The University of Hawai‘i men’s and women’s basketball teams fighting travel logistics related to conference play will be a redundant narrative as they enter the 2021 portion of the 2020-21 season.
COVID-19 indisputably won the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship last season, and the virus is carrying the momentum it established last March into the start of 2021.
Logistical issues aside, the harsh reality for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams is that more cancellations of their Big West conference play schedule will be an inevitable reality they will continue to face.
What was supposed to be both team’s conference openers in San Luis Obispo, California, were canceled following a recent positive COVID-19 test within the Cal Poly men’s basketball program, a Mustangs’ press release stated.
UH men’s head coach Eran Ganot deals with the unusual circumstances of the situation with the poise of a great leader, and displays his leadership over and over again in the Zoom press conferences.
Detractors who would want to sprinkle a dash of cynicism onto his efforts would say: “What choice does he have?”
Ganot has continued to take a positive perspective on the precarious situation his team faces.
He could simply choose not to respond negatively, and has instead continued to guide his team through this situation where they quite frankly aren’t getting as much court time as their conference foes.
Ganot’s responses could be what keeps his team competitive against California-based conference teams during the Big West conference tournament.
The Big West tournament recently announced their relocation of the upcoming men’s and women’s 2021 Conference Tournaments for basketball to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas
The tournaments are scheduled for March 9-13.
Though he and his team lose valuable court time against conference opponents and a chance to evaluate where the team is, Ganot continues to roll with the changes.
“Playing two games is not a lot, but we are in a better place now than we were then, and our guys are learning to practice in groups and continue to play well together,” Ganot said. “From start to finish, you want to continue to get better during the course of the season.”
Facing adversity of any kind builds character and resilience, and both the Hawai‘i men’s and women’s basketball teams face early-season adversity that may benefit them during tournament play.
How will they benefit, you may ask?
Both of these teams have to learn to simulate game play against each other in practice.
They continue to learn how to play together in various rotations, and they are learning how to prepare differently for the challenges they face against their upcoming opponents.
They’ve learned to deal with various setbacks they wouldn’t have otherwise had to face under ordinary conditions.
All of these adversities develop character as they continue to deal with the limitations of their conference schedule.
“(Adapting) is the hallmark of what our coaching staff likes to see from our team,” Ganot said. “Two games are not enough, but we just have to keep working on developing a consistent rotation and play 10 or 11 guys deep.”
With both the men’s and women’s teams having developed the necessary coping mechanisms in adverse situations, hopefully they can utilize that to their advantage in stressful situations like the upcoming conference tourney.
Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get by.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.