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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

July 20th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

 

Hawaii Warriors

Overall Rank: #114

Conference Rank: #5 WAC

 

2005-06: 17-11, 10-6, 4th (t)

2005-06 postseason: none

 

After guards Bobby Nash and Matt Gibson (that’s little Matt with a ‘b’) went out early last year with injuries, it looked like Hawaii was in some trouble.  That didn’t end up to be the case and Coach Riley Wallace’s group of islanders had a splendid campaign.  Despite the loss of three starters, the return of Nash and Gibson will help keep the Warriors on the top half of the WAC standings. 

 

Who’s Out: Starters Julian Sensley, Deonte Tatum and Matt Gipson (big Matt with a ‘p’) have exhausted their eligibility.  Sensley, the star of the Rainbows, averaged a team high 17.6 points as a senior.  It will be an adjustment by the entire team to learn how to play without him on the floor.  Tatum provided leadership in the backcourt, averaging 8.5 points and 3.6 assists.  Big Matt started all 28 games averaging 6.7 points and 5.6 boards.  Chris Botez was the first and last big man off the bench last year and, despite not being a starter, his loss shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Botez was a presence on the court, especially the defensive end where he averaged 1.4 blocks per game.  Hiram Thompson is heading on a mission and will miss this season after appearing in 18 games as a freshman.

 

Who’s In: Todd Lowenthal is generating the most buzz in Hawaii, mainly due to a lack of other point guards; not that the 6-2 San Diego product doesn’t have talent to go along with it.  At Poway High School, Lowenthal averaged 21.0 points, 6.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds.  Riley Luettgerodt will battle for minutes on the wing.  Luettgerodt is a tremendous scorer and averaged 26.7 points last year at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon.  Luettgerodt could start right away.  It won’t be easy to get those minutes with Gibson and Nash returning, but he has enough talent to make Coach Wallace’s decision quite difficult.   A couple transfers in Stephen Verwers from Colorado State and Jared Dillinger from Air Force are expected to make a contribution.  Verwers averaged 1.9 points and 2.0 rebounds as a part-time starter for the Rams two years ago.  The 6-10 forward will battle for a starting spot.  Dillinger, a 6-5 wing, saw limited minutes for the Falcons and will hope to provide a spark off the bench.  Seven-footer Todd Follmer spent a season at Irvine Valley College after redshirting for one season at UC Santa Barbara.  Without too many experienced options off the bench in the frontcourt, fellow newcomers Alex Veit and P.J. Oswley will battle for minutes. 

 

Who to Watch: Matt Lojeski and Ahmet Gueye will combine to replace Sensley…and then some.  Lojeski, a 6-5 senior, averaged 13.6 points last season, his first with the Rainbows.  Lojeski will be the main long range threat and averaged two three balls per game as a junior.   Gueye was another player who impressed after spending some time at the juco level.  Gueye averaged 12.2 points and a team high 7.7 boards and 2.5 blocks and will once again dominate the interior.

 

Final Projection: There are options at point guard, but nobody is the clear cut favorite at this juncture.  Incoming freshman Lowenthal has the tools, but is still a freshman.  Sophomore Dominic Waters should get the first shot at the job.  Waters saw action in 20 games last year, starting two and averaging just 8.6 minutes per contest.  Waters has the edge in experience right now, but I won’t be surprised if Lowenthal sees a majority of the minutes before too long.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: none

 

Projected Starting Five:

Dominic Waters, Sophomore, Guard, 2.9 points per game

Riley Luettgerodt, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Matt Lojeski, Senior, Guard, 13.6 points per game

Stephen Verwers, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

Ahmet Gueye, Senior, Forward, 12.2 points per game

 

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