Friday, August 27, 2004


Barnett brings
old-school values to HPU

The Hawaii Pacific basketball team may not win any national titles next season, but it could have a pretty good ballroom dancing team.

HPU formally announced J.D. Barnett as its athletic director and basketball coach yesterday, and the veteran basketball coach -- the 60-year old has won more than 300 games on the Division I level over his career -- laid out what it will take for the program to return to the heights it reached under Tony Sellitto, when it won Hawaii's only national championship in basketball. And basketball is only part of it.

"The players don't know it yet, but they will be attending seminars on things like how to treat a lady on a date and proper eating etiquette," Barnett said. "It is my responsibility to teach them lifelong skills along with providing the opportunity to be the best basketball players they can be."

Many of Barnett's new players were in attendance at the press conference, and took pointers from the coach on how to conduct an interview afterward as well as looking into a man's eyes when they shake hands.

And if the players don't buy into Barnett's old-school values of how a young man conducts himself off the court?

"If I can't sell it to them, I am undeserving of the position," Barnett said. "All players care about are playing time and winning. They will do whatever you ask of them as long as they get those two things. If a player doesn't want to make that commitment, we will find enough players to take their place and be successful."

The players agreed that winning would cure everything for the team that went 9-17 last season.

"I don't know too much about him," HPU player Stevie Johnson said. "He seems like a very disciplined coach, which is something that this team definitely needs."

Barnett is still in the process of recruiting and has not assembled a staff yet, but has interviewed Kentucky high school coach Kelly Wells for a position on his staff. The Maysville (Kent.) Ledger-Independent reported that Wells has been offered the position, but Barnett refused to comment other than to say he has historically had at least one former player on his staff.

Wells played for Barnett at Tulsa and won a state title last year.



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