Rainbow Warrior basketball hosts media day ahead of 2018-19 season

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The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team held its annual media day on Wednesday at the Stan Sheriff Center where the ‘Bows broke out the team’s new uniforms and posed for team pictures.

A total of eight letter-winners return from last year’s squad that went 17-13 overall and 8-8 in the Big West. Meanwhile, four recruits join this year’s team, including a trio of frontcourt players who stand 7-0.

The team will enter the season having already gained chemistry following their historic tour through four cities in Australia.

“Yeah, definitely, it’s different this year because we’ve played together now four games, and we played against some pro teams. So I think our confidence might be a little farther along than it would be if we were just practicing all the time,” said senior guard Brocke Stepteau. “We got some games under our belt, and I think we got some good experience from the trip. Some of the young guys are more developed, like skill-wise, they don’t look like freshmen. Some of our young guys are really talented. We got some older guys. A lot of our backcourt is returning, guys that played last year. I think we got more confidence, just kind of learning from the lumps we took the past couple years. I think it’s going to pay off this year, hopefully.”

Hawaii opens the season versus Portland on Nov. 9 in the 54th edition of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic. Also in this year’s field are Humboldt State and North Texas, a team that won 20 games and captured last year’s CBI title.

“It’s always just the continued growth to see this team come together. Every team is different. Every journey is different. But the start of the year, to see how they go from the first time together towards the end of the year, to see how they grow as a team, to see who emerges, to see the leadership come through, so I just look forward to it every year, and I know they’re excited about it as well,” said head coach Eran Ganot.

Prior to the season-opener, the program will host its third annual Tipoff Event on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Stan Sheriff Center. One of the most anticipated UH social events of the year, the Tipoff is sponsored by Bank of Hawaii and Hawaiian Airlines.

The event has been a huge hit with close to 500 fans attending each of the last two years, and another sellout is anticipated this year. The Tipoff lets fans enjoy great food, win auction items, and get up close and personal with the players and staff of this year’s Rainbow Warrior basketball team.

The fundraiser starts at 5:30 p.m. with drinks and a silent auction. Dinner and a program will follow with players and members of the coaching staff participating in a Q&A with the broadcast team from Spectrum Sports.

Tables (seating 10) are available beginning at $1,500. Individual tickets may also be purchased at $150 each. Contact Jesse Nakanishi at jessen@hawaii.edu.

All proceeds from the evening will go to men’s basketball program. Most of the funds will be directed toward student-athlete tuition and health and nutrition. It will also benefit the program’s recruiting and retention efforts.

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