The 2015-16 University of Hawai’I at Hilo men’s basketball team won four of its last five games, just missing out on a post-season berth in the Pacific West Conference tournament.
Needing to replace three starters off of that squad and two other graduated players, head coach G.E. Coleman has accomplished that with the signing of six standout players. The list includes four transfers and two freshmen.
One of those transfers brings NCAA tournament experience to the Vulcan camp. 6’6″ wing Brian Ishola played two seasons at North Dakota State, including a freshman campaign that saw the Bison win the Summit League and advance to the Big Dance, falling to Gonzaga in the first round (86-76).
A junior, Ishola hails from Woodbury, Minnesota and prepped at East Ridge High School.
Coleman also landed three junior college players. Junior point guard Ryley Callaghan comes to the UHH campus from Peninsula Community College (Wash.), where he was named the Most Valuable Player of the North Division of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) after averaging 14.7 points a game and nearly three assists a contest.
The 6’1″ Port Orchard, Wash. native drilled 69 three-pointers on the season. He prepped at South Kitsap High School.
Wing Donavan Taylor is a 6’3″ starter from Chaffey CC (Calif.), where he averaged nine points and 6.5 rebounds a game.
Taylor played at Silverado High School in Compton, Calif.
Arnold Silva is a 6’5″ forward that played the past two seasons at Santa Rosa JC (Calif.), averaging 7.1 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds a contest.
He came to Santa Rose from Healdsburg, Calif.
The most noticeable recruit is 6’11” freshman Onyx Boyd.
The Virginia Beach native missed half of his senior season at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School with an injury, but prior to that was on the radar of a number of NCAA Division I programs.
As a junior, he ranked sixth in the state of Virginia in scoring.
Rounding out the class is freshman Eric Wattree, a 6’3″ wing from South Kitsap, Wash.
Wattree, a former high school teammate of Callaghan, averaged nearly 25 points a game and three assists a contest for the Wolves. His father Eric, Sr., was a collegiate standout at Wyoming and Azusa Pacific.
“This is a great recruiting class for us,” Coleman said. “We’ve added height and talent, and I feel like we finally look like a full-fledged Division II team. That’s a start for where we need to be, because we play in what I think is the toughest D-II league in the country in the Pacific West Conference.”
The Vulcans will open the 2016-17 season on the road, taking on west region schools Simon Fraser (Nov. 11), Seattle Pacific (Nov. 12) and Saint Martin’s (Nov. 15). UHH will also play sister school and 2015-16 NCAA tournament squad UH Manoa, at the Stan Sheriff Center on Nov. 22.