Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, October 17, 2001


UH's Mike McIntyre spends some quality time in the gym,
where he often takes up to 500 shots a day to prepare
for his senior season.

The Mac is back

The fourth-year Rainbow guard
enters the new season as a floor leader

By Cindy Luis

It's Day 3 of hell week. That first week of official practice where not even the most strenuous offseason workout compares to what Mike McIntyre is now pushing his 6-foot-3, 205-pound body to finish.

UH The reward at the end of the three hours in clammy Gym II are the windsprints. Four down-and-back full-court runs to be completed by the entire Hawaii men's basketball team, each within 10 seconds.

The last foot of the last player has to cross the baseline before the buzzer sounds. Or else ... another sprint or two. It's peer pressure at its best.

On Monday, all 19 players finished the drill, beating the clock. Amazingly, the last sprint was the fastest finish for the entire team.

Every time, McIntyre was first ... easily ... leading all the way.

This is his modus operandi. To lead by example.

"Mike is a key to our success this season, like he was key for us winning the WAC Tournament," said Rainbow coach Riley Wallace. "He's shown leadership during the off-season, organizing things on his own for the guys."

The senior guard likely will be one of the Rainbows' captains this season. He's one of three seniors on the roster, a four-year player and just the eighth player during Wallace's 15 seasons to come in as a freshman and complete his eligibility. (The others are Chris Gaines, John Gabriel, Tim Shepherd, Troy Bowe, Phil Lott, Kalia McGee and Alika Smith.)

"Being here all four years means I've seen it all," McIntyre said. "I can help the other players adjust because I've been through it. I tell the new guys there are days when you're not going to feel like doing it but you have to.

Mike McIntyre

Senior point guard
Height: 6 feet 3 inches
205 pounds
:Jan. 22, 1980, Long Beach, Calif.
High school: Long Beach Poly, 1998
Career-high, points: 21 vs. TCU, Feb. 22, 2001
Career field goals: 150-380 (.395)
2000-01 field goals: 67-170 (.394)
Career 3-pointers
: 96-261 (.368)
2000-01 3-pointers: 35-113 (.310)

"Hawaii has grown on me. I didn't think it was a hard adjustment but I've played with a bundle of players and some didn't like it at all."

McIntyre said the key is being open-minded. Born and raised in Long Beach, Calif., "This is totally different, nothing like California," he said. "Probably the toughest time I had was at the beginning, being away from my mom. We're close and the longest I had been away from her was maybe a month.

"What being away from home like this does is help you mature. You learn the responsibilities of being on your own. I tell the guys to give it a chance. The people are so nice, warm and helpful. They appreciate it when they see you working hard."

And McIntyre works hard. In the off-season, he spent hours in the gym by himself, working out daily, strengthening his right ankle (sprained during last December's Rainbow Classic semifinal against St. Louis) and strengthening his shooting.

He and "The Gun" are best friends. The giant basketball pop-o-matic is much like a pitching machine, shooting out a basketball to a preset location and allowing a player to continue shooting without chasing down rebounds.

McIntyre says he tries to take 500 shots a day, estimating he hits between 60-70 percent. During one short session last week, he hit 51 of 58 from the top of the key.

It's one of his favorite spots. A .368 3-point shooter for his career, McIntyre came up big in big games last season.

He scored a career-high 21 points in the 102-87 regular-season blowout of TCU, hitting 3 of 7 treys. In the Western Athletic Conference tournament final against Tulsa, wearing shoes borrowed from the host Golden Hurricane, he scored 19 points, with all five of his field goals coming from long distance.

McIntyre got some added instruction and motivation during the recent visit by the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. He and Warriors guard Gilbert Arenas played against each other in high school and with each other on a championship AAU team.

"I was born a Lakers' fan," said McIntyre, an honors graduate from Long Beach Poly High School. "I talked to their players and strength coach while they were here and was told how important foot speed and lateral quickness is. That's what I'm trying to get back right now after the ankle injury, the lateral quickness.

"Gilbert's one of my best friends. He wasn't recruited by many schools, but we all knew how talented he was. Seeing him makes me want to reach that level even more. The (NBA) guys were telling me there's a place for everyone. When you're young, you can control your own destiny."

He doesn't know what his post-UH future will be. McIntyre, a sociology major with an interest in FBI work, is on track to graduate in the spring of 2003.

The NBA is not out of the question.

"Defensively and athletically, he has the tools for the NBA," said Rainbow associate head coach Bob Nash, who played five seasons in the NBA. "He's a tremendous competitor who sets high standards for himself and tries to live up to them. To get to the next level, he'll need to improve his passing and ballhandling skills."

McIntyre said his focus is on his final college season.

"I'm not worried about the pros, I'm working hard for my team this year," he said. "I just want to be the best I can be, better and better every day. Usually when people go to the next level, it's because they've worked hard for their team and a scout sees that.

"This team could be better than last year. We have so much talent at each position. We should repeat (as WAC champions). Hopefully, we're working hard to go back to the (NCAA) tournament and win that first game."

Hawaii is 0-3 in NCAA Tournament first-round games.

McIntyre said he expects leadership from the team's three seniors: guard Predrag Savovic, forward Mindaugas Burneika and himself.

"We all bring something different to the table and together we bring everything," said McIntyre. "I bring emotion, respect and pride on defense. I want the guys to go hard, hard, hard. The only way I can get them to do that is for me to do it."

Leading the windsprints. Leading by example.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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