Archive for April, 2011

Clearing the desk

April 4th, 2011
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Some notes and thoughts from the past few days:

>> Can’t think of a more deserving person than Don Takaki to be honored by the OIA the other night at its annual foundation dinner. Don, the owner of Island Movers, has been one of the most generous and consistent supporters of young athletes in Hawaii for several decades.

And we’re not just talking money via sponsorships of the Island Movers summer league baseball team, girls basketball touring teams and the state high school track and field meet. Don has also mentored young athletes and coaches, emphasizing development of them as whole people more than just winning.

Roosevelt baseball coach and former UH baseball player Matt Apana and McKinley basketball coach Bob Morikuni were among those who spoke of Don’s guidance and generosity.

>> It was good to see Skippa Diaz at the event and talk story with him. Although it is no secret that he is very ill, the local sports legend looks fine, and he clearly in his element. “Today was a great day,” he said. Hopefully he will have many more great days.

>> Event chairman Neal Takamori said the $100,000 raised goes to the OIA Foundation’s endowment. Its board decides on worthy causes to use the money on. Here’s information on applying for a grant.

>> UH center fielder Breland Almadova told me last week that he will probably work on becoming a switch hitter this summer. Good idea. With his speed, batting from the left side will allow him to beat out a lot more bunts and grounders.

>> From what I’m told, UH kicker Tyler Hadden hasn’t missed a field goal yet in spring camp. He redshirted last fall. Some folks are touting him as “The Next Jason Elam.”

>> For those saying Butler or UConn would be a pretender to the national championship: Ridiculous. I don’t even know where to begin on this, but if someone wants to try to support it in the comments section, I’ll be happy to hear you out and then swat you down.

>> As long as Shelvin Mack keeps up the hot shooting, I see Butler winning tonight. But anytime you rely so heavily on one player’s ability to hit the long shots, you’re vulnerable. I know Mack’s not the Bulldogs’ only offensive weapon, but much rests on him … as it does for UConn on Kemba Walker.

I really want to see Butler win because Brad Stevens is such a class act. Normally, I’d like to see a coach who may be retiring win his last game, but I also believe that UConn has done a lot of shady things under Jim Calhoun so he doesn’t get the sentimental nod from me.

>> Errata: In the print edition of today’s column, Keoni Steinhoff is identified as 2006 starting right tackle for UH. Was actually 2007. In Sunday’s ode to Kalani Brackenridge, I failed to mention that his grounder plated the decisive run in Wednesday’s 12-inning victory. Would’ve fit right into the theme of the piece, how doing the little things right often makes all the difference in baseball … Duh, winning!!!