For the week of December 19-25, Mid-Major Madness has selected Hawai’i guard JoVon McClanahan as the Mid-Major Player of the Week. The junior led the Rainbow Warriors to a trio of victories at the 2022 Diamond Head Classic.
Heading into the weekend at 6-3, Hawai’i welcomed a top-notch group of mid-major programs to the Islands of Aloha including SMU, Iona, Utah State, Seattle, George Washington, Pepperdine and a Pac-12 club in Washington State.
The Rainbow Warriors opened the annual tournament against the Waves and, behind a 17-point, two-rebound and one-steal effort from McClanahan, Hawai’i earned a spot in round two with a 76-70 win.
The Rainbow Warriors then cruised to a 62-51 victory over Washington State in their first match up against a Power-5 squad this season. McClanahan contributed 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal while shooting 86% on the afternoon with just one missed shot as his team advanced to the Diamond Head Classic title game against SMU.
Hawai’i ended up in a double-digit deficit early into the second half with McClanahan only producing five points, two rebounds, three assists, and a steal. However, the Rainbow Warriors cut the deficit down to 57-55 with 4.8 second left, teeing up a perfect opportunity. As McClanahan received the ball with the clock set to expire, he dibbled up the court and nailed a buzzer beater for possibly the season’s best shot so far to secure Hawai’i a 58-57 win.
Watch it unfold below:
Tonight’s buzzer beater from Hawai’i is why we love college basketball.— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) December 26, 2022
National TV. Standalone Game. Championship. On a Holiday. Buzzer Beater.
Only a few times yearly does a mid-major program makes a buzzer beater to win a championship on national tvpic.twitter.com/L6DpwBslUz
In the school’s 13 seasons of hosting the annual event, McClanahan’s game-winner marked Hawai’i’s first ever Diamond Head Classic Title earning him the Tournament’s MVP award and later the Big West Player of the Week for his performances.
Behind such a successful showing, McClanahan and the 9-3 Rainbow Warriors are turning some heads this college basketball season receiving votes in Mid-Major Madness’ ‘The Other Top 25’ and several other Mid-Major Top 25 polls following the Tournament win.
With Big West Conference play set to begin just days from now, could this be the season that sees head coach Eran Ganot return Hawai’i to the big dance?
Nelly Junior Joseph (Iona) - Notching 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals, and three blocks against SMU, 26 points, and seven rebounds against Seattle, and a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds against Pepperdine, Joseph worked his way onto the Diamond Head Classic All-Tournament Team.
Trey Woodbury (Utah Valley) - Leading the Wolverines to their first Power-5 win of the season, Woodbury managed just shy of a double-double with 24 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and three steals while shooting 75% from three to earn a 77-72 victory over Oregon.