Archive for February, 2011

They filled the house

February 24th, 2011
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Men’s volleyball player Yuval Katz, basketball player Anthony Carter and football and track and field standout Richard Furtado were formally introduced today as the newest members of the University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor.

Furtado was a star in the 1930s and played on the UH football team that went 6-0 in 1935. He threw a touchdown pass in the Rainbows’ 14-0 win over Cal to cap the season.

Katz and Carter were the biggest reasons for sold-out crowds in the 1990s.

“We went from a few hundred to 8 to 9,000 per game, ” athletic director Jim Donovan said of Katz’s impact on volleyball attendance.

Carter had a similar affect on basketball attendance, as he and backcourt-mate Alika Smith led UH to back-to-back NIT appearances and wins over Indiana and Kansas.

Carter, who was just traded from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks, was represented today by Jackson Wheeler, the assistant coach who recruited him to Hawaii.

Befitting his nature as a player and person, Wheeler said Carter told him to acknowledge his UH teammates.

“AC said don’t forget the other guys,” Wheeler said.

My all-time UH basketball starting five: G Anthony Carter, G Tom Henderson, F Bob Nash, F Reggie Cross C Mel Werts. 6th man Predrag Savovic.

Thoughts on Thomas

February 22nd, 2011
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When things are going well for him, Joston Thomas is the brightest star in the universe. When they’re not, he’s sullen and he’s sullen for all the world to see. To this point, the talented Hawaii sophomore forward never hid his emotions, and that’s part of what makes him so much fun to watch when he’s playing well, but it’s also a part of what got him in the doghouse.

Of course it’s disappointing to ride the bench when you’re used to playing heavy minutes. But you can’t show it to the whole arena. When you do that you’re disrespecting your teammates, your coach, and by extension, the entire program.

And you can’t continually argue with your coach and expect no repercussions.

Thomas is a very likable person, and seems to always means well. He tries to be a good teammate and is very genuine in his encouragement of his fellow Rainbows. But if he can’t function consistently as part of a unit — in good times and bad — he’s not going to be a good teammate or player, not to mention the team leader he wants to be, and could become with some maturity.

I’m glad first-year coach Gib Arnold and Thomas have patched things up. I look forward to watching Thomas electrify crowds at the Sheriff Center through the next couple of years. That is, if he truly realizes his role on the team. Because if he doesn’t do that and he becomes even more of a distraction, there’s no way Arnold can keep him on the team. Perhaps sitting in Honolulu while his teammates won a game on the road without him helped wake up Thomas.

Arnold’s goal, as it has been from the beginning, is to get Thomas to consistently perform in a way that helps the team; when Thomas doesn’t try to dribble or shoot from outside too much, he’s fine, he has some great games and helps the team win. When he gets fancy, he doesn’t. It’s simple as that.

When you have a young player who sometimes thrives on emotion but also sometimes hurts himself and his team with it, the question is if that emotion can be reigned in without breaking his spirit and losing the positive energy that can come when it is displayed at the right times.

In Joston Thomas’ case, I think it can. But he shouldn’t test Gib Arnold’s patience again if he likes playing basketball at UH.

UH baseball first impressions

February 19th, 2011
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>> First of all, got to love the fighting spirit. It was a hallmark of last year’s team. A 3-run rally in the eighth to win the opener 4-3 is a very, very good omen.

>> Great first at bat of the game by Breland Almadova. When the leadoff batter sees nine pitches, that means his teammates see nine pitches, too.

>> Four errors (could have been three or five because of some close scoring calls) has to be an aberration if the Rainbows are to win consistently.

>> Matt Sisto was very sharp for most of his 6 1/3 innings. Great pitching effort all around by relievers Blair Walters and Lenny Linsky, too.

>> The Rainbows have gotten picked off base way too much in recent years. Tonight Almadova and Kolten Wong were both picked off. Sure, it’s going to happen now and then as the cost of doing business for an aggressive baserunning team. But twice a game is too much.

>> Great crowd

>> Great pace. The new rules for saving time between innings and pitches did their magic, without changing anything fundamentally important about the game.

Tomey a good choice

February 16th, 2011
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Some of you surely think Dick Tomey‘s too old to be a productive assistant coach for the University of Hawaii football team at age 72.

But I’m here to tell you he’s a young 72. He’s physically fit, and he’s very sharp mentally.

Special teams is a great spot for him … when Tomey was UH’s head coach in the ’70s and ’80s, special teams were a consistent strength of the team. Half the battle of coaching special teams is motivation, and Tomey’s an outstanding motivator.

Oh, Miah!

February 15th, 2011
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One word comes to mind after Miah Ostrowski’s big plays in Hawaii’s 69-67 overtime win over Nevada on Monday night.

Clutch.

Ostrowski, who didn’t score at all in 34 minutes of regulation play, hit two big buckets in the overtime. And he got the final rebound, too.

All this from the smallest guy on the court, a 5-foot-9 guard who wasn’t even on the team until the football season ended in late December … and whose father died suddenly last month.

Many felt Ostrowski could be a solid contributor to the Warriors. But who knew he’d be a game-changer?