McClanahan, da Silva, Coleman named Captains for 2023-24 Warriors season

Here are your senior Captains for the 2023-24 UH men’s basketball season: (from left) JoVon McClanahan, Bernardo da Silva and Noel Coleman. (photo by Brandon Flores)

By Wes Nakama

There is a good kind of “edginess” to this year’s 2023-24 University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team, so it is only fitting that three hard-nosed “blue collar” workers were announced as team captains for this season.

Point guard JoVon McClanahan, center Bernardo da Silva and shooting guard Noel Coleman were each introduced to applause in their new roles at a team huddle just prior to the annual “Media Day” photo session Wednesday afternoon in SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.

All three are seniors, with da Silva in his fifth year in the program and McClanahan and Coleman each in their fourth. But more than just veteran status, each has shown dogged perseverance and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team and get the job done.

“They say you’re only as good as your senior leaders, and those are three seniors,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “We’re very excited about the three (captains) we have, all three of them have been here at least four years and they’ve poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into our program. They’re very invested, they care, and will set a great example for after they’re gone.

“Those guys have earned the right to be Captain, and we expect them to go up another level. It’s more than a title, it’s a responsibility, but that responsibility means you have more influence over our team and program’s success. So it’s something they should be excited about.”

McClanahan, who is from Vallejo, Calif. and transferred to UH after one season at Sheridan (Wyo.) Junior College, entered the program as a backup but ascended to a starting role last year and finished the season by being named to the All-Big West Conference second team. At 5 feet 10 and 175 pounds, he is one of the league’s smaller guards yet is known for his tenacity and fearlessness on offense and defense.

“I think it means a lot … what it means to be a captain of the Hawai’i men’s basketball team,” McClanahan said. “I just want to thank my coaches and my teammates for believing in me. I’m honored, and ready for the task.”

McClanahan led the team in Big West play with 13.5 points per game, and led the team overall with 3.5 assists per game and 114 free throws made. His assist-to-turnover ratio (1.87) ranked third in the conference. McClanahan also hit the buzzer-beating shot versus SMU to lift Hawai’i to its first Diamond Head Classic Championship, was named Most Outstanding Player of that tournament, then won the team’s Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player Award and Most Improved Player Award at season’s end.

“He was a big part of our program regardless, then he had to step into a more featured role and just kept coming,” Ganot said, noting McClanahan stepped up after Juan Munoz was lost for the season in early November. “That’s the big thing I’ll say about ‘Von at the end of the day, (is that) in every area, every metric — on the court, off the court, classroom, weights, conditioning, skills, leadership … he just got better and better. And that’s what you want in your program, the biggest thing is to get better, and be ready.”

Coleman, who is from Leopoldsburg, Belgium and transferred to UH after one season at San Diego, earned second team All-Big West honors in 2022 after leading the team in scoring (14.8 ppg), 3-pointers made (45), 3-point shooting percentage (.441), free throws made (52) and free throw percentage (.813). Last season, he earned All-Big West Honorable Mention after starting all 33 games and again leading team in scoring at 12.2 ppg and free throw percentage at 86.5 percent, good for fifth-best all time in program history.

Coleman said although he is not the most vocal player, he viewed himself as a leader by example even before being officially being named a team Captain.

“Definitely this year, being my last year I just want to help the team wherever I can,” said Coleman, who was diving for loose balls in the first official practice on Sept. 28. “I’m the type of guy who should lead by example, because I’m not as vocal as others. So that should be my main priority — showing the young guys how to compete and what it should look like in drills.”

Like Coleman, da Silva is not known by fans to be overly vocal, but his steady and persistent presence despite going through injuries has not gone unnoticed.

“He came in (as a freshman) at 192 pounds, and he’s 220 now, and he hung in there through some early health issues,” Ganot said. “He’s now had his healthiest offseason, and hopefully that continues. Guys respect him, he crushes everything in the weight room and the mile (run). His attitude is tremendous, his work ethic is tremendous, so now his words carry more weight. And he has spent the most years with this program than anybody on this team.”

Last season, da Silva started 30 games and led the team in field goal percentage (.545) and blocked shots (32), while averaging 9.5 ppg and 6.6 rebounds per game (fifth in the Big West). He ranked second in the conference with 1.17 blocks per game.

Ganot said all three captains complement each other, especially coming from three different positions, but the common theme is they each know and understand what UH basketball represents and is committed to carrying out its expectations.

“How many (teams) have three guys in the program for four years these days?” Ganot said. “And to have them of this quality … is a luxury. We always say it starts at the top, and we’re very appreciative that our top has the caliber of people that they are.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Theme Blog Explorer by Kantipur Themes