so [I was afforded] different responsibilities with an elevation going from [director of player development at Hawai’i] to assistant coach,” Johnson said, reflecting on his time with Utah Tech. “I was given full opportunity over at Utah Tech and that really allowed me to grow. Coach [Jon Judkins] is a great guy, over 600 wins in college sports [is hard to do]. 

While with the Trailblazers, Johnson continued refining the multiple aspects of his coaching prowess as a developer of players, strategist, and recruiter. Among his quality traits as a coach, multiple staffs have lauded his ability to recruit and connect with players from across the country. His time at Utah Tech lined up perfectly with that for Idaho transfer sophomore Tanner Christensen, joining the Trailblazers for the 2022-23 season. Christensen committed to transfer to Hawai’i for his final year of eligibility earlier this offseason on April 1 and officially signed on April 17. 

“I’m really excited about where the program is heading,” Johnson said. “We suffocate our program with great people and we’re going to keep pushing in that [positive] direction. I’ve always been about winning championships, it’s the reason I came out here and that’s what we want to do.” 

Hawai’i men’s basketball assistant coach Brad Davidson joins ‘Wake Up in the Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’

Hawai’i men’s basketball assistant coach Brad Davidson joins ‘Wake Up in the Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’

Hawai’i men’s basketball assistant coach Brad Davidson joins ‘Wake Up in the Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JUNE 4, 2024

HONOLULU – From the Land Down Under, to the frigid cold of the Dakotas (both North AND South), to a happy medium in the middle in Hawai’i, Brad Davidson’s coaching career has taken plenty of twists and turns. 

It has also allowed him to take in plenty of action featuring plenty of talent. 

The veteran basketball coach sat down Tuesday for a getting-to-know episode of Wake Up in The Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’ and discussed a multitude of topics including his 13-year playing career in the NBL, the time he was replaced by a young Patty Mills for the Australian national team and his foray into coaching. 

After learning about the foundation that built Hawai’i’s Aussie assistant coach, the conversation shifted over to the Rainbow Warriors and how Davidson got involved with the ‘Bows in the first place. Knowing head coach Eran Ganot for a while through days of working on the highest-level circuit in Australia for basketball, Davidson had always half-joked with the ‘Bows head coach that he would be ready at the ring of a phone for a spot on the staff in Hawai’i – and then pounced on the opportunity when the real telephone ring came. 

Since coming to Hawai’i ahead of the 2021 season, Davidson has continued helping produce high-level guards, including assistance in the development of JoVon McClanahan as an all-conference caliber player. With the 2024-25 edition of the ‘Bows, it’ll be a new group of talented faces that Davidson says he is looking forward to working with. 

“You can see the hunger there for him and the chip on his shoulder,” Davidson said of incoming transfer Marcus Greene while discussing Hawai’i’s recruiting class so far. “He also has great leadership skills which is [something apparent with incoming freshman] Aaron Hunkin-Claytor.” 

Davidson mentioned returning junior point guard Kody Williams along with freshman AJ Economou that will get a chance to compete for a role this season, discussing the little things that make each player unique in the process. Hawai’i also returns standout sophomore guard Tom Beattie and promising young forward Akira Jacobs as players expected to progress in year two. 

You can catch ‘Wake Up in The Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’ live every weekday morning from 8-9 a.m. HT on 95.1 FM, AM 760 and streaming on hawaiisportsradio.com. The show is available after recording where most podcasts are, along with past OIA and HPU broadcasts and older interviews. 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, Hawaii Sports Radio Network, for the behind-the-scenes of shows and interviews like this one and many more! 

Sizzling Hawai’i finishes sweep of Cal State Fullerton in front of full house

Sizzling Hawai’i finishes sweep of Cal State Fullerton in front of full house

Hawai’i poses together as a team following the 37th win of the year, the most for the program since 2006. The ‘Bows beat Cal State Fullerton, 5-2, on Senior Night before celebrating 14 seniors on the UH roster. | Photo Credit, Michael Lasquero, HSRN

Sizzling Hawai’i finishes sweep of Cal State Fullerton in front of full house

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED MAY 25, 2024

HONOLULU – Did they do enough? 

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (37-16, 20-10 Big West) finished up the regular season with a series sweep of Cal State Fullerton (16-38, 7-23 Big West) on Saturday, rallying past the Titans for a 5-2 win on Senior Night in front of 4,763 fans at Les Murakami Stadium – the most for a single BaseBows game since 1994. 

The victory was the ‘Bows 18th win in the last 20 contests and completed a scorching hot final three months of the regular season for Hawai’i, who lost only two series in total since the end of February and won six consecutive series against Division I opponents to close the year. At the mercy of the selection committee for a spot in the NCAA Regional round, Hawai’i’s chances may rest on the imperfect – yet typically effective – ranking system called “RPI” that currently has the ‘Bows looking from the outside of the tournament field. 

Despite murky waters on a potential bid to continue playing, the Rainbow Warriors continued a commitment to each other on what they have focused on all season: simply controlling what the team can control. 

Needing every win possible, Saturday’s contest still meant plenty to the overall record for the Rainbow Warriors as head coach Rich Hill gave senior southpaw Connor Harrison the nod for the Senior Day start on the mound. Earlier in the week, Harrison told the media that he expected an emotional weekend but would focus on trying to remain in the moment and staying locked in despite the extracurriculars that would test him and the team along the way. 

“It was an honor be out there, to have the trust from Coach Hill to start me today,” Harrison said of getting the start for the final game he would play at the Les.  

Little did he know, the emotional extracurriculars would be quickly overshadowed by an aggressive swinging Fullerton team as leadoff hitter Nico Regino took the game’s first pitch and deposited it over the left field fence to give the Titans a 1-0 lead before fans could settle into their seats. 

The Titans added on a few pitches later as Jakob Schardt lofted a long, high fly ball over the wall in right to go back-to-back as the visitors looked to play spoiler for 14 seniors that would be celebrated following their final appearance at the Les. After a one-out single, a mound visit from Hill to Harrison seemed to be all the lefty needed to settle in as Hawai’i worked out of further damage to enter the bottom of the 1st trailing, 2-0. 

The ‘Bows, as resilient a bunch as Rich Hill has had in his three seasons at the helm for the program, continued a season-long trend of answering a score back with a run of their own as second baseman Jake Tsukada drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a bloop double from Austin Machado. Kyson Donahue did the rest, grounding out to the right side to bring home his fellow senior in Tsukada for Hawai’i’s first run to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. 

After a little pep talk from teammates and coaches, Harrison was ready to turn the page from a shaky beginning to the night as he prepared for his second inning of work. 

“[Kyson Donahue] said it to me after the second home run, he was just like ‘they’re in swing mode because of how many strikes you throw,’” the senior left-hander recalled. “[He told me] to stay on the attack, mix it well and that we would be fine.” 

Harrison looked completely in control when he returned to the mound for the top of the 2nd, sitting down the Titans in order to bring the ‘Bows offense back up again. This time, it was center fielder Matthew Miura getting the rally started with a leadoff single back up the middle before advancing all the way to third on a wild pitch that bounced away from the catcher. 

Hawai’i junior Jared Quandt brought home Miura the very next at-bat, smoking an RBI double to right to tie the game at two before the right fielder came home a couple batters later on an Elijah Ickes RBI double to give the ‘Bows a 3-2 lead.

Hawai’i would never look back. 

Harrison returned for his third inning of work, allowing a two-out base hit before completing his second straight scoreless frame. While his day ended following a lead off infield single in the top of the 4th, the senior southpaw’s recovery from a rocky start helped reset the tone for the ‘Bows. 

“I can’t say enough about Connor,” Hill said following the game on his starter’s bounce back. “Just shows the resilience. That was it, they only scored two runs the first two batters of the game and he just kept coming back. He didn’t walk anybody, he didn’t hit anybody and in that first inning, he really got a big strikeout on a changeup to end the inning.”

Giving way to redshirt freshman Zacary Tenn, Harrison was in good hands as the right-hander was able to work around an error to keep Fullerton off the board again in the 4th. Tenn pulled off some Houdini magic in the top of the 5th inning for Hawai’i as well after allowing a leadoff double, making a solid throw to first on a sacrifice before inducing a pair of short pop-ups to strand the Titans’ runner at third and preserve the 3-2 advantage. 

Hawai’i added some breathing room in the bottom half of the fifth frame, stringing together a pair of runs with just one out after Jordan Donahue walked and scored from first on an RBI double by Tsukada and Tsukada crossed home a minute later after a Machado RBI single to give a 5-2 lead to the ‘Bows. 

After Tenn strung together four more outs, Hawai’i would turn to freshman standout Itsuki Takemoto to bring them the rest of the way home. Taking over after Tenn allowed a single, Takemoto got a pair of Titans to pop up to escape again with no damage to the lead.  

As the afternoon began to give way to the night, the 4,763 fans taking in the Mānoa Magic one more time in the 2024 season continued to buzz as Takemoto worked a perfect 8th and 9th inning while striking out four batters to clinch the 5-2 win and his fifth save of the season. 

“There aren’t really any adjectives to describe the fans,” Hill said of the historic number supporters in attendance. “[They’re just] the whole package. The energy, the noise, and they’re just very knowledgeable here … but they can make the other team buckle. [The other team] can just cave in after the 7th inning [because of the fans].” 

Tenn earned the victory for the Rainbow Warriors, bringing his record to 4-0 on the season as one of the pieces that is expected to return next year. Tsukada, who transferred from Portland to play his final season of eligibility at home, went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and an RBI in his final game at Les Murakami Stadium. 

After the game, Hawai’i honored 14 seniors as a full lineup and bench of ‘Bows bid aloha to UH fans inside Les Murakami Stadium. Their return for helping build the foundation for a program that reached heights not seen in nearly two decades? 

A whole lot of love back. 

With families and loved ones of the seniors already on the field after the ceremony, UH fans flooded the turf at the Les to fraternize with their baseball heroes one final time. Nearby, an extremely grateful head coach could be seen taking photos and chatting with each of his seniors. 

“I couldn’t have [made the move to Hawai’i] without these guys,” Hill said of massive graduating group. “They bought in from Day 1 and they performed. They’ve worked hard in the weight room, off the field, being good people, going to summer ball and it really showed up this season especially.” 

So, back to the question: Did Hawai’i baseball do enough? 

That depends on who you ask. For those who have avidly supported the program all season and possibly longer, the answer is a resounding yes – a team built on doing things the right way on and off the field while winning a whole bunch on it. Winners of 18 out of their final 20 games, posting the best Big West record in program history and the nation’s 2nd best collective Earned Runs Average amongst Division I schools (via D1 Baseball). 

Despite all of that, it seems that Hawai’i’s chances will be hurt by the final RPI rankings in the eyes of the committee. 

Sometimes, even being the hottest team in the country for three months isn’t enough. In the hearts of Hawai’i fans however, this team was everything they could ask for. 

Monster 6th inning leads Hawai’i to series-opening blowout against Cal State Fullerton

Monster 6th inning leads Hawai’i to series-opening blowout against Cal State Fullerton

Hawai’i 2B Jake Tsukada slides into home safely during the ‘Bows 10-2 series-opening victory over Cal State Fullerton. Tsukada went 4-for-5 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored in the win. | Photo Credit: Michael Lasquero, HSRN

Monster 6th inning leads Hawai’i to series-opening blowout against Cal State Fullerton 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED MAY 23, 2024

HONOLULU – The ‘Bows bats and breezes. 

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (35-16, 18-10 Big West) continued their winning ways Thursday night – a continuation of nearly two months being one of the hottest teams in all of Division I baseball – as UH used a 7-run bottom of the 6th inning to cruise to a 10-2 victory over Cal State Fullerton (16-36, 7-21 Big West) to begin Senior Weekend for the ‘Bows. Hawai’i junior right-hander Alex Giroux earned his seventh win of the season, striking out four while allowing only three hits and no runs in 4.1 innings of relief after starter Harrison Bodendorf went 4.2 innings with a pair of earned runs. The sophomore left-hander fanned eight Titans batters before exiting, making for a total of 18 strikeouts over his past two appearances for Hawai’i. 

The ‘Bows bats got active early, pushing across a run in each of the first two innings as Kyson Donahue brought home Jake Tsukada from third with a one-out groundout in the bottom of the 1st and Naighel Ali’i Calderon smacked his first career home run off the right-field foul pole in the 2nd for Hawai’i. 

Cal State Fullerton, after being stumped by Bodendorf through the first time around the order, got the runs back with one big swing in the top of the 4th as Colby Wallace hit a 2-run shot to right with two outs to make it a new ball game. Bodendorf rebounded with a strikeout to end the inning, but the southpaw’s effectiveness began to waver into the 5th as he walked two of the first three batters in the top half of the frame before a loud out at the fence for the 2nd out of the inning sent Rich Hill to the rubber. 

Giroux came on to replace the left-handed starter, inducing a pop-up to escape the jam with the game still tied at two. Unfortunately for the ‘Bows, the bats had fallen silent as the Titans struck out the side in the bottom of the 5th. 

Cal State Fullerton found some more success in the top of the 6th, putting on a pair of baserunners against Giroux and the ‘Bows before the right-hander got Eli Lopez to fly out to center and Matthew Bardowell to ground out to short to end the inning. 

Hawai’i finally found the bats again the bottom of the frame, chasing Titans’ starter Mikiah Negrete with a pair of one-out knocks that put runners on the corners and brought on right-handed reliever Andrew Morones out of the CS Fullerton bullpen to try and escape the jam. 

Pinch-hitting for Calderon, Hawai’i freshman two-way player Itsuki Takemoto put UH back in front with an RBI single through the right side to score DallasJ Duarte and start an offensive avalanche for the ‘Bows. In all, the Rainbow Warriors would send 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 6th inning, breaking the game open with a 7-run outburst and taking a 9-2 lead into the 7th. 

Rejuvenated by the offensive success, Hawai’i quickly mowed through the top of the 7th batters for Fullerton, turning a clean double play to end the frame and come back to the plate. The ‘Bows loaded the bases after Takemoto grounded out to open the frame, bringing up Tsukada – who had registered a 4-for-4 night to that point. The ‘Bows 2nd baseman grounded to second but hustled down the line to force an error and help score the run from third, giving Hawai’i an added insurance run, 10-2. 

Giroux continued to groove, allowing just one baserunner over the final six outs as Hawai’i cruised to the 10-2 series-opening victory over the Titans. The win for the ‘Bows pushed the team to the 35-win mark, a threshold that the program had not hit since 2010 when Hawai’i went 35-28 and made the NCAA Regionals. 

The series against Cal State Fullerton continues with game two of three during Senior Weekend on Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. as Randy Abshier gets the nod for the ‘Bows. 

UH Men’s Basketball: 2024 Offseason Recruiting/Transfer Portal Tracker

UH Men’s Basketball: 2024 Offseason Recruiting/Transfer Portal Tracker

UH Men’s Basketball: 2024 Offseason Recruiting/Transfer Portal Tracker 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED APR 8, 2024 UPDATED JUNE 8, 2024

The 2024 offseason presents a big remodeling of the UH men’s basketball program, losing six seniors and injured sophomore center Mor Seck to the transfer portal. In all, Hawai’i lost the top five point-producers from last season with the graduation of 1,000-point scorers Noel Coleman and Bernardo de Silva, all-Big West selection Justin McKoy, sharpshooting 8th-year guard Juan Munoz and late-clock magician & prime table-setter JoVon McClanahan. 

The quintet of Rainbow Warriors leave many holes on the roster to fill for head coach Eran Ganot and staff to fill. Hawai’i returns promising young prospects in 6-foot-5 guard Tom Beattie and 6-foot-9 forward Akira Jacobs while looking to soon-to-be juniors Kody Williams and Harry Rouhliadeff to take a leap in production. Ryan Rapp, the sweet-shooting guard from Australia that started 18 games in 2023-24 for Hawai’i, is also expected to return next season. The ‘Bows also have signed 6-foot-3 guard Aaron Hunkin-Claytor and have early-enrollee high-flying wing AJ Economou ready to join the fray entering next year. 

Since contact with recruits/transfers has been permitted, the UH men’s basketball staff has been on the road hard at work to help fill in the missing puzzle pieces for competing for the Big West in 2024-25. Below, you can find an up-to-date list on the latest in ‘Bows basketball recruiting from rumors to offers to commitments. 

Hawai’i in contact with experienced 6-foot-7 double-digit scorer

(JUNE 5) The Rainbow Warriors are on the hunt again, checking on former Sacramento State guard Zee Hamoda in the transfer portal as Hawai’i works to fill out the remainder of the roster after the graduation of six seniors. Already receiving commitments from guard Marcus Greene and center Tanner Christensen, the 6-foot-7 Hamoda would play on the wing for UH men’s basketball after averaging nearly 12 points and four rebounds per game last season for Sacramento State.

Hamoda began his career at Utah State, appearing in 62 games off the bench for the Aggies across two seasons before transferring to Sac State for his junior season. The 6-foot-7 wing eclipsed double-digit points in 22 of 34 games last year, including a 15-point, 6-rebound showing in a 10-point loss at Big West tournament champion Long Beach State on December 2. Hamoda has also heard from UMass, San Diego State and UC Santa Barbara among many others since entering the transfer portal.


 

St. Thomas More (CT) springy forward Roy Igwe commits to Rainbow Warriors

(MAY 10) The 2024 high school recruiting class for the Hawai’i men’s basketball program just got a bit more athletic.

Roy Igwe, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound wing that grew up in Japan, announced his commitment to the Rainbow Warriors on Friday, May 10. After graduating from school in Japan, Igwe spent a season at Connecticut prep school St. Thomas More while preparing for chance at the next level and now is expected to join the ‘Bows as a walk-on with four years of eligibility.

Igwe played against Hawai’i during the Rainbow Warriors’ international trip to Japan in August of 2023, catching the eye of coaches ahead of his prep season in Connecticut after showing off his strength and athleticism against some of the more veteran players on the UH roster during a scrimmage against the Tokyo Samurai. He is the 2nd UH men’s basketball commit with Japanese ties in the last two seasons, joining rising sophomore Akira Jacobs on the Rainbow Warriors’ roster.

He becomes the second member of UH’s high school recruiting class for 2024, joining three-star guard Aaron Hunkin-Claytor.


 

Former Mr. Basketball winner visiting Hawai’i as ‘Bows continue backcourt remodel (NEWS)

(MAY 6) Hawai’i hosted former Minnesota Gophers guard Braeden Carrington on Monday, multiple sources confirmed to HSRN. The 6-foot-4 sophomore from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota was a high school standout that originally decided to stay home and suit up for the Gophers following a senior year that saw his team go 31-1, capture the school’s first state title and the guard himself get named as the 2022 Mr. Basketball honoree in Minnesota. His recognition as Minnesota’s “Mr. Basketball” followed a two-year run of future top-5 NBA Draft selections Jalen Suggs (’20) and Chet Holmgren (’21) and Carrington became the first honoree to stay home to play for Minnesota in six years (Amir Coffey, ’16).

Carrington averaged 4.6 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per contest across 29 appearances (10 starts) for Minnesota in 2023-24, becoming a defensive standout at times for the Gophers on the perimeter. The guard is a strong athlete with a good frame (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) who does damage in transition, at the rim and on the left side of the floor. The UH men’s basketball program has already received commitments from former Utah Tech center Tanner Christensen and former Houston Christian guard Marcus Greene from the transfer portal, joining AJ Economou and Aaron Hunkin-Claytor in the 2024 recruiting class for UH.

****UPDATE: Carrington announced his commitment to Tulsa on Saturday, May 11****


 

Greene joining Rainbow Warriors, becoming 2nd offseason transfer addition (COMMIT) 

(MAY 2) Hawai’i’s backcourt rotation for next season received a boost on Thursday as Houston Christian transfer Marcus Greene committed to the ‘Bows, via the guard’s Instagram account. The 6-foot-2 junior became the 2nd college transfer to commit to UH this offseason and should be an immediate contributor for the Rainbow Warriors after averaging 15.1 points per contest for the Huskies during the 2023-24 campaign, shooting 42.7% from 3-point range and dishing out three assists a game. 

The guard spent his freshman season at Sacramento State before spending a year at Panola College (TX), transferring out from the NJCAA program to HCU after helping lead the team to a top-10 national ranking and a regional final in his lone season. Greene visited the University of Hawai’i campus last weekend, meeting with the team and coaching staff as he mulled over his next college home before eventually landing on wearing the green and white for his last year of eligibility. 


 

Bows set to host VT’s Camden, Houston Christian guard Marcus Greene for official visit (NEWS) 

(APRIL 26) Eran Ganot’s recruiting efforts continue over the weekend as Hawai’i hosts 6-foot-8 Virginia Tech transfer John Camden and Houston Baptist 6-foot-2 point guard Marcus Greene for official visits. 

Camden would fill a similar mold to recent Hawai’i standout forwards Kamaka Hepa and Justin McKoy, transferring into the Hawai’i program after seeing limited action with Power 5 programs with a chance to take a leap into a larger role. The forward from Downingtown, PA started his college career at Memphis before transferring to Virginia Tech. After dealing with a variety of injuries, Camden struggled to get in a rhythm and find playing time for a steady Hokies team. He was a top-100 recruit and ranked as highly as 4 stars by Rivals coming out of high school. 

Greene averaged 15.1 points per game last season for Houston Christian, starting all 28 contests for the Huskies and is one of the top 3-point shooters in the portal after drilling 42.7% of his 3-point attempts last year. The 6-foot-2 guard is considered a 3-level scorer and can create his own shot. 


Hawai’i checks in on Division II standout point guard from CSUSB (INTEREST) 

(APRIL 19) Chris Mitchell, a 6-foot-4 guard from Oceanside, Calif., has received check-ins from multiple Big West programs during the transfer process he told @ThePortalReport. The former Cal State San Bernardino standout helped lead the ‘Yotes to the NCAA Division II Final Four, averaging 16.1 ppg on 49% shooting from the field while snagging 7.4 rebounds per contest. 

Other than the ‘Bows, Mitchell has heard from UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton from the Big West. In all, the junior combo guard has heard from over 20 schools across the nation. 


SWAC Player of the Year hears from Hawai’i, various Power 5 programs (INTEREST)

(APRIL 18) Jackson State guard Ken Evans, the 2023-24 SWAC Player of the Year, has recently heard from Hawai’i during his recruitment process. The 6-foot-5 scorer is a hot commodity in the portal, receiving calls from West Virginia, Louisville and Nevada among many others. 

Originally from Mississippi, both Ole Miss and Mississippi State have reportedly contacted Evans. The reigning SWAC Player of the Year averaged just under 19 points per night last season while starting 32 games, dropping 25 points in a late December game versus Gonzaga. 


UH hosting NJCAA D1 All-American guard for weekend visit (NEWS)

(APRIL 12) Hawai’i continued a heavy pursuit of former Casper College guard Darius Robinson over the weekend as the 6-foot-1 shooter visited the islands for a multi-day stay, the Chicago native posted on his Instagram story. Averaging more than 18 points per contest on 42% 3-point shooting, Robinson helped his Casper (Wyo.) team to a 24-9 record in his sophomore season with creative playmaking and elite long-range shooting and was named an NJCAA Division I All-American honoree.

Robinson was the 2nd-best free throw shooter in NJCAA D1, hitting at an 89.3% clip from the stripe. His 111 3-point makes ranked fifth-most in the country among JUCO shooters while there were only 15 players in the NCAA from Division I, II and III to hit more threes than the Casper guard in 2023-24. The visit to Hawai’i for Robinson continues a prolonged courtship from the Rainbow Warriors with first reported interest and contact between the two coming back at the end of February.

****UPDATE: Robinson announced his commitment to Oral Roberts on Tuesday, April 30****


 

Rainbow Warriors, other Big West programs check up on Idaho guard EJ Neal 

(APRIL 9) Former Idaho Vandals guard EJ Neal has heard from Hawai’i, Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara out of the Big West since entering the transfer portal, he told @ThePortalReport on X on April 9. The 6-foot-5 junior guard appeared in 29 games for Idaho this past season, starting eight of them. 

Before his transfer to Idaho, Neal was a two-time 1st team Coast North honoree and two-time All-Defense player at City College of San Francisco. The guard was the 2023 Coast North Defensive Player of the Year and went 61-5 in two years at the JUCO level. Neal has also heard from high-major programs such as UCLA and USC while Washington State and St. Bonaventure have also checked in with the defensive standout. 

****UPDATE: Neal announced his commitment to Sacramento State on Saturday, April 13.****


 

Former LA prep guard, Montana State three-level scorer hears from Hawai’i 

(APRIL 9) Former Montana State freshman guard Jaqari Miles heard from Hawai’i and a bevy of other schools, he told @ThePortalReport on April 9. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 10 points in his collegiate debut before suffering an injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the year. He received a medical redshirt for the year and holds four years of eligibility still. 


 

Hawai’i in the mix for former 4-star, 6-foot-8 wing out of ACC (OFFER/RUMOR) 

(APRIL 3) UH has been in contact regarding the transfer process of Virginia Tech redshirt sophomore John Camden, ESPN college basketball insider Jeff Borzello reported on April 3. The 6-foot-8 forward was rated as a 4-star recruit by Rivals and was ranked as high as the 90th-best recruit in the class of 2021 when he committed to the University of Memphis.

Camden dealt with injuries early in his college career that sidetracked the shooter, slowing development at Memphis before deciding to transfer to Virginia Tech (LSU was also in consideration until the end). After two seasons with the Hokies, Camden re-entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining. 

**** UPDATE: Camden announced his commitment to Delaware on Monday, May 6. ****


 

Christensen becomes first to join Rainbow Warriors’ reload (COMMIT)

(APRIL 1) Tanner Christensen, a 6-foot-10 center from Spokane, WA, was the first UH commitment of the offseason, coming to the islands via the transfer portal on Monday, April 1 after spending the past two seasons in St. George playing for Utah Tech in the Western Athletic Conference. 

While suiting up for the Trailblazers, Christensen started 63 out of 63 possible games and increased his scoring average into double digits by his second season. The UH men’s basketball program has been eyeing the big man for a long time – 2024 is the 2nd transfer of Christensen’s career after spending two seasons at Idaho – and finally got their guy in a sturdy, mature 24-year-old with a polished offensive game and a knack for swatting shots. 


 

NJCAA D1 National Champion 6-foot-7 wing offered by the ‘Bows (OFFER)

(MARCH 26) Barton Community College wing Lajae Jones was offered by Eran Ganot and the UH men’s basketball program, the left-handed shooter announced on his social media on March 26. After the offer, Barton went on to win the NJCAA Division I championship to cap off a 36-1 year as Jones led the team in points per game (15.4), 3-point percentage (42.2%) and field goal percentage (54.0%) in his sophomore season. 

The lanky forward showed off impressive athleticism and a soft 3-point stroke in a well-rounded offensive game while flashing creation ability for himself and untapped potential as a distributor. According to his social media, Jones holds offers from Stephen F. Austin, Samford, St. Bonaventure, Murray State, Eastern Kentucky, tournament-darling Oakland (MI) and others. 

****UPDATE: Jones announced his commitment to St. Bonaventure on Saturday, April 27.****


 

Hawai’i interested & active in Casper guard, top JUCO shooter’s recruitment (RUMOR/INTEREST) 

(FEB 22) Casper College (WY) guard Darius Robinson is a name to keep an eye on during the offseason transfer cycle for Hawai’i after the sophomore guard finished his second season at the NJCAA Division I program. Via Rising Ballers & JUCO Exposure Networks on Instagram, the 6-foot-1 guard from Chicago, Illinois has heard from the Rainbow Warriors among many other schools as he looks for a home among the NCAA Division I level. 

Robinson started all 33 games for Casper in 2023-24, averaging 18.4 points per game, second-most on the 24-9 Thunderbirds’ roster. The guard is an elite shooter, hitting at a 41.9% clip from behind the 3-point arc on eight long range attempts per contest – even ranking 2nd in the nation from the free throw line (89.3%). He hit 111 3-pointers in total last season, 44 more than Juan Munoz’s UH-best 67 made triples in 2023-24 and 5th-most among all players the NJCAA Division I level.