Matt Owies will ply his trade elsewhere at the point next season.
As it states in today’s print edition, the Australian has been granted his release from Hawaii after just a single season in Manoa.
Owies cited a desire to be a full-time point guard for a college team, as opposed to the off-the-ball responsibilities he had at the 2 for chunks of the 2016-17 season.
He’s the second player this spring to confirm a decision to leave the program early, following walk-on guard Brian Garrett.
It is no secret UH wants to bolster its ranks at point guard this offseason. Owies emphasized the decision to leave was his and said “Coach (Eran) Ganot took that really well.” He added that he’ll remember his teammates and the fan base.
Owies wants to remain in the U.S. He said it doesn’t matter if he ends up on the West Coast somewhere, or further east. If he lands at another D-I, he’ll have to sit out a year.
“I’m willing to do whatever,” he said. “The year doesn’t really faze me. As long as it’s the right environment to be a part of and I just keep getting better.”
His departure is somewhat surprising, given he did get some playing time (11-plus minutes per game) and Ganot has spoke at length about wanting to build strong program ties with Australia. After some difficulties adjusting to the speed of Division I early in the season, he had a handful of contributing moments in Big West play, including at UC Irvine and at Long Beach State.
When Owies was signed in the fall of 2015 — the first member of UH’s 2016 recruiting class — he was the third Australian to join the program under Ganot (and fourth ever), joining Jack Purchase and Jakob Cornelissen. Cornelissen, a walk-on, lasted just one season.
Owies, who had some junior national team experience, didn’t think the opportunity for a true Australian pipeline has dwindled.
“Oh, absolutely. Coach Ganot had such big success with that at Saint Mary’s,” he said. “I don’t see the reason why they can’t still do that pipeline here, with Jack being here and stuff like that. I mean, I don’t think my decision will hinder that at all.”
He said he’ll still be at the team banquet next week.
UH now has three scholarships to offer for next season. Casper College big man Colin Russell is set to make an official visit this weekend.