Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, December 7, 2001


Hawaii-Hilo guard Scott Prather, right, scored 37 points in this Nov. 25 game against Division I South Carolina State.

Prather Good

The 5-foot-11 Hawaii-Hilo senior
shined against D-I competition

By Jerry Campany

asketball at the NCAA Division II level is filled with Division I dreamers.

Players who have always been told that they lack the size or speed to compete at their game's highest amateur level take a step down to prove people wrong while still getting an education.

So on the rare occasions that they do get a chance to test themselves against those charmed few who have been judged good enough for college basketball on its elite level, they want to make the most of it.

Sometimes, as it was this year with Hawaii-Hilo point guard Scott Prather, it is the least likely candidate who steps up and lets the big boys know he can play some ball.

Prather, a 5-foot-11, 150-pound senior, lit up the three Division I teams his Vulcans faced in the Big Island Basketball Tournament, posting 37 points against South Carolina and leading the entire tournament in scoring. Obviously, the Division II guard made the all-tournament team.

Although he is happy enough at Hilo to say that he would not change a thing, Prather uses the annual Division I tournament as his answer to the often-played game of "What if?"

What if his high school coach, Bill Naylor of Maui High School, had not been able to sell then-Hilo coach Jim Forkum on Prather's ability as a point guard?

"I probably would have tried to walk on at (UH) Manoa," Prather said. "I think I could have made the team, but I probably would have been a super-scrub."

That is if he could have even gotten a tryout.

Prather came out of Maui as the MVP of the Maui Interscholastic League, but he didn't even get a sniff from a college program despite being a four-time scholar-athlete award winner.

It wasn't because he couldn't shoot (21.5 points per game his senior year) or pass (4.5 assists), it was likely because he didn't look like your typical basketball player.

"Seeing him from afar, just going through the lay-up line, you think, 'Here's a skinny little kid, I'm going to eat his lunch,' " current Hilo coach Jeff Law said. "But I guarantee you, that skinny little kid causes a lot of coaches and players sleepless nights trying to figure out how they are going to handle him. He requires a lot of preparation. "

He still doesn't look like a basketball player; he just plays like one. And that suits him fine.

"I hope they (opposing point guards) think that I can't play," Prather said. "I have an edge when people underestimate me."

And Andre Riviere, South Carolina's point guard, had every reason to believe that Prather was every bit the pushover he appeared to be. In Hilo's previous game of the tournament --a two-point loss to Louisiana State -- Prather made a late turnover that he feels led to the Vulcans' demise.

"I should have known better," Prather said. "They had just tied (the game) and I went down the floor panicking. It definitely made me hungry for the next game."

Prather's progression as a player allowed him to win the first two Pacific West Conference player of the week awards, but Prather says the honors don't matter unless his team keeps winning games.

Law seconds that attitude, but likes to see the honors roll in for his scrappy leader.

"A lot of kids say it is not about the numbers, then run straight to the stat sheet after the game," Law said. "Scotty is honestly not like that, he really cares only about the wins. We just have to keep the wins coming so that he can get even more recognition."

Hawaii Pacific
U.H. Hilo

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin