Tuesday, May 14, 2002
After several weeks of wavering between two sports, Hawaii basketball player Josh Stanhiser said yesterday that he wants to play volleyball next year.
The 6-foot-10 junior wants
to win a national title
By Grace Wen
Stanhiser was a redshirt walk-on for the basketball team this year but practiced with the Warrior volleyball team after the basketball season concluded. The 6-foot-10 junior helped Hawaii prepare for opponents like UCLA, BYU and Pepperdine by imitating the opposing team's middle blocker.
"It's still not 100 percent all the way," Stanhiser said. "But a big part of (the decision) was them winning a national championship and hopefully being able to do that again.
"I'd like to win a championship, I think that would be great. But I'm just one person and hopefully I can do something to help the team. They've got a pretty strong crew coming back."
Though a solid core returns next year, the Warriors lose All-American Dejan Miladinovic. The 6-foot-7 middle blocker is Hawaii's career leader in total blocks, block assists and blocking average.
Freshman Delano Thomas and Brian Nordberg will be back in the middle next year. Reserve middle Geronimo Chala figures to be in the mix as well. Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said Stanhiser gives the Warriors added depth for next season.
"I think he just needed to fully contemplate," Wilton said. "This is a guy who spent most of his life playing basketball. He had some things to consider, I can understand it. In a sense, he's entering some unknowns."
Stanhiser may be entering unfamiliar territory, but Wilton is confident in his abilities.
"He's not just tall," Wilton said, "he's athletic. He's got good hops, very good hops. He swings his arm very well and he's got quick feet.
"He can compete for a starting job. In the three weeks that he practiced with us coming down the stretch, we keep data in every practice and he was our points leader in two of those practices. That's impressive."
Stanhiser said he is comfortable with the members of the team. He attended several Warrior functions last week, including the volleyball banquet. As Wilton called each of the players up to the stage, the Warriors' coach said he hoped Stanhiser's choice would be volleyball.
"I had to think a lot about it," Stanhiser said. "I played basketball primarily all through high school and college. I also played volleyball, but it was for fun, a secondary sport when basketball season was over. I was hoping to do both here, but it just takes up too much time and the seasons run a little bit longer."
His basketball skills should help him adapt quickly to volleyball.
In the 1999-2000 season with Columbia Union College (Md.), Stanhiser led the NCAA Division II with 87 blocked shots. He didn't see any court time last year, but he practiced well with the basketball team.
"He's a good shot blocker," Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace said. "He did a real nice job against Haim (Shimonovich) and some of the other guys in practice. He contributed. That's why I took him with us at the end of the season. He's a nice kid.
"He's thin. He has a hard time keeping weight on."
Stanhiser is on an academic scholarship and would not count towards the volleyball team's allotted 4.5 scholarships.
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