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Sports Notebook

Friday, November 30, 2001



Draft guru: Lelie
could use another
year of seasoning

By Dave Reardon
dreardon@starbulletin.com

Ashley Lelie has a fan in Mel Kiper Jr.

The college analyst for ESPN recently wrote on his Web site that the Hawaii receiver is a "supremely talented junior wideout who is underrated on the national level."

A weekly guest on former Aloha Bowl chief executive officer Lenny Klompus' radio show on Maui, Kiper talked about Lelie at length Wednesday night and whether the junior is ready to enter April's National Football League Draft.

"I remember a couple of years ago when we highlighted offensive linemen Adrian Klemm and Kaulana Noa," Kiper said. "(UH head coach) June Jones told me about this wide receiver he had named Lelie.

"He told me to watch out in a couple of years, Lelie would be ready for the draft. I've kept an eye on him ever since because June doesn't say those kind of things without meaning them. Lelie is the real deal."

Whether he's ready for the rigors of the NFL, remains to be seen. Kiper said the junior needs to be honest with himself and what his goals should be at the next level.

"If he wants to be a first-round draft pick, then he probably needs to wait another year," Kiper said. "If he's happy going in the second or third round, and he's confident in his 40 time and his vertical leap, then he should think about declaring.

"I just see so many athletes come out early who should have waited to position themselves better in the draft. The word's out on Lelie. I watched those games on TV and was impressed by his size, speed and ability to go get the football.

"Here's the thing. There are a lot of great junior wideouts and not that many good ones at the senior level, so you might see a lot of guys thinking about coming out in the spring. But the thing Ashley should do is realize there's no guarantee. He could be hurting himself by coming out early."

Lelie said he will wait until after the Brigham Young game on Dec. 8 before making a lasting decision. At this point, he appears to be leaning toward coming back for his senior campaign, but he will talk with his family and Jones before making a statement.

Some vacation: The Warriors are in the middle of four days off, their longest break since before two-a-days last summer. But some players can't seem to get enough.

Backup quarterback Tim Chang said many of the skill-position players are still working out each day, throwing the ball around. "It's important for us all to stay sharp," Chang said. "Especially with the BYU game coming up. I'm sure a lot of the linebackers and linemen will be busy in the weight room, too."

Then there are all the injured UH players who need the time to mend.

"I'll probably spend some time with the kids and watch St. Louis beat Kahuku," said senior defensive end Joe Correia, a former Crusader quarterback.

Correia is among several St. Louis and Kahuku alumni who plan to be at Aloha Stadium tonight for what might be Crusader coach Cal Lee's final game.

"We've got a lot of bets going on, but I think it's a mismatch," Correia said.

On a Rolo: Nick Rolovich's back-to-back 500-plus passing yardage games make him the hottest quarterback in UH history over a period of several games.

He broke Dan Robinson's records for yards passing in two, three and four consecutive games. Rolovich has passed for 1,570 yards in the past four games, 1,263 in the last three, and 1,005 in the past two.

Robinson still holds the record for most passing yards in one game with 530 against Navy in 1999.

Rolovich, who threw one pass in Hawaii's first three games, needs two touchdown throws to tie Robinson's single-season record of 28.

UH has already broken the team season passing mark; Rolovich, Chang and Jared Flint have combined for 4,033 yards. The old record set by Robinson and his backups in 1999 was 3,944.

With 60 completions in the past two games, Rolovich passed the mark of 59 set by Chang last season.

Putting it on the line: Much of Rolovich's success has been due to the offensive line's play the past few games. The Warriors' front of Lui Fuata, Manly Kanoa, Brian Smith, Vince Manuwai and Uriah Moenoa improved as the season progressed. UH has allowed only one sack in each of the last two games; it's no coincidence UH scored 52 points both times.

"The guys have really come together," offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said. "They enjoy playing for each other and blocking for Nick Rolovich."

The Warriors allowed only 10 sacks all of last season, but have yielded 32 this year (in a league-high 550 pass plays) for ninth in the WAC. Six came in the second game of the season.

"There's a lot more to playing offensive line than sacks," Cavanaugh said. "We'd rather have the 8-3 record than the record we had last year (3-8) and the 10 sacks."

Better hurry: It looks like Jones will get his wish of a sellout for the Dec. 8 Brigham Young game. There were fewer than 5,000 tickets left yesterday.

"Well, I would think that we will," Jones said. "With the game at 11 o'clock (a.m.) there's some question, but I would think that shouldn't even matter in this game."

Off the short list: Jones' name was bandied about in speculation about the open head-coach jobs at Cal and San Diego State.

But the finalists have been announced for both and Jones, who has said he plans to stay at Hawaii, is on neither list.

According to a published report, former Hawaii and Arizona coach and current UH television analyst Dick Tomey has interviewed for both jobs.

Good omen?: Kailua offensive lineman Samson Satele, who committed to Hawaii this week, was high on BYU's wish list.


The Star-Bulletin's Paul Arnett
contributed to this report.


HPU, Hilo enjoy wins
over Div. I opponents


By Jerry Campany
jcampany@starbulletin.com

Hawaii Pacific coach Tony Sellitto is running out of things to accomplish.

Before last weekend, the only things left for Sellitto to do were win an NCAA national championship and beat an NCAA Division I team.

Well, pare that list down to one.

Sellitto beat a Division I team for the first time Saturday, coaching his boys to an 81-46 rout of Liberty.

Although it was Sellitto's first win in 19 tries against teams in the NCAA's top level, and it was his school's first win in its 4-year-old Thanksgiving Classic, don't expect Sellitto to either know the facts or care. He's got more games to win.

"A win is a win," Sellitto said. "I told Russell (Dung, Sellitto's top assistant) that this is probably one of the years we have a chance. This team, this year, can beat anybody they play."

The Sea Warriors nearly doubled their win total in the tournament, leading Hampton by eight points with 6:43 to play, but allowing that lead -- and the game -- to slip away, 83-76. They lost to Notre Dame 98-58 in the opener.

The Sea Warriors are hoping that it is the kind of loss that can anger them enough to start a winning streak, like it did for Jeff Law's Hawaii-Hilo squad.

The Vulcans also got a historic win over the weekend, snapping a 23-game losing streak in the Big Island Invitational with an 87-69 pasting of Division I South Carolina State on Sunday.

But it was a loss the previous night that fueled the upset.

Hawaii-Hilo lost to Louisiana State 64-62 in the second round. Vulcan point guard Scott Prather, who led the tournament in scoring but committed a costly turnover in the loss, torched the Bulldogs for 37 points and seven assists, and willed his team to the blowout win.

"He has been doing that his entire career," Law said. "He and Brady Hyde took the loss really personal and were saying, 'This will not happen again if we get in that situation.' "

With four minutes to go, Prather went over to Law on the sideline and told his coach, "We're not going to lose this one."

Said Law: "It (the win over a Division I team) gives them a lot of confidence. I didn't realize it had been 20-plus years since they've (beaten a Division I team). I was really scared. It was an early morning game, I didn't want to be there, they (South Carolina State) didn't want to be there, but we executed."

Chaminade also hosted a Division I tournament over the weekend.

But they did lose.

The Silverswords were swept in the Maui Invitational, losing to South Carolina 74-61 and Seton Hall 74-62 before scaring Houston in the final game. Chaminade lost that one 76-73.

Brigham Young-Hawaii will get its chance at a Division I win in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational at the Cannon Center in Laie from Dec. 20-22.

Tulsa, Buffalo, Navy, New Mexico State, Montana, Columbia and Valparaiso make up the field.

Notes: Hawaii-Hilo has lost Hyde for at least a month after he broke his right hand moving a couch after the tournament. ... Because EA Sports sponsors its Maui Invitational, Chaminade will be included in the March Madness 2002 game, due out this winter. ... Hawaii Pacific has a chance to crack the Top 25 with wins over St. Martin's and Seattle Pacific on the road this weekend. The last time the Sea Warriors were ranked was in February 1999, when they were No. 23.



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