Fast-paced roster transition was the theme behind Gib Arnold’s successful first year as Hawaii men’s basketball coach. Now he’s hoping stability is the hallmark of the second.
Including redshirts, there are 11 Rainbow Warriors eligible to return for the 2011-12 season, and Arnold said this week he’d like to see them all suited up in green, white and black again come the fall.
Arnold hasn’t done individual exit interviews from the recently completed 19-13 season, as he vaulted straight into recruiting for future years. Those meetings will happen when he returns from the Final Four in Houston, but he doesn’t expect any shakeup.
"I like the guys we got, honestly, and I plan on having them all back," Arnold said. "Sometimes when you talk about players’ roles or things like that, sometimes you have to deal with (shakeup). But as of right now, I think the guys bought into what their roles are."
Confidence in the returning group, led by senior-to-be Zane Johnson, hasn’t stopped Arnold or his assistants from hitting the road hard for future Rainbows. Arnold was scouting Europe for a week and a half, while assistants Benjy Taylor and Brandyn Akana made some stops en route to the Final Four.
After signing two California high school seniors in the fall period — Morningside High guard Gerry Blakes and Serra High forward Ronnie Stevens — UH has three scholarships for the spring signing period.
Dorsey High (Calif.) senior small forward Dillon Biggs is the team’s primary oral commitment this spring. A junior college small forward from Feather River (Calif.) College, Michael Harvey, is another potential signee. The earliest spring recruits can sign a national letter of intent is April 13.
Point guard could be a position of emphasis, as the Rainbows have only freshman Bobby Miles returning. Senior-to-be Miah Ostrowski cannot rejoin the team until football season ends in December, meaning he will again miss most of nonconference play.
Arnold cannot comment on specific players until they are signed, but said: "I think the proof will be in the pudding here in the next couple weeks once signing day comes through. But I like the guys we’re involved with, and I like the guys we signed early."
Another coaches’ duty this time of the year is crafting a nonconference schedule for next season, which has been delegated to Taylor. The Final Four offers a chance for coaches of various staffs to meet and set up games.
"That’s probably one of the main things we’re going to be doing, is trying to lock up the scheduling dates," Arnold said. "Benjy’s on top of that."
While the eyes of most of the college basketball world are on Houston right now, work hasn’t stopped elsewhere. The UH returnees were given spring break off to rest, then were back at it this week. Strength and conditioning coach Chris McMillian recorded results of myriad tests to give the players marks to improve over the offseason.