After 7 months of turmoil and waiting, the University of Hawai’i basketball teams returned to the court to begin official organized team practices for the upcoming season.
“I think our guys where fired up. I think there is an excitement every year when you get back on campus. Next big one is when you get back on the floor with other guy,” Rainbow Warriors Head Coach, Eran Ganot, said during media availability on Friday. “I know this journey has been strange and different. We’re obviously not where a normal practice would be, but reality is this was the first practice. There was a little bit more contact allowed. It was a step in the right direction and you could feel how energized they were to just compete, not where we want or need to be but more than we had.”
“It’s fun to be around them. Their energy is tremendous. They’re being really great with how fluid everything is all the time,” Rainbow Wahine’s Head Coach, Laura Beeman, added about her team, “When we get on the court the energy is fun. There is a lot dancing, a lot of singing, but when we need to get down to work, we get down to work.”
The NCAA approved a November 25th start date for division 1 basketball. Both ‘Bows programs do not have a new schedule set, but are working as if they will play a game as close to the 25th start date as possible.
Despite the noticeable excitement, there was still a caution do to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The two programs emphasized how important it is to be in even more diligent in their procedures to keep everyone safe and healthy now that they are in-season.
“It’s kind of something we talk about daily. There are so many thing you can point to to remind student athletes. One little slip up doesn’t effect just them; if effects all of us. It effects other teams. It effects Hawaii. We do our best to remind them how important it is. There are no heat checks with this. We’ve done a good job and will continue to do a good job,” Ganot said.
“It’s definitely a time and score kind of thing. We’re getting into the gym. We’re with each other everyday. Hours are getting increase. We’re being able to practice. With November 25th coming as close as it is, you have to remind yourself that this is what we’ve been waiting for so keep priorities straight,” Senior combo, Samuta Avea, agreed with his coach.
“All I can say is they are doing an incredible job. They know what’s at stake. They want to play. They want their season to go on,” Beeman futher explained, “They are on each other all the time to keep their masks on. You don’t know who others have been around, but we want to play.”