Owies gets release

by Brian McInnis on April 7, 2017

Matt Owies, right, will play elsewhere next season. Photo by Steven Georges/Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Matt Owies, right, will play elsewhere next season. Photo by Steven Georges/Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RoyGBivs April 7, 2017 at 10:30 am

Kinda figured we’d be losing someone, hard to find right-fit guys to play here, all the best to Matt!

2 tako April 7, 2017 at 10:53 am

Not surprised…wants to play PG…however, with the return of Drew Buggs it seemed highly unlikely he’ll play or start at that position. Hoping for a quality “big” that can impact the game immediately, the one prospect visiting doesn’t appear to be a game changer. What do you all think?

3 ruffles April 7, 2017 at 12:06 pm

if i remember correctly, gibson johnson didn’t have the most eye popping stats before coming here also, about 12 ppg 5 rpg, shooting 55%, compared with russell at 9 ppg about 5 rpg but shooting 65% and johnson turned out to be a very important piece to the team, so stats can be deceiving, gotta be about team first, but yeah gotta shoot free throws better or else hack a shaq.

4 cappie the dog April 7, 2017 at 12:09 pm

I thought DeMarcus Cousins’ little brother was going to be an impact player. As it turns out, Hawaii didn’t lose anybody of significance. He had a mediocre career at South Florida.

I am hoping for the best from our current crop of big men.

But a sure thing would be nice.

5 Abcdeer April 7, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Was curious to see if they would have kept him on scholarship for next season. Can’t rule out they told him he wouldn’t be receiving one but he makes things much easier for them.

6 Deeek April 7, 2017 at 4:03 pm

I liked Owies. He had spunk. He’s a freshman. But, he wanted to play PG so I understand. Life is too short so pursue his dream young man. Good luck to him and thanks for your service to UH BB.

7 cappie the dog April 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm

A quick glance at an ex-player’s Twitter account tells me that if the coach doesn’t give him significant playing time, there are going to be problems.

I detect a subtext of entitlement.

I will be tracking this team very closely next season.

8 Lowtone123 April 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

I hope they can land Russell. From his you tube video he looks a lot like Gibson Johnson but better off the dribble.

9 cappie the dog April 9, 2017 at 5:49 am

Hopefully, Owies can hook up with a team like Seattle U., where Manroop Clair had some success.

I think Matthew Owies is better than Clair.

I predict he’ll land at a Big Sky or WAC school.

10 cappie the dog April 11, 2017 at 4:42 am

I will miss Matthew Owies, but I didn’t feel like crying like when Bo Barnes asked for his release. I was driving out to Hawaii Kai, en route to checking out a dog spa, when Jackson Wheeler and Jeff Portnoy broke the news, which made me want to swerve off the road.

I will always respect and appreciate Gib Arnold for bringing the program out of the Bob Nash doldrums, but that should have been the first red flag.

Anthony Salter was one thing, but Barnes’s discontent seemed to come out of nowhere.

I used to think mass exoduses was a Hawaii thing, but look at what is happening to Memphis. Three players; three talented players.

11 cappie the dog April 11, 2017 at 4:45 am

If Kendall Smith isn’t considering Hawaii, I guess he wants to test himself at a Power 5 school.

12 Brian McInnis April 11, 2017 at 9:03 am

It seems that way.

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