College Basketball Nation: Davis Rozitis

Hawaii coaches give recruits surfing lessons

May, 2, 2011
Hawaii coach Gib Arnold welcomed a pair of new players to the program and the Aloha State by helping them do as the Hawaiians do and catch some waves.

Dayton Morinaga of Warrior Insider has video of Arnold teaching incoming freshmen Dillon Biggs and Gerry Blakes how to surf on an idyllic Hawaiian day in a scene that was, well, pretty awesome for the Los Angeles-area natives to experience.

According to Warrior Insider, both players had already signed their national letters of intent before even taking their official visits and getting to go surfing.
Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold and assistant coach Brandyn Akana both surf in their spare time, so they provided the guidance and instructions for Biggs and Blakes.

"Well, I don't think we have to worry about either of them getting a surfing scholarship any time soon," Arnold said with a laugh.

As expected for first-time surfers, Biggs and Blakes spent more time falling into the ocean than riding the waves, but both said it was a priceless experience.

Arnold, who did the haka at Midnight Madness in his first season as coach, has gone shirtless once again to show how attractive his program can be with its natural advantages. That it was two recruits from Los Angeles who were able to do the surfing was no coincidence.

Arnold, the former USC assistant, has signed seven players from Southern California with his first two recruiting classes (one has since left the program) and also has USC transfer Davis Rozitis becoming eligible next season.

The ability to draw talent from one of the nation's recruiting hotbeds should pay dividends for Arnold after he led the Warriors to a 19-win season and an appearance in the Postseason Tournament, the program's first appearance in the postseason since 2004.

Hawaii is leaving the WAC after next season to join the Big West, which is made up of mostly Southern California schools and will allow numerous opportunities for players to have their families watch them play.

And as evidenced by the surfing lessons, life in Hawaii isn't all that bad, either.

Hawaii will haka dance at Madness event

October, 14, 2010
First-year Hawaii coach Gib Arnold brought in so many new players that the team will be largely unrecognizable when it is introduced at the school's Madness event.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the team will try to make a good first impression Friday evening by doing the haka -- a traditional dance that Hawaii football players have performed to fire themselves up for games.
The haka idea came about when Arnold saw the dance group of Mana Gauthier practicing on campus. The new coach talked to the former UH golfer about working the team through some lessons.

But can it be anywhere close to the quality of the UH football team's version?

"It's so completely opposite of my element, but I definitely enjoyed working on it, and I hope the fans enjoy it," said junior point guard Anthony Salter, a Tallahassee, Fla., native and one of 10 newcomers to Hawaii. "I don't want to offend anybody if we don't do it well enough. I know that's big to the culture and things like that. I'ma go out there, give it my best shot, get the dances down perfectly so I make a good impression."

The haka has been known to intimidate opponents, which is more than a team that last season went 3-13 for a last-place finish in the WAC can say.

Perhaps then the group dance will be a symbolic way of ushering in a new era with Arnold, the former USC assistant who wants to rebuild the program by primarily recruiting players internationally and from Southern California.

Among the players Arnold has added to the roster are centers in Vander Joaquim, a junior college transfer from Angola, and Davis Rozitis, a Latvian who will sit out the season after transferring from USC. Other recruits come from all across the United States.

It's this motley crew that will chant and posture while doing the haka, hoping a display of togetherness will translate on the court as well.

Academics cause Washington State transfer

June, 8, 2010
James Watson had quite a life story to tell during his time at Washington State, and unfortunately for the freshman, his basketball career will now be taking a detour because of academics.

Watson, a 6-foot-7 forward who appeared in 29 of the Cougars' 31 games this season, was declared academically ineligible for the fall semester and will transfer to a junior college rather than sit out during that time.

"We wish James nothing but the best," Wazzu coach Ken Bone said in a statement.

Here's the updated list to all the West Coast transfers from this offseason.

Arizona: D.J. Shumpert

Arizona State: Demetrius Walker, Taylor Rohde, Brandon Thompson, Victor Rudd

Boise State: Tyler Young

BYU: Michael Loyd Jr.

Cal: D.J. Seeley , Omondi Amoke (dismissed)

Cal State Bakersfield: Marcus Hall

Fresno State: Brandon Sperling, Taylor Kelly, Mychal Ladd

Gonzaga: Grant Gibbs, G.J. Vilarino

Hawaii: Jeremy Lay, Aleksandar Milovic

Loyola Marymount: Kevin Young

Montana State: Austin Brown, Colt Idol

Nevada: London Giles

New Mexico: Nate Garth, Will Brown (dismissed)

Oregon: Drew Wiley, Matthew Humphrey, Josh Crittle

Pacific: Royal Edwards, Sterling Carter, Everson Lacerda

Pepperdine: Andy Shannon

San Francisco: Kwame Vaughn , Nikola Stojiljkovic

Santa Clara: Troy Alexander

UC Davis: Julian Welch, Adam Malik

UCLA: J'mison Morgan (dismissed), Mike Moser

UC Riverside: Lateef McMullan, Konner Veteto

USC: Leonard Washington (dismissed), Davis Rozitis

Utah: Carlon Brown, Marshall Henderson, Jordan Cyphers, Matt Read

Utah State: Anthony DiLoreto (dismissed), Modou Niang, Tyrone White, Jaxon Myaer

Washington: Elston Turner, Clarence Trent

Washington State: Xavier Thames, Michael Harthun, Anthony Brown, John Allen, James Watson

Weber State: Franklin Session