Gib Arnold

Hawai’i takes to the water for its offseason workouts (VIDEO)

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With the offseason being what it is, the usual training regimen college basketball players go through has the potential to become stale at some point in the summer. To combat this many programs will switch things up, with the goal not only being to reinvigorate the players but to also force them to adjust to changes on the fly.

Given the school’s location, the Hawai’i men’s basketball program has the ability to take full advantage of the ocean waters during the offseason. According to Dayton Moringa of Warrior Insider the team added canoe paddling on Waikiki Beach to its weekly sessions. After spending the majority of their beach workouts on land, the team took to the sea for some upper-body training and a little competition as well.

Once the players got a feel for paddling in the canoe, they participated in half-mile races against each other. The crew of [Missouri transfer Negus] Webster-Chan, Dyrbe Enos, Niko Filipovich and assistant coach Fisher emerged as the top canoe on this day.

“We went hard,” Webster-Chan said. “Picked the shortest guys, strongest guys on the team. Everybody was talking to us, we were the silent assassins.”

The paddling workout certainly has its physical benefits, but the coaching staff made sure to use the opportunity to also educate the players on the history of the islands they now represent. And with just one native Hawaiian on the current roster (Enos, who hails from O’ahu), such lessons can help strengthen the bond between the team and its fan base.

“I think it’s important when these guys come out here from different places, whether it be Toronto, Canada, or Munich, Germany, that they learn a little bit about the culture and history here of the island,” assistant coach Scott Fisher said. “We thought we could combine both some athletic events with the history and, of course, outrigger canoeing is a big part of what we do here in Hawai’i.”

The Warriors will have to account for the departures of center Vander Joaquim (13.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg), forward Hauns Brereton (10.0, 3.7) and guard Jace Tavita (5.7 apg) as they begin their second season in the Big West, but head coach Gib Arnold does have the pieces needed to once again factor into the league race.

Forwards Isaac Fotu (10.1, 6.2) and Christian Standhardinger (15.8, 7.9) combine to form one of the Big West’s best front court tandems, and guard Brandon Spearman averaged 9.6 points per game last season. Add in San Jose State transfer Keith Shamburger (12.7 ppg, 3.7 apg in two seasons at SJSU) and six other newcomers (Webster-Chan will help them in practice since he has to sit per NCAA transfer rules), and if the chemistry is there the Warriors can at the very least be a contender.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: