POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 13, 2011
The Hawaii men's basketball team has lost its second 2011-12 signee to academic ineligibility.
Serra (Calif.) High graduate Ronnie Stevens will attend Indian Hills Community College in Iowa as he works toward an associate's degree and Division I eligibility in two years.
The loss of the 6-foot-9 power forward, who is considered a solid defender and shot blocker, deals a blow to the UH frontcourt. Without Stevens — who averaged a double-double and nearly five blocks per game as a Serra senior — UH's front-line depth is somewhat diminished.
UH coach Gib Arnold still wants Stevens in two years, but wasn't panicking about it in the meantime.
"We've got two 7-footers in Davis (Rozitis) and Vander (Joaquim). They both are pretty agile; I think they both could play some 4. And then we have a good mix of forwards that are undersized 4s maybe, but big 3s in Hauns (Brereton) and Joston (Thomas) and Trevor (Wiseman)," Arnold said. "So, we're OK. It'd be nice to have an extra big in there, in the rotation, but I like our bigs. I think those two juniors and Trevor make for real good forwards."
Stevens signed with UH in the fall of 2010, which the team hoped would be enough time for him to become an academic qualifier.
"You'd like to have that extra guy, that's why we recruited him," Arnold said. "He'd be in the rotation, but it doesn't always work out that way."
There's no guarantee Stevens will still go to UH by the time he finishes up at Indian Hills, which is routinely ranked among the nation's top JUCO programs. But Arnold has a leg up in this case; IHCC coach Barret Peery was Arnold's assistant coach at College of Southern Idaho, and is Arnold's cousin.
UH lost junior college swingman DeShawn Mitchell to academic ineligibility last month.
Of the four other UH signees for next season, two (small forward Brereton and point guard Shaquille Stokes) have arrived and are enrolled in summer school. The other two, Gerry Blakes and Dillon Biggs, are in summer school in California, working on becoming eligible before the fall.