You can bet that the Hawaii Warriors haven’t forgot about the way their 2014-15 season ended, and likely won’t unless they can get back to where they left off and give themselves another opportunity.
The Warriors fell at the hands of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the Big West tournament finale, missing out on a post-season berth by a single game. Hawaii held a 33-29 lead at the break, but lost 67-58 when all was said and done.
If their performance through the first 25 games this season is any indication, they are a team nobody wants to face in the NCAA Tournament. Equipped with a cool 22-3 record overall, and 11-1 overall in conference play, the Warriors are one of the nation’s top teams this season.
A big reason for their strong play has been the steady play from Canadian forward Stefan Jankovic. The native of Mississauga, Alberta has been a steady force up front for the Warriors this season, and has been a key cog on both ends of the floor.
This past week, Hawaii had two big road games on their plate as they looked to stay atop the conference standings. Jankovic stepped up in a big way, helping to lead the Warriors to two wins, including one over the Anteaters to boot.
After scorching the nets this past week, missing only 6 shots from the field over the two games, Hawaii forward Stefan Jankovic is the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week for February 15-21!
Jankovic is a 6’11”, 235-pound forward, and is the first Canadian to win the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week award.
After transferring to Hawaii from Missouri following the 2013-14 season, he has become a household name in the Big West, but a name that many don’t know elsewhere in the country. It’s time for that to change.
Last season, his first with the Warriors, Jankovic averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.1% from the floor.
This season, he has improved in several key areas, taking his game to another level in the process. In 24.3 minutes per game, he is averaging 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest, while shooting an impressive 57.1% from the floor. He has improved his three point shooting percentage to 39.2%, and free throw percentage to 75.4%, while lowering his turnovers to 1.6 per game.
In the Big West Conference, Jankovic is a well-known name for the Warriors. He helps to anchor a front court that is complemented by one of the better back courts in the country. This past week, he took his game to another level in the Warriors’ two road victories.
Hawaii went on the road to take on the Cal State Northridge Matadors on Thursday night, and took on the Anteaters on Saturday. With a heightened level of importance placed on both games, Jankovic didn’t disappoint.
Against the Matadors, he recorded a season-high 34 points, on 12-of-13 shooting, to go along with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Two nights later, against the Anteaters, Jankovic recorded 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 7-of-12 from the field.
Two big performances for Hawaii’s go-to big man.
Across the two games, Jankovic averaged 29.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot a collective 19-of-25 (76%) from the field, 4-of-6 (66.7%) from three point range, and 17-of-22 (77.2%) from the free throw line.
Hawaii is in great position moving forwards in 2015-16. With only four games left in the regular season, the Warriors have a two-game lead atop the conference standings, and the play of Jankovic has been a big reason why. He is one of four players for the Warriors who are averaging double-digit points per game this season. Their balanced attack and strong defensive presence will put them in a good spot come the post-season.
Another perfect week is in the books for Hawaii, and thanks to his personal performances over the two wins, junior forward Stefan Jankovic is this week’s winner of the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week award!
Feb. 8 – 14: Rokas Gustys – Hofstra Pride
Feb. 1 – 7: Alec Wintering – Portland Pilots
Jan. 25 – 31: Brett Bisping – Siena Saints
Jan. 18 – 24: Quinton Chievous – Hampton Pirates
Jan. 11 – 17: Shawn Long – UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Jan. 4 – 10: Tyrell Nelson – Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3: Tanner Plomb – Army West Point Black Knights