Archive for November, 2010

Road update // Eyes on Diamond Head Classic

November 29th, 2010
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The Hawaii men's basketball team transitioned safely from Honolulu to San Luis Obispo, Calif., in preparation for its first road game of the season on Wednesday.

UH (5-0) takes on Cal Poly (2-3) in a return game of last year's BracketBusters event, won by the Mustangs in Honolulu. The game will be on KKEA, 1420-AM.

The Rainbows arrived in Los Angeles early this morning then bused north for a little over 3 hours. The team had a weightlifting session upon their arrival, then practiced in the Mustangs' arena in the evening.

"We'll treat (tomorrow) kind of like a school day, where we'll get up in the morning, have breakfast as a team, then we have study hall and things like that for a few hours," UH coach Gib Arnold said over the phone. "Then we'll break off, start watching film, and head over to practice. Try to keep it as normal as possible, and the same as any other day like they were home."

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This comes from an official with the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic:

There are expected to be 18 NBA scouts in attendance for this year's tournament held Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center. For last year's inaugural tournament, there was just one scout.

A pretty good jump for a strong field. Here's an update on how the other seven teams (besides host Hawaii) in this year's field have fared so far.

No. 11 Baylor: 5-0

Mississippi State: 4-0

Washington State: 4-0

Florida State: 5-1

Butler: 3-2

Utah: 3-2

San Diego: 1-4

On a related note, DHC officials are still working to get the last two teams for 2011-12 in place. Sounds like there's a good chance a Pac-10 team will be one of them. The 2011-12 field so far: Clemson, Long Beach State, Texas A&M, UTEP, Xavier and host Hawaii.

Salter out for road trip // Tinnin note

November 28th, 2010
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Junior point guard Anthony Salter will not accompany the Rainbow Warriors on their two-game road trip against Cal Poly and No. 23 BYU.

UH coach Gib Arnold confirmed Salter would not go late last night. The junior college transfer missed practices on Friday and Saturday because of personal issues.

The team leaves late tonight for Los Angeles, then buses up to San Luis Obispo early tomorrow morning for Wednesday's game at CP-SLO.

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The UH women's basketball team (4-1) is about to tip off against No. 14 North Carolina.

A note about senior guard Megan Tinnin, who broke Nani Cockett's career 3-point record last night against Ole Miss. Tinnin now has the career records for 3s made (129) and attempted (396), single-season records for 3s made (55) and attempted (176) and single-game records for 3s made (six) and attempted (14).

Taking it old school

November 27th, 2010
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Hawaii coach Gib Arnold wasn't ready to call it a practice.

The UH men's basketball team started today's session in Klum Gym, but the unbeaten Rainbow Warriors only had it until 12 noon, and Arnold wasn't satisfied by the time they had to vacate. So the Rainbows picked up stakes to the old outdoor courts behind the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.

It was the team's last practice before leaving tomorrow night for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The game against the Mustangs (2-2) is on Wednesday.

"We had a real hard practice today," Arnold said. "We really gotta get ready for the road. I wanted a tough, intense practice, and we did. I thought it was a good practice. It was very intense today.

"We weren't quite done finishing what we needed to do defensively, so we went to the outdoor courts out there ... and went old school on them. Seven stops. You have to get seven stops in a row defensively, so we didn't get it in by 12."

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Still no Anthony Salter at practice today; Arnold said the junior point guard is still excused for personal reasons.

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The Rainbow Wahine continue play in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Showdown tonight against Ole Miss at 7 p.m.

UH (3-1) dominated the glass against North Carolina Central, but faces an entirely different animal in the Rebels.

Senior guard Megan Tinnin only needs two 3-pointers to tie Nani Cockett for the UH career record at 128. She's capable of hitting three or more from long range in a game, so she could own the record outright by the end of the night.

Tinnin's seven shots from deep also put her ahead of Janevia Taylor for the all-time UH 3-point attempt record (389 to Taylor's 388).

Prepping for the road

November 26th, 2010
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Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

After beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday, most of the 5-0 UH basketball team spent their turkey Thursday at coach Gib Arnold's house. This morning, the Rainbow Warriors were back at practice  in preparation for their first road trip of the season.

UH leaves for Cal Poly on Sunday night. They play Wednesday in San Luis Obispo — no easy place to get to. The team arrives in Los Angeles early Monday morning and must bus for about 4 hours north.

The Mustangs (2-2) beat UH soundly in Honolulu last year in the annual BracketBusters game. But this season CP-SLO has lost to both a Division II team (Cal State Monterey Bay) and Montana State, which UH defeated in its season opener.

UH follows against No. 23 BYU on Saturday, Dec. 4 in Salt Lake City.

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No Anthony Salter at practice today. It was not immediately apparent why he wasn't there, but he met with Arnold following the session. Will update when I can.

UPDATE: Arnold said Salter "was working through some personal things," and that he was not being disciplined. He was unsure if the junior point guard would return for tomorrow's practice.

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Some final thoughts from the EA Sports Maui Invitational:

>> Great tournament overall. It was a coming out party for Connecticut and its junior point guard, Kemba Walker, who leads the country in scoring. Walker played out of his mind all three days to lead his team to the title. His dynamic scoring ability — he put up all kinds of floaters, pull-up jumpers, and step-back shots — was a pleasure to watch.

>> Those Kentucky fans are hardcore. The noise they generated was something to behold in the tiny Lahaina Civic Center.

>> For the first time all season, the Wildcats looked like they missed Enes Kanter. Kanter, a top draft prospect, was ruled ineligible shortly before the season for receiving improper benefits with his Turkish team. In UK's first four games of the season (and first two on Maui) freshman forward Terrence Jones seemed ready to make up the difference. That is, until UK met UConn. Besides Jones, no one looked anything special for the Cats.

>> Chaminade and its diminutive point guard, Steven Bennett, deserved to win a game at the tournament. The Silverswords played well most of the way, and taking down Oklahoma is a great feat after nearly knocking off No. 2 Michigan State on the first day.

'Swords coach Matt Mahar had a great line to close his postgame press conference after beating OU: "I'm just glad to be part of  a press conference longer than 20 seconds."

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Women's basketball fans, don't forget that the Rainbow Wahine play today at 7 p.m. against North Carolina Central in the first round of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown.

The other games in the eight-team tournament are already underway today. No. 15 North Carolina (not to be confused with N.C. Central) crushed Washington State 93-55 in the tourney opener.

Check out Jason Kaneshiro's story in today's paper for more information.

UH loses Amis for month

November 22nd, 2010
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Tough news for the UH basketball team today, with senior forward Bill Amis set to miss about five weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot, the same foot that caused him to miss all of last season.

Expect the other Rainbows bigs, Vander Joaquim, Douglas Kurtz and Joston Thomas, to see a greater workload while Amis recovers.

Per our Jason Kaneshiro, who was at practice today, Amis will try for a return for the Western Athletic Conference opener on Dec. 29. That means he'll miss eight games through the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

Tough news; Amis was the team's leading scorer (15.8), rebounder (6.8) and shot blocker (seven blocks in four games).

Maui Invitational coaches conference

November 21st, 2010
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An EA Sports Maui Invitational tournament representative said he thought today's pre-tourney coaches press conference was one of the goofier sessions in recent years.

The best-known names at the podium — UConn's Jim Calhoun, Kentucky's John Calipari and Michigan State's Tom Izzo — mixed in some humor to their standard thoughts about their teams and thoughts leading into the tournament.

So did Matt Mahar, the self-deprecating coach of Chaminade, the Division II host.

"Our overall record for this week is 1-0. We won the video game challenge last night," Mahar said to the assembled media, earning the loudest laughs of the morning.

Play starts for real tomorrow morning.

The matchups are as follows:

>> Wichita State (1-0) vs. Connecticut (2-0), 10 a.m, ESPN2

>> Oklahoma (3-0) vs. Kentucky (2-0), 12:30 p.m., ESPN2

>> Michigan State (2-0) vs. Chaminade (3-0), 4:30 p.m., ESPNU

>> Virginia (2-1) vs. Washington (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPN2

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Back on Oahu, it was a day off from practice for the 4-0 Rainbow Warriors as they recover for Wednesday's game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The UH women (1-1) take on Oregon State (2-0) at 5 p.m. for a chance at the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament title.

Coming to you from Maui ...

November 20th, 2010
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Hey all,

Taking a leave from duties with the Hawaii men and women's basketball teams for a few days to cover the EA Sports Maui Invitational in Lahaina.

Veteran hoops writers Jason Kaneshiro and Cindy Luis have my back on UH hoops while I'm away. Thanks guys.

I'll toss up some updates starting tomorrow, when coaches from all eight teams — Michigan State, Kentucky, Connecticut, Washington, Oklahoma, Wichita State, Virginia and Chaminade — have their introductory press conference. First-round games are on Monday.

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The UH women couldn't replicate their solid first effort against Cal State Northridge, falling 83-67 to Eastern Michigan in the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic.

Senior guard Megan Tinnin led UH with 17 points, including five 3-pointers.

Turnovers were again a problem. The Wahine had 23 of them after committing 24 on opening night.

UH (1-1) continues play against Oregon State tomorrow.

Big West rumblings

November 19th, 2010
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Aside from Gib Arnold's brief line in today's newspaper — "I'm excited for the football team. We will wait and see what the next move is for the other sports" — the Hawaii basketball coach wanted to withhold comment on a potential switch to the Big West Conference until something official is announced.

The Big West, with all of its schools currently located in California, isn't known as a power hoops conference. It's best team in recent years has been Pacific, though UC Santa Barbara was the team to emerge from the Big West tournament last year and make the NCAAs.

It would, however, make travel much, much easier than in the spread-out WAC, which is adding two teams from Texas — Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. Getting to Louisiana Tech was tough enough already.

The Rainbows' recent opponents in the ESPN BracketBusters annual game have been from the Big West: Cal Poly, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and Long Beach State.

UH is set to tip off against Central Arkansas following the Hawaii-Cal State Northridge women's basketball game.

Former Hawaii point guard Mark Campbell is here in Hawaii for the Wahine Jack in the Box Classic tournament. Campbell, formerly an assistant coach for the Saint Mary's men's team, is an assistant with the Oregon State women's team. Oregon State defeated Eastern Michigan to open the Wahine tournament.

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Another note about the Wahine, who defeated Cal State Northridge 66-58 in their season opener:

Junior point guard Keianna (Keke) Evans has left the team for what coach Dana Takahara-Dias said were "personal reasons."

Evans appeared in spot duty off the bench in both of UH's exhibition wins.

Evans, a junior college transfer and native of Fayetteville, N.C., was playing behind seniors Keisha Kanekoa and Mai Ayabe at the point. She was one of four new players to the Wahine roster this season.

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Here's an update on former UH coach Bob Nash, who coaches the Saitama Broncos in Japan's bj league, courtesy of the Japan Times newspaper. Scroll down a little to see it.

A look around the WAC

November 18th, 2010
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Hawaii isn't the only Western Athletic Conference team to get off to a good start. Overall, WAC teams are 14-6 as of Thursday morning. Granted, some of the games were against non-Division I competition.

Here's the breakdown, with UH topping the nonconference standings at 3-0.

Hawaii: 3-0. Wins — Montana State (77-59), Cal State Fullerton (84-70), Central Michigan (65-62)

New Mexico State: 2-0. Wins — Louisiana Lafayette (92-76), West New Mexico (95-62)

San Jose State: 2-0. Wins — at Eastern Washington (67-60), San Francisco (74-64)

Boise State: 1-0. Wins — Western State (78-52)

Louisiana Tech: 2-1. Wins — Austin (90-58), Houston (60-54). Losses — at Texas (89-58)

Fresno State: 1-1. Wins — Vanguard (74-42). Losses — BYU (83-56)

Idaho: 1-1. Wins — Eastern Oregon (86-74). Losses — Washington State (88-71)

Utah State: 1-1. Wins — Weber State (77-65). Losses — BYU (78-72)

Nevada: 1-2. Wins — Montana (81-66). Losses — Pacific (64-53), Pepperdine (76-75)

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Busy day for coach Gib Arnold today. He had to fly to Maui for a day trip to promote UH's stand-alone nonconference game against Chicago State at the Lahaina Civic Center on Dec. 17.

Then it was back to Oahu for more preparations on tomorrow's opponent, Central Arkansas. The Bears (1-1), led by new coach Corliss Williamson, arrived Wednesday night, and were set for a full practice tonight.

Tip-off for tomorrow's game is set for 7:30, though that could change depending on what time the Rainbow Wahine basketball season opener vs. Cal State Northridge (5 p.m. scheduled tip-off) finishes. FYI: If you have tickets to the UH men's game, you can get in to the Wahine game for free.

Blakes official // Tech talk

November 17th, 2010
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Gib Arnold and Hawaii beat the buzzer on Morningside (Calif.) High guard Gerry Blakes. Blakes got his paperwork completed today, on the final day of the fall signing period.

Arnold was anxious to get him on board in the early period because Blakes, an under-the-radar player after missing much of his junior season with an injury, could explode on the national scene during his upcoming senior season.

UH has one scholarship remaining to fill for the 2011-12 season. Arnold said the team would go with "best player available" in the spring.

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Today the team did extensive press-breaker preparation for Friday's opponent, Central Arkansas. Forty minutes of fullcourt pressure is expected from UCA, which is led by new coach Corliss Williamson.

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Point guard Hiram Thompson still couldn't believe his technical foul assessment against Central Michigan in the finale of the Rainbow Classic, but was happy his teammates — particularly freshman point guard Bobby Miles — stepped up in his stead.

He had to be taken out of the game at a critical moment in the second half. The technical foul doubles as a personal foul, and it was Thompson's fourth.

Shooting guard Zane Johnson, who had to be separated from CMU guard Trey Zeigler, didn't receive a technical. Neither did Zeigler; his teammate Jalin Thomas was assessed a T.

The officials discussed the matter while viewing video replay for several minutes. First the call was on Thompson, then Johnson, then Thompson again.

"I was trying to be the mediator, trying to break things up, I don't know if on tape I look like Zane or something," Thompson said. "That's the only thing I can think of. Things like that happen."

"I don't know (how it happened)," Johnson said. "I don't think Hiram said anything to anybody on the other team this whole year."

Ultimately, Thompson, who fouled out in the final minute, was just glad the team held on for a 65-62 victory.