As the coronavirus pandemic added uncertainty to JoVon McClanahan’s recruiting process, the point guard took a leap of faith by committing to the University of Hawaii for the 2020-2021 season.
McClanahan, who averaged 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists for Sheridan College in Wyoming during the 2019-2020 season, was unable to take an official visit to Manoa before deciding that’s where he wanted to play Division I basketball. Even though he’s never been to the islands before, he believes UH is the right place for him.
“I just felt like their staff as a whole was all on the same page. They have a great staff, obviously, coach Eran (Ganot). I just feel like the stability over there is great,” McClanahan told KHON2. “The fan support, I think that’s gonna go big with just winning and the culture and all that type of stuff. Just bringing excitement to the school, that’s why I think that Hawaii has something great going.
“I’m excited just to kind of come down there and see Hawaii for the first time. Obviously, it’s beautiful and all that type of stuff. That’s the exciting part. Being nervous but also being excited to see something new and just seeing a new culture and all that kind of stuff.”
McClanahan, who hails from the Bay Area, chose UH over offers from Washington State, UC Santa Barbara, Utah Valley, Cal State Fullerton and Montana State.
With the likely departure of all-time program assists leader Drew Buggs, McClanahan figures to be right in the mix for the vacant starting spot at point next season. Playing time aside, McClanahan sees similarities between Sheridan and the ‘Bows in terms of style of play.
“They space the floor, similar to what I did at Sheridan,” said McClanahan, who will be a sophomore this fall. “Space the floor, a lot of ball screens, going downhill. Just playmakers and they love playmakers and that’s what I do best. I can go down and create my own shot but also get my teammates involved so I think that fits me well, just being able to create.”
Players entering the Rainbow Warrior program typically enroll in the second summer session in July to acclimate themselves to campus and participate in offseason training and conditioning. It is unknown when exactly McClanahan and other players will be able to come. But for now, he’ll stay ready.
“My dad has the keys to a high school so obviously I’m fortunate enough to get in the gym every day, just working out and staying in shape,” said McClanahan, who is staying with family near San Francisco. “Running, shooting. Just staying sharp so when I do come up there, I’ll be prepared.”
2019-2020 Hawaii basketball expected departures:
Eddie Stansberry, guard (Graduation)
Zigmars Raimo, forward (Graduation)
Drew Buggs, guard (Transfer portal)
Dawson Carper, center (Transfer Portal)
Jessiya Villa, guard (Transfer portal)
2020-2021 Hawaii basketball newcomers:
Beon Riley, guard (Signed letter of intent)
Biwali Bayles, guard (Verbal commitment)
Manel Ayol, forward (Verbal commitment)
JoVon McClanahan (Verbal commitment)