6-10 center commits to UH
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
The international connections for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team are apparently already in effect.
Vander Joaquim, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound center at College of Eastern Utah, has committed to play for the Rainbow Warriors, according to his coaches.
Joaquim is originally from Angola, and has ties to new Hawai'i associate coach Walter Roese.
Joaquim signed with Nebraska in 2009 — when Roese was an assistant coach for the Huskers. However, he did not meet NCAA academic qualifications and enrolled at Eastern Utah.
Once Roese was hired at Hawai'i two weeks ago, Joaquim decided he would follow. The only question now is when.
"Vander is loyal to Coach Roese, and that's why he's committed to Hawai'i," Eastern Utah assistant coach Brad Barton said. "But he's still got some work to do before he gets there."
Joaquim is on pace to graduate from Eastern Utah by the end of this summer. He needs to earn his associate's degree from junior college to be eligible at Hawai'i. If not, he will have to stay at Eastern Utah for another season.
Joaquim averaged 8.9 points and 6.8 rebounds as a freshman last season. He also led the team with 31 blocked shots.
"He's very skilled," Barton said. "He's got good shooting range for a big man, and he can also post up with his back to the basket.
"He's got the length. If he gets stronger and keeps improving, he could be a great (NCAA) Division I player."
Joaquim started training with Angola's national team when he was still a teenager. He came to the United States in 2007 as a high school junior.
The official language of Angola is Portuguese — same as in Brazil, where Roese is from.
Today is the start of the "regular" signing period for basketball recruits. Joaquim is the second player to commit to the 'Bows during this period.
Trevor Wiseman, a 6-8 forward at Golden Valley High in California, is also committed to Hawai'i. He said he will sign his national letter of intent this week, pending a "signing ceremony" for college-bound athletes at his high school.
"It's Hawai'i for me," he said. "Nothing's changed."
Jordan Coleman, a 6-4 guard at Calabasas High in California, signed with the 'Bows during the "early" period in November.
Wiseman and Coleman will be on opposing teams at a California all-star game on Saturday.
"I've known Jordan for a long time, since we were little kids, just through basketball," Wiseman said. "It'll be fun to play with him over there (at Hawai'i)."
The regular signing period runs through May 19.
New Hawai'i head coach Gib Arnold has been on a recruiting trip for the past week. Per NCAA rules, he can not comment on recruits until a national letter of intent is signed.
FLEMINGS SHINES AT PORTSMOUTH EVENT
Former Hawai'i star Roderick Flemings was one of the standouts at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament last week at Portsmouth, Va.
Flemings averaged 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and led the entire tournament with an astounding .773 field goal percentage.
"I was coming off screens and my teammates were making good passes, so I got a lot of dunks," he said.
In three games, Flemings shot 17 of 22 from the field. He also had seven assists and just one turnover.
"I'm really happy about it," said Flemings, who recently completed his senior season with the 'Bows. "A bunch of scouts and agents came up to me after and said they liked what they saw."
The tournament featured 64 elite college seniors from around the country. Representatives from every NBA team, as well as several European teams, attended the event.