The bags are packed as the Humboldt State men’s basketball team prepares for a trip to the Aloha State to take part in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The Jacks face North Texas Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. PT before taking on the host University of Hawaii on Saturday at 10 p.m. PT in the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Green and Gold are the first NCAA Division II school to be invited to the Rainbow Classic in its 54 years of existence.
“It’s a unique situation to be able to play three Division I teams at the start of the season,” Humboldt head coach Steve Kinder said. “We’ve never been able to do that before at Humboldt State. When we come back Sunday, win or lose, we will certainly be tested. And we’ll become a better team from it.”
Last Friday, the Lumberjacks dropped a tough road contest against Fresno State, 78-50, in their first exhibition match up of the year. Senior big-man Justin Everett was three boards shy from a double-double as he led his team with 10 points on a 5-of-9 shooting night. Victor Mijas, Jackson Strong, and Zachary Christian each added nine points themselves, with Christian showing his versatility as he added four rebounds, an assist, two blocks, and a steal. Christian is a new edition for the Jacks, as is Mijas and Strong. Christian, a legitimate 6-foot-10, will fill the space left in the post by Davasyia Hagger, who graduated after the conclusion of last season.
“Christian is a very skilled big man,” Kinder said. “He can shoot the three and he can pass very well out of the post.”
Hagger, the beast that he was even as an undersized center, was not a player who could reliably shoot from any distance. Kinder said Christian’s passing will allow the Jacks to play the style of basketball Kinder is more accustom too — A lot of spacing and ball movement.
Strong should also prove to be a nice pickup for the Jacks. Strong, a junior college transfer, lead the state in 3-point shooting at the junior college level last season and should provide Humboldt with a threat behind the perimeter to go along with returning starting point guard Kameron Curl.
Mijas, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, is the first international player to ever lace up for the Jacks. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native attended Diablo Valley College for the last two seasons before making his way up to the North Coast in 2018. “He’s a very calm player, he’ll give us a steady hand at guard,” Kinder said.
North Texas heads to Hawaii fresh off a season-opening 89-55 win over Angelo State Tuesday night. Umoja Gibson led the Mean Green with 32 points doing most of his damage behind the three-point line, shooting an impressive 7-of-11 from deep. Ryan Woolridge also had a good outing, helping get his teammates involved by dishing out 10 dimes to go along with his eight points and six rebounds.
The University of Hawaii enters the tournament with confidence after it dominated Hawaii Pacific in its lone exhibition contest last week in an 81-45 victory. Zigmars Raimo put on a stellar performance, missing only two shots on 11 attempts en route to a 20-point scoring night. Raimo also got after it on the glass hauling in eight boards to go along with his four assists and two steals. Jack Purchase recorded a double-double for the Rainbow Warriors as he added 11 points and corralled a team-high 10 rebounds.