For the final time in their collegiate careers, senior forwards Gibson Johnson and Mike Thomas will play at the Stan Sheriff Center as Rainbow Warriors basketball players.
Saturday is senior night for the Warriors as they take on Big West Conference rival, UC Irvine. But more so than just looking for the team’s fourth-straight win on the season, head coach Eran Ganot wants his seniors to be recognized for the dedication they put into this program.
“I could go forever about how special they’ve been I think to this program, this university, to Hawaii, to myself, to spending time with my family,” Ganot said. “I wish others would be so fortunate to be around those guys as coaches.”
Thomas has been around the team for five years now, seeing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the team. From defeating California-Berkeley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to NCAA drama surrounding the program, Thomas isn’t ready to reflect on his collegiate career just yet.
“It’s a big deal,” Thomas said of Saturday night. “I’m trying not to think too much about it and let the moment happen, but I’m excited. I’m just excited to finish it here.”
As for Johnson, he transferred from junior college a year ago and suited up for Hawaii in a down year as the team recovered from losing its entire starting five from the year before. But now that the time is currently on a hot-streak, Johnson just wants to keep the good times rolling for as long as possible.
“It’s a big week. There’s been a lot of work leading up to this - before Hawaii and here at Hawaii,” Johnson said. “I’m just really appreciative to be here in this situation and I’m really excited and looking forward to getting a win.”
Ganot realizes the impact that both Johnson and Thomas have made as leaders for this program, and he doesn’t take that lightly.
“To do what they’ve done under some really dark cloud sometimes during their tenure, they’ve performed off the map … it starts with them,” he said. “And we’re very appreciative of what they’ve done for us.”
Also joining Thomas and Johnson in senior night festivities will be fan favorite Zach Buscher, who will not return to the team next season after he walks this Spring despite having a year of eligibility remaining.
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