RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
Gibson gets the point after almost a year off
The junior is looking forward to running the show this year
The Hawaii basketball team's opener is still about a month and a half away, but the start of the season can't come soon enough for Matt Gibson.
After sitting out most of last season, the junior guard, who led UH in scoring in 2004-05, is looking forward to returning to the court and a chance to prove himself at point guard.
"I'm hungry. Sitting out all last year, it feels so good to be back. I need it," Gibson said. "It was just anticipation for this year, that's all you've got every day, just working hard for next year and now it's here."
The Rainbow Warriors are in the midst of their conditioning and skills instruction program and are allowed to work with coaches for 2 hours per week leading up to the start of practice on Oct. 13.
Entering his third year in Manoa, Gibson is now one of the longest-tenured players on the UH roster, trailing only junior Bobby Nash, who is in his fourth season with the Rainbows.
Gibson played the point in high school and junior college, but spent much of his first season in Manoa at shooting guard. He played point guard late in his sophomore season and ended up leading UH with 13 points per game.
He began last season coming off the bench, but was sidelined early by a suspension and eventually ended up applying for a medical hardship.
Gibson is now spending the weeks leading up to the season preparing for a full-time return to action, and eager for his chance to run the offense.
"After having that humbling experience last year, anything I can do, I'll do," he said. "Whatever (coach Riley Wallace) calls my number to do, I'll do.
"I've been watching films every day, trying to get that mentality of distributing instead of always looking for shots. So it's going to be a fun experience."
Along with Gibson, Hawaii returns WAC Freshman of the Year Dominic Waters at point guard and freshman Todd Lowenthal will also compete for playing time as the Rainbows work to replace Deonte Tatum, last season's starter.
"We're going to look at it, we'll look at all of them at point guard," Wallace said.
Marquez Jackson, a freshman receiver with the Warrior football team, has worked out with the basketball team this fall and could make the roster. Jackson (5-foot-7, 144 pounds) started at point guard for East Hall High School in Gainesville, Ga., where he helped the team to two state championships.
"From what we've seen, he fits in," associate coach Bob Nash said. "He was on a high school team that won championships so he knows what to do."
Jackson has the blessing of UH football coach June Jones, who was impressed with the freshman's quickness while watching tapes of Jackson's basketball games.
"I watched him play a couple games of football, but when I saw his basketball tape, that's when I gave him a scholarship," Jones said.
Senior forward Ahmet Gueye spent his summer rehabbing a knee injury and says he'll be ready when practice starts next month.
Gueye, who led the WAC in blocked shots last season, tore the ACL and MCL in his knee the day before the Rainbows' regular-season finale. He is taking part in the team's workouts and rates his knee at 80 percent.
"I was in rehab every day," he said. "I was around good people who took really good care of me. The rehabbing process was really good and I'm still on it. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and get better every day."