Tuesday | December 12, 2017
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College basketball: Boosted by bevy of guards, ‘Bows pick up pace

Reinforcements have arrived at Hawaii’s point of attack, allowing the Rainbow Warriors to pick up the pace.

Behind untapped point guard Drew Buggs and newfound backcourt depth, UH’s ball-handlers are better equipped to run the show at a speedy clip.

Pace was an offseason area of emphasis coming off a year in which UH scored 68.1 points per game, 288th of 347 Division I teams.

“Last year we didn’t score as many points as we wanted. Our possessions were probably a little bit less than we would’ve liked,” said associate coach Adam Jacobsen, who coordinates UH’s four-out offense and oversees the guards.

“Everybody says they want to do that, but you gotta be able to do the other things in the game (rebounding, inbounding) that lead to us being able to play with a pace. … You don’t want to play fast and have more turnovers and lead to more bad shots. When you’re a veteran team with smarter players, you can play fast and have better possessions. I think that’s what we can do right now and I hope that carries through the year.”

UH is expected to trot out a three-guard lineup most nights, with the idea that all three can drive and dish, make open 3s, and generally keep pressure on the defense at all times.

The freshman Buggs, sophomore Leland Green and junior Sheriff Drammeh have taken the lead. The latter two have starting experience, while Buggs is coming off a redshirt year to fully recover from knee surgery.

“It was the first time I really had to sit out … not able to play,” Buggs said. “It was really hard, but I embraced the process and embraced the grind. I feel like it helped me a lot, it made me a lot better player. I was able to pick up things just from watching that I might not have been able to see if I was playing. It’s something you don’t want to happen, but at the same time I’m really thankful for it. I feel like it gave me a new perspective, a new drive.”

The ‘Bows can call upon last year’s starting point guard, Brocke Stepteau, either alongside the drive-minded Buggs or to spell him. UH sorely lacked an experienced backup — or an experienced point, period — this time last year. Stepteau is a more confident shooter and leader than he showed in his first real college action as a third-year sophomore.

Green and Drammeh can also run the point in a pinch.

Sophomore Jaaron Stallworth begins the season out of the rotation, as he played from behind all preseason coming off a broken leg he suffered at Yuba College.


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