Thursday, April 13, 2000
team gets three
from wish list
Hawaii fills some key holesBy Pat Bigold
with new recruits on first
day of letters of intent
Three critical position players signed yesterday morning with the University of Hawaii on the first day that basketball recruits could submit national letters of intent.
Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace termed it a major step forward for the program that went 17-12 last season after failing to ink a single player on the first signing day in 1999.
Hawaii has one more scholarship to fill, and that is expected to go to a forward or center within the next couple of weeks. The letter signing period ends May 15.
Faxing in binding letters of intent yesterday were Haim Shimonovic of Rishon Le Ziy-yon, Israel, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound center-power forward now playing in his nation's premier pro league; David Hilton, a 5-11, 145-pound prep point guard from New York City; and Ricky Terrell, a sturdy 6-3, 190-pound point guard from Santa Monica College.
Shimonovic and Hilton were recruited by Rainbows assistant coach Scott Rigot, while Terrell was recruited by assistant coach Jackson Wheeler.
Shimonovic is described as a hard-nosed, talented post player who could solve the loss of powerful 6-8 senior center Marquette Alexander. Alexander, a second-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection, has led Hawaii in scoring the past two seasons and led in rebounding last season.
The 20-year-old Israeli signed without ever having visited the Hawaii campus.
He is a member of his country's army and receives no pay for his services in the pro league.
Shimonovic also was recruited by Memphis State, Miami, Xavier and Tulane.
He will take his SAT next month and is expected to qualify easily.
"He's the center we've been looking for," said Wallace. "I've seen Shimonovic on film in play against the best team in his league and I said we've got to go get this kid."
Wallace said Shimonovic runs the floor well, has good hands and boxes out well on the glass.
Hilton and Terrell make up for the loss of senior Johnny White, Hawaii's starting point guard the past two seasons.
Hilton, who played for The Hyde School in Connecticut and will turn 21 this month, averaged a double-double during his senior season.
Hilton, who was once a homeless teen-ager on the streets of New York City, faxed his letter from Kaplan House, a Manhattan group home which is his residence away from school.
"He's a freshman who's ahead of other freshman simply because he's 20 years old and he's played in the New York City leagues," said Wallace.
Terrell, a left-hander, is a scorer (16.8 points per game), as well as a playmaker (5.71 assists per game) with a strong move to the hoop. He scored in double digits in 29 of his team's 34 games.