Tuesday, November 30, 1999
RAINBOW BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK
Hawaii's Kylie Galloway was named the women's basketball player of the week by the Western Athletic Conference yesterday.
WAC player of week
The junior forward led the Rainbow Wahine to three wins and a tournament title last week.
In the Wahine Classic, Galloway averaged 17 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists a game.
In Hawaii's 78-74 title-game win over Texas, Galloway scored 24 points.
Nerijus Puida, a small forward from Lithuania who has averaged six assists a game in helping Hawaii to a 3-1 record, is attracting notice for his often sensational passes.
Puidas passing gets noticed
"He has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios (4-to-1) in the country," said Rob Meurs, an international scout for the San Antonio Spurs, who also runs an international scouting service that extends to Europe, Africa and Canada.
Puida has 24 assists to six turnovers.
"I have seen better players, but as far as passing skills, I haven't seen a guy this year who is better," said Meurs, who has thus far scouted 25 Division I teams, including North Carolina, Purdue and Florida.
Meurs joined scouts from the Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors, who observed the United Airlines Tip-off Tournament Sunday night. Puida had eight assists in the come-from-behind win against Virginia Military Institute.
"Puida has such an incredible feel for the game," said Meurs. "He has a very, very good court sense you hardly see. And it's amazing because of the position he is playing, and because he hasn't been playing basketball for that long."
But playmaking is not the whole story with Puida. He is shooting 72 percent from the floor (13-for-18) and 85 percent from the free-throw line (6-for-7).
In addition, Puida is averaging 1.25 steals per game and leading the team in minutes played, averaging 29 per game.
He scored four points on layups and assisted on four other baskets during the last 8 minutes and 48 seconds of Sunday's win, when Hawaii went on a 29-5 run.
"We were on a big wave and I knew no one could stop us," said Puida.
Marquette Alexander leads the team in three categories: scoring, rebounding and turnovers.
He is averaging 15.5 ppg. Johnny White is second at 10.0 ppg. Alexander maintains his team lead in rebounding with an 8.0 average. Troy Ostler, who had 13 caroms Sunday, is second at 7.0 rpg.
Alexander is averaging four turnovers per game while White is next at 3.7 per game.
Alexander is second to Puida in assists with a 2.5 per game average.
Bernard McIntosh leads Hawaii with 1.7 blocks per game.
Mike McIntyre is the team's top 3-point shooter (5-for-10).
Predrag Savovic, who left Sunday's game with a sprained right arch after only five minutes, will return to play this weekend, according to head coach Riley Wallace.
Asked what Savovic's departure took from the game, team captain Alexander said "a lot."
"A lot of shooting, a lot of scoring, a lot of just creating off the ball," he said.
Alexander said he was glad to see Mike McIntyre step up on defense and Geremy Robinson perform so well under pressure and win the United Airlines Tip-off Tournament MVP award.
"Now he just has to put it all in perspective and move ahead," said Alexander.
Hawaii will play Prairie View A&M on Saturday night on the opening day of the Hawaii Invitational at Stan Sheriff Center, and then take on either Pacific or Tennessee State on Sunday.
The Rainbows will fly out the next morning to Los Angeles, where they will attend the Miami Heat at Clippers game at the Staples Center that night.
Head coach Riley Wallace has secured tickets for the team to sit behind the Miami bench and watch former Rainbow star Anthony Carter play point guard for the Heat.
Carter has lately been starting for the injured Tim Hardaway.
On Dec. 8, Hawaii will play USC at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
The Trojans feature the second leading assist man in the NCAA, Brandon Granville (10.2 apg).
Asked if he thought he'd be a little tired watching the Clippers the night after playing in Hawaii, Alexander said, "No, not at all - that's like a reward."
When Hawaii returns from Los Angeles, the team will have until Dec. 20 to get ready for the Nike Festival.
That tournament features Creighton, which upset then-nationally ranked Iowa, 85-76, on Nov. 27.
By Pat Bigold, Star-Bulletin