“Last year the emphasis was just to try
to win games,” said Dung. “This year we have set
our goals a little higher, and what I am trying to relate to
the players is that we need to concentrate on winning the conference
and getting a free-ticket into the post-season.”
If this season’s squad is going to rebound from last
season’s 6-9 conference record to capture the PacWest
conference this season, Dung is going to have to rely on the
play of his three returning guards, Marvin Noble (5-11, 195),
Aaron Abrams (6-4, 217) and Albert Tecul (6-4, 190) to lead
This backcourt trio will be a hard combination to contain,
as coach Dung is going to start them in a three-guard lineup
to begin the season. “Early on in the season, we will
rely on our guard play,” said Dung. “Noble and
Abrams will carry us until the new guys learn the system. Albert
Tecul has also been playing very well.”
Noble, from Portland, Ore, averaged 14.9 points per game last
season and started all 27 games for HPU. This season Dung will
look at Noble, due to his experience, to bring the team together. “Noble
is one of our team captains, and we are going to look at him
for team leadership this year,” said Dung.
Abrams, from San Diego, started all 27 games and averaged 14.6
points per game, but appears to be in even better shape this
season as he lost 15 pounds from a year ago. Coach Dung said
this will help his stamina in getting up and down the court.
Tecul, from Barcelona, Spain, saw the least amount of action
out of the three, but did start four games while Nic Walters
was injured. Tecul ended the season averaging 2.6 points per
game, hitting 34 percent of his shots.
Tecul gives us another ball handler on the floor,” said
Dung. “He is a big guard and a decent shooter who knows
the game, which will help us out a lot.”
Coach Dung hopes that having three guards on the floor at
the same time, will open things up for the offence, in a
they can control the tempo of the game.
These guards will carry us early on, but as soon as the big
men start coming around I think we will be very successful,” said
Dung. “If I could get them running up and down the floor
in tandem, I think we will be hard to handle as a team.”
The Big Men
Both big men from a year-ago, Nate Block (6-7, 215) and
Leandro Maruoka (6-8, 220) two seniors that graduated left
into the off-season looking to fill the void they left.
And he not only acquired one, but four big bodies.
The first acquisition was Aleksander Bojic (6-11, 235),
a sophomore from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, who transferred
College in Kansas. There he averaged 9.5 points and five
rebounds per game.
I started recruiting Bojic first because he is strictly a five
man (center), who is a big, strong, left hander,” said
Dung. “Like all Europeans he has a great offensive game
in and out.”
Bojic is going to start the season on the bench due to
an off-season knee injury.
The signing of Bojic led Dung to Drazen Minic (6-10,
225), another sophomore from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, who
from San Jacinto College in Texas, where he helped the
team to a runner-up finish in the National Athletic Association
Kapena O’Neal (6-8, 260) a junior from Santa Barbara,
Calif. joined HPU after lettering two seasons at Santa Barbara
City College, where he averaged 12.5 points and six rebounds
per game. Dung is going to give O’Neal, the starting
nod early in the season. “O’Neal is playing pretty
solid right now. He is a big body which gives us presence in
the paint,” said Dung. “And he has a decent game
from 15 feet and in.”
Audrius Peciukas (6-9, 225) a sophomore from Joniskis,
Lithuania, transfed to HPU after playing at Arkansas-Monticello
season. There he played in 24 games averaging four points
rebounds a game.
We hope to utilize these big men by having two of them on the
floor at the same time,” said Dung.
The Returning players
Along with Noble, Abrams and Tecul the
Sea Warriors return four players from coach Dung’s
inaugural season: Mike Baron (6-6, 217), Jay Bussey (6-5,
228), Derek Noyes (6-5,
195) and Zack Stephens (6-1, 170).
Bussey, a senior from Lafayette, Calif., enters his
second season for the Sea Warriors and will start along
in the frontcourt. Bussey appeared in 27 games last
season, averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
Bussey runs the floor, rebounds and plays defense very well,” said
Dung. “We are going to look for him to give us
a little more scoring punch since we lost two of our
of last season.”
Baron, a junior from Leverkusen, Germany, red shirted
last year due to an injury, but did see action in
In those four games he averaged 2.5 points and 1.8
Mike has great leaping ability and can definitaly go to the
basket as well as play the perimeter game,” said Dung. “We
look to him, along with Bussey, to give us an offensive
Noyes, a junior guard from Denver, Colo., red shirted
last year, and Stephens, the only player on the
team from Honolulu,
is the only four-year letter winner on the squad.
The New Guys
Along with the new big men, Dung also has two other
new players new to the system: Alec Jakovljevic
Sykes (6-2, 185).
Jakovljevic, a red shirt freshman from Belgrade,
Yugoslavia, played alongside fellow Serbians, Bojic
on the Yugoslavian Junior National team. “ Jakovljevic is a great offensive
player who can shoot the three’s with anybody,” said
Dung. “He will be a good player in years
Stykes, a junior guard from San Francisco, is the
only newcomer in HPU’s veteran backcourt.
Stykes is probably our best athlete on the floor. He can run,
jump, dribble,shoot and is very explosive,” said Dung. “He
can go the basket anytime he wants which will be
a benefit in our transition game.”
The PacWest Conference
I don’t think the other teams in the conference will
take us as a contender,” said Dung. “We
will have to prove ourselves, like any team
that is close to the bottom.
They better just not take us lightly.”
According to Dung the front-runners in the
conference will be University of Hawai‘i-Hilo and Montana State-Billings
and Brigham Young-Hawai‘i.
As for the Sea Warriors, he knows that it is
going to be a long haul to the title, but feels
to do it.
It’s going to take about 10 wins to come out on top.
It’s going to be tough, but you can’t look ahead,
you just have to go out and play every game, like it’s
do or die,” said Dung. “And hopefully
the record will be favorable for us.”
Openining road trip
The Sea Warriors opened up the season on
the road playing in the AT&T Alascom
Jamoree, a three team tournament hosted
by the University of Alaska-Anchorage Nov. 20-23.
HPU (0-3) dropped all three of their games lossing twice to
the host team and once to Eastern Oregon University.
The Sea Warriors opened up the tournament losing
to UA-A (3-0), 72-101. Arron Abrams led HPU with 25 points
while Marvin Noble chipped in 18 points in a losing effort.
Eastern Oregon (1-2) dropped HPU again on Nov. 22, 85-90.
The Sea Warriors were paced by the 19 points by Noble and
points by Abrams and Albert Tecul.
Jay Bussey recoreded a double-double registering 12 points
and 11 rebounds.
On Nov. 23 UA-A sent HPU home winless, winning 80-65.
HPU had three players reach double-digits in points: 16
by Noble and 10 each by Tecul and Abrams.
Noble, who averaged 17.7 points and 4.67 assists per
game, was the only HPU player to be named to the