Hawaii took a few steps forward last season, but return just four players from the 16-16 campaign. With seven newcomers and three redshirts coming into the fold, coach Gib Arnold needed someone to lean on in the Rainbow Warriors' inaugural Big West season.
That player was expected to be big man Vander Joaquim -- but Arnold announced late Thursday that Joaquim would miss four to six weeks with a torn MCL.
“It's something you deal with,” Arnold told the Honolulu Star Advertiser. “It's being part of a team, guys working hard. You've got big bodies down there. It's unfortunate, you never want it to happen.”
Joaquim, a 6-foot-10 Angola native, suffered the injury in a preseason workout. He averaged 14.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, shooting 56 percent from the field. Joaquim was a first team All-WAC player last season, and was being counted on to repeat that honor in the Big West.
In Joaquim's absense, Arnold will rely on transfer Christian Standhardinger and returning forward Hauns Brereton to shoulder the load in the frontcourt. Standhardinger, a 6-foot-8 forward from Germany, averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during his sophomore season at Nebraska. Brereton started 15 games and averaged 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last year.