After splitting the first two outings of a four game homestand, the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team returns to the Stan Sheriff Center this week looking to keep pace in the Big West Conference race.
The Rainbow Warriors (12-7, 3-2 BWC) will play host to arch-rival Long Beach State (8-13, 2-3 BWC) on Thursday before closing out the island lockdown against UC Santa Barbara (15-4, 4-1 BWC) on Saturday.
UH expects to ride a wave of momentum into this week, fresh off of a 20-point win over UC Davis this past Saturday.
In that outing, seven-foot freshman center Dawson Carper saw his role continue to increase.
In Hawaii’s last two games he logged double-digit minutes for the first time and scored a career high 13-points against the Aggies.
“I take a lot of pride in it now. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s a lot of work on and off the court, a lot of things that people don’t see, but we have great trainers and great coaches that help make things easier for me. I just work with them and at the end of the day it’s paying off,” Carper told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Also evident is the excitement that Carper creates at the Sheriff Center. Scoring oututs and blocks, even rebounds send his teammates out of their seat from the bench and fans raising the decibel leader as an obvious fan-favorite.
“When he came in he brought a spark and that’s something that we’re going to look forward to for the rest of the season and we’re very excited for Dawson. It’s something that’s been coming along and everyone is really proud to see it finally show in front of the fans,” said sophomore guard Drew Buggs.
“He’s just one that wants to learn. He’s one of those guys that is always trying to get better and when I see him have success it’s just good to see a freshman like that kind of start to finally figure things out,” added senior guard Brocke Stepteau.
According to Carper, it’s just another day at the office as he remains focused on earning an even bigger role on the team.
“When I see my teammates reaction and fans reaction it’s just, I got to play. It doesn’t seem to special to me but it has a big impact on the rest of the game so I just gotta go out there and help my team the best I can, you know, pump them up or get the fans involved. It’s the little things that actually have a big difference in a game.”
The Rainbow Warriors and 49ers tip-off on Thursday at 7:00pm at the Stan Sheriff Center.
BIG WEST STANDINGS (BWC RECORDS ONLY)
UC Irvine 5-1
UC Santa Barbara 4-1
Cal State Fullerton 4-2
Long Beach State 2-3
UC Riverside 2-4
UC Davis 1-4
Cal Poly 0-5