HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It may be the off-season for the players, but for University of Hawaii men's basketball coach Eran Ganot, and every other Division I coach in any sport, there is no off-season.
"I think some of the busy we create and put on ourselves because of things we want to constantly do to build our program, enhance our program, improve our program," said Ganot. "That creates more work and more of that hectic time, but I think that's great."
From the moment the final horn sounded at the Big West Tournament in Anaheim back in March, the work began for Ganot and his staff.
Mike Thomas will return from injury next season, along with the core of Jack Purchase, Leland Green, Sheriff Drammeh, Gibson Johnson and Brocke Stepteau. Reprieve from NCAA sanctions after winning the appeal gave UH two scholarships back, plus two more following the transfers of Matthew Owies and Larry Lewis Jr. Their 2017 recruiting class all of a sudden grew from one to five.
A big need for the 'Bows was a true point guard, a role Jaaron Stallworth (Yuba College) fits, in addition to Drew Buggs who will make his debut after redshirting last season following an ACL tear in high school. The incoming class also includes a pair of athletic wings in Justin Hemsley (La Verne, CA.) and Kahuku's Samuta Avea, plus sharpshooter Brandon Thomas, brother of Mike Thomas.
"I think the talent's pretty good. We still have one to fill and we're looking to fill that here shortly with potentially a transfer or a front court position. We wanted it to compliment the rest of what we have returning without losing our culture," said Ganot. "I really like where we're at and I like our future. That was important to make sure we have a program that's set us up for sustained success."
Those have been treacherous waters to navigate considering the situation Ganot stepped into when he was hired back in 2015. The 2018 recruiting class will be his first where the returning roster and scholarship situation are clear.
"I think with the way the game is now, it's pretty good to keep one or two [scholarships] late because of the transfer market. You always have to adjust to the landscape of recruiting, but I don't think it's been great to have that many late as we've had the last couple of years."
Players aren't the only recruiting the 'Bows have had to do. Ganot lost the first key member of his staff since taking over when assistant coach Chris Acker left for Boise State earlier this month.
"I think that's a good problem and a problem we might continue to have, just in terms of having a staff and people that are attractive to other programs. We're going to add another one that's really good and to compliment our great staff, we'll always have a great staff, but very excited for him [Acker] and his family in terms of the situation that's worked for them, and appreciative for all he's done for us, because he's done a lot."
Ganot said the amount of interest in the vacant position is encouraging and he's hoping to announce the hire and the last scholarship player before the end of the month. The team returns July 3rd for the start of the summer program. The first of three recruiting periods in the month of July begins on the 12th.
"The last couple of years have been difficult with some of the circumstance, but our culture is now rock solid, the future is bright and there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon."