New captains Sensley, Tatum asked to lead UH
The Hawaii basketball team had already been looking to Julian Sensley and Deonte Tatum for production on the court. The Rainbow Warriors will now turn to the senior tandem for leadership as well.
Sensley and Tatum were selected as team captains in a vote of the players following yesterday's practice at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"The team speaks for itself," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "Those are the guys who have been the most vocal out here. They've shown leadership with the hustle and effort they've given this year."
Wallace decided not to designate captains last year, but felt the team's effort in practice and the leadership shown by the seniors warranted bringing the tradition back this season.
"I want them to sustain that and I want the team to understand that the leadership and effort that's put out here is rewarded," he said.
"They're responsible for the team. There's times if we have a problem, and (the coaches) think they need a team meeting, we'll tell the captains to call a meeting. There's other times when they feel it and they'll call it themselves."
Sensley, a 6-foot-9 forward, is entering his third year in the program. He has started 59 of his 62 games with the Rainbows and led the team in rebounding while finishing second in scoring both years with the team.
He was selected to the preseason All-Western Athletic Conference first team in a vote of the league's coaches.
"It just feels good knowing that your team looks to you for leadership," Sensley said. "I think that's what lacked on our team last year. It's an honor and it's lots of work.
"Me and Deonte are kind of similar. We're both kind of quiet. I think we've done a better job of trying to lead vocally. I'm always saying something, and if I'm not he is. That's just something we have to learn to do this year and at the same time lead by example."
Tatum, a 6-foot-3 guard, started 13 games as a junior-college transfer last year and is battling for the starting point guard job again this fall. He averaged 3.4 points and 1.5 assists as a junior.
"You definitely appreciate that they think that much of you," Tatum said. "All I try to do is work hard and try to help out as much as I can."
The captains hope to help the Rainbows improve on last season's 16-13 mark. The team is looking to return to the postseason after having a string of four appearances in the NCAA Tournament or NIT snapped.
"Last year we didn't do as well as we should have, and this year I definitely want our team to reach our full potential," Tatum said.
The Rainbows, picked to finish second in the WAC, open the season with an exhibition game against UH-Hilo on Nov. 11 at the Sheriff Center. They begin the regular season on Nov. 19 against nationally ranked Michigan State.