By Brian McInnis
Things aren't going as smoothly for Hawaii senior forward Bill Amis as initially hoped at the start of this week. He was back in a boot during today's practice after experiencing some discomfort in his right foot midway through Tuesday's practice.
It's looking doubtful that he'll play against Chicago State on Maui on Friday. As for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic? We'll see.
Coach Gib Arnold reiterated yesterday that the priority is getting Amis back for the start of Western Athletic Conference play on Dec. 29, at Utah State, so he's not going to rush him out there.
As promised, here's the transcript of my interview with guard Miah Ostrowski when he joined the team last week:
Q: Did you have hopes about joining the basketball team this season?
A: I really didn’t think I was going to play basketball this season, at all. Just this past weekend, I was talking to a lot of people, and they were asking like, 'You’re going to play basketball and stuff?' And I had no clue, not at all. We still got a bowl game, still got a month. I just figured that it’d be too late by the time the bowl ended. But Coach (Arnold called), and he told me he wanted to set up a meeting and stuff. So it happened just like that, you know what I mean?
Q: Was this the first time you met the guys on the team?
A: I mean, I seen them around a lot on the weight room, the training room. On campus and stuff. But I never really met them. I know some of the boys on the team, I’m cool with. But all this is new to me, you know. It’s different having 10 teammates compared to 120, you know what I mean?
Q: Have you played much hoops since Punahou?
A: I mean, we run around as a football team. Some of the boys get together, we run around. I played some outsides men’s leagues to run around, get some cardio, stay in shape for football, but that’s about it. This whole football season I haven’t played no basketball, you know. Yesterday (last Monday) was really the first day I shot a basketball, and I didn’t have shoes and all that, you know what I mean?
Q: What were your thoughts on the first drills and things Coach put you through?
A: It felt good to be competitive out here, you know. I did a couple of drills, just one or two, but while I was doing it, it felt good. It felt good to move around. You know, I played basketball my whole life, so it just felt good again to be out here and be able to do those things. I watch college basketball a lot. I see things. Feels good to be back though, that’s for sure.
Q: Did you see yourself as two-sport player out of high school?
A: Yeah, that’s what I was trying to do coming out of high school. Football wasn’t really my thing. I didn’t go to any combines or any of that stuff. I thought I was going to play basketball. And when I committed here, Coach (June) Jones told me that he’d love me to play basketball and stuff. So that’s one of the reasons I wanted to try and do it. So when the time came around, I got the call this past week. I was half put in a tough situation in a way because football, I was trying so hard, and I’m at a point in there where you know, I have a good chance to be playing and starting next year. It’s tough, because sometimes when you try to do something else, you lose focus of that. But I think basketball will help me for it, keep me focused and stay in shape and stuff.
Q: So you didn't want to come out for the basketball team the last two years?
A: Last year, my grandma passed away during our Wisconsin game and the basketball season had just begun. I had priorities into that, I spoke at the funeral and stuff. So I really wanted to focus on that, work hard and put all the time I needed to into the funeral. By the time the funeral ended, it was kind of too late to come out already. But I missed it though, you know, that’s for sure. Every time I saw it, I always wanted to be out here and I’m just glad the opportunity finally came. I’ll try to make the best of it.
Q: How long will it take you to get comfortable with hoops?
A: Ahh, it shouldn’t take me more than a week, to be honest. I feel alright with my ball-handling skills. My shot was feeling alright, but I know I could just repetition it. I can feel the release when I do miss. When I do hit it, I do feel like the release is good. So I just need to get repetition with my jumper. That’s the only thing I need to focus on. Everything else is intact for me, I feel like.