Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, October 18, 1999

Cockett takes shot
at marketing

RILEY Wallace's baby has certainly, umm, matured in 12 years. From a mini-carnival in Klum Gym to Babe ... I mean, "Baywatch."

But Friday's late-night celebration of the opening of the Hawaii basketball season wasn't the anticipated demeaning spectacle that led to some former Wahine athletes boycotting the event.

As one colleague put it, the T&A show translated to Talent and Attitude. While it is a little difficult to dribble while barefoot and in a pareau, the Wahine's Ki'i Spencer Vasconcellos showed she was ready for her sophomore season with an entrance very reminiscent of Jennifer Beals in the movie "Flash Dance.''

Wahine coach Vince Goo did have one minor complaint. Now that his women's team is involved in Midnight Ohana, he can no longer hold his traditional 6 a.m. practice on the first Saturday allowed by the NCAA.

One former Wahine had mixed feelings over the involvement of the "Baywatch Hawaii" cast.

"It was neat to see the cast out there,'' said Nani Cockett. "But it would be nicer if the emphasis was on the basketball teams.

"I know it was an exciting night for the Wahine. I was excited for them. I know the feeling to have all those people screaming for you.''

IF Cockett has her wish, the Wahine will be wearing her company's apparel -- and not pareaus -- next year. Cockett is now a marketing executive for Crossover Hoopwear, a clothing line run by former UH basketball players Woody Moore and Keli'i Silva.

The trio had a booth up during Midnight Ohana to introduce their new line. The Rainbow men's team also wore jerseys by Crossover.

Cockett, who is still hoping to hook up with a WNBA team, became involved with the company by chance.

"Keli'i came up to me one day when I was working out and showed me these shorts that he had designed,'' she said. "I told him I'd be interested helping with the women's side.

"I never thought I'd be in marketing but I believe in the product.''

There is a definite market for Crossover Lady Hoopwear, Cockett said.

"When girls go into athletic stores such as Foot Locker and Sports Authority, there is nothing designed for them that they can identify with,'' she said. "There aren't shorts that are stylish or don't hang past their knees, like the guys like them.

"We were lucky to get a little boost at Midnight Ohana. The company's only been in business since summer and a lot of our business has been by word-of-mouth.''

The company will also branch out with Crossover Netwear for volleyball.

"I think the market is there for something with a Hawaiian flavor,'' she said.

Cockett hasn't put her dream of playing in the WNBA on hold. She continues to train while her agent looks for a professional team that will be at a higher level than the one she played for last season in Israel.

"I'm enjoying this right now,'' she said. "There are some things out there that identify with female athletes like (WNBA players) Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes. Hopefully, we can get some of those athletes to start wearing our clothes.''

Actually, Cockett's goal is to be one of those WBNA players wearing the Crossover label. "Kill two birds with one stone,'' Cockett said.

The main outlet for Crossover is at the Waianae Mall (696-1012).

Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.

E-mail to Sports Editor

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