Hawai’i receives commitment from Utah Tech 6-foot-10 shot blocker

Hawai’i receives commitment from Utah Tech 6-foot-10 shot blocker

via Tanner Christensen, University of Hawai’i

Hawai’i receives commitment from Utah Tech 6-foot-10 shot blocker

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED APR 1, 2024

HONOLULU – The re-loading of the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team has kicked off with a big body in the middle. 

Former Utah Tech starting center Tanner Christensen announced his commitment to the Rainbow Warriors on Monday, giving head coach Eran Ganot’s team a much-needed shot blocker on the roster after the graduation of starter Bernardo de Silva and Mor Seck’s decision to enter the transfer portal. 

“What stuck out to me was how under [Ganot and staff] … that they’ve had a winning program and a history of competing for Big West titles,” Christensen said in a message to Hawai’i Sports Radio Network. “I’m most excited to play in front of the great fan base at UH and to explore the island.” 

In the past nine seasons, Hawai’i has won 60.5% of their games and has never finished a season under .500 in Big West play since Ganot took over. 

The big man from Spokane, WA also attended the Hawai’i men’s volleyball match against UC Santa Barbara to close out March, seeing the power of the Stan Sheriff Center when full.  

“I thought the fans and the atmosphere were awesome,” he said glowingly. 

Christensen, who stands at 6-foot-10 and 275 pounds, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last season for Trailblazers while shooting 56% from the field and 60% from the charity stripe. He has increased his scoring average every season in college, blocked more shots last season than any player has in Ganot’s time at Hawai’i and has one season of eligibility remaining as a graduate transfer. 

It is the first of what many expect to be a flurry of additions for Hawai’i this offseason as the Rainbow Warriors lose six seniors to graduation and saw sophomore 7-foot-1 big Mor Seck enter the transfer portal. 

Hawai’i will also add prep guard Aaron Hunkin-Claytor as part of the 2024 recruiting class, a 3-star recruit according to 247Sports and the 2023-24 West Coast Preps Bay Area player of the year. The former ‘Iolani guard said in a text that he is “excited to play with Christensen” and has been working on his strength since his senior season at Salesian ended in the CIF Open Division State Championship game against Harvard-Westlake. 

‘Bows send off seniors with 74-57 win over CSU Bakersfield to close out regular season

‘Bows send off seniors with 74-57 win over CSU Bakersfield to close out regular season

‘Bows send off seniors with 74-57 win over CSU Bakersfield to cap regular season

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED MARCH 10, 2024

HONOLULU — A special night for a special group of seniors.

The Hawai’i men’s basketball team closed out the regular season and honored six graduating players with a 74-57 win over Cal State Bakersfield Saturday night at SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Graduate transfer Justin McKoy led all scorers with 23 points on 6-for-9 shooting and senior Noel Coleman knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points to power the Rainbow Warriors (19-13 overall, 11-9 Big West) to their ninth win in the last 12 games.

“This was definitely very special,” said McKoy, who played for North Carolina and Virginia previously. “I don’t know if there’s any recency bias but this was definitely the best feeling for me, just the crowd and just this senior night was super awesome. I don’t think anybody does it like Hawai’i.”

Senior guard Jovon McClanahan, who missed four games with a right shoulder injury, was also among those that were honored. McClanahan, Coleman and senior forward Bernardo da Silva all have spent at least four years with the program. Graduate student Matthue Cotton and eighth-year player Juan Munoz rounded out the senior class.

“Our senior class is a microcosm of our program,” said Hawai’i coach Eran Ganot. “They’ve come together for one common goal and they’re friends for life.

“Each of those guys at different times have been very special. They stayed here because of the program and I say it’s all encompassing; our program, our athletic department, the university, the state. They have felt like home.”

McClanahan echoed those sentiments.

“It just felt like home, thats why I stayed. It was too much of a home for me. I don’t think I’d ever leave. I think that’s the biggest portion of it. I really appreciate everyone I met so far on the journey and it’s not over yet.”

After starting conference play at 2-6, the Rainbow Warriors flipped the script on their season to finish with the No. 3 seed in next week’s Big West tournament. They will await the winner between No. 6 UC Santa Barbara and No. 7 CSUN on Thursday in Henderson, Las Vegas.

“It’s about getting hot at the right time and I think we’ve shown that we’ve gotten hot at the right time,” said McKoy.

“I think some of those losses helped motivate us to play super hard and bounce back and show that just because we’re playing well doesn’t mean someone can’t come in and beat us and so I think we have exactly what we need to go into the tournament and make some noise.”