Thursday, December 16, 2004


Wallace undergoes

The UH basketball coach has
a stent inserted and plans to
return to practice tomorrow

Riley Wallace's knowledge of what plays to signal during a basketball game is a key to his success as a college coach. His familiarity with the signals his body was sending him this week has also proved vital.

When the Hawaii basketball coach felt symptoms similar to those he experienced before having a clogged artery cleared back in 1998. He promptly scheduled an appointment with his doctor.

He went in for an examination Monday and after undergoing tests, Wallace had a successful angioplasty performed yesterday morning at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.

Wallace, 63, had a stent (small wire mesh tube) inserted in his right coronary artery to improve blood flow, the same procedure performed on his left coronary artery in 1998.

"I had a feeling things weren't right, so I went in for a checkup," Wallace said yesterday from his room at Kaiser. "I had the same feeling when I had the last stent in. You can mistake it for indigestion if you don't really have a feel for it."

Wallace will likely be released from the hospital today and, with his doctor's approval, plans to be back at practice with the Rainbow Warriors tomorrow.

"They've improved all the procedures, so it doesn't take as long as before. You can get up and all that stuff," he said. "I was up in an hour."

Wallace has missed two days of practice this week. With the players busy studying for final exams, the Rainbows had the day off on Monday and will take another day off today. They return to practice tomorrow to prepare for the 41st Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

UH (5-0) faces Long Beach State (1-5) in the first round on Monday.

Wallace said he'll rest today and return to the office tomorrow.

UH associate coach Bob Nash has run the practices in Wallace's absence and is eager to hand the reins back to the head coach. Nash coached the team for two games in 1998 after Wallace had his first angioplasty. Wallace is expected to be on the bench for Monday's game.

"When you have a leader you want to have him out there to lead," Nash said. "He's done a good job this year of getting this team ready to play and we want him to keep it up."

"I'm ready for coach to be back and get things going again," UH junior Matthew Gipson said. "He's the main guy, he's the head of the family, so when he's gone it's going to make a difference."

Despite having a second angioplasty performed, Wallace said he hasn't thought about leaving the game and doesn't feel he's rushing back to work.

"If I thought I needed (more time off) I would (take it)," he said. "I'll be all right. I'm more careful than before. Everybody says I've mellowed, so I must be."

The procedure may influence his sideline demeanor though.

"You can't stomp your feet," he said.

Big men hurting: Center Chris Botez joined forward Jeff Blackett on the bench for yesterday's practice at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Botez had a wisdom tooth removed earlier in the day and was still sore as he watched the team's workout.

Blackett continues to recover from a concussion and a stiff neck. The aches resulted from a kick to the head he took during Saturday's win over Saint Mary's.

Grand experiment: The Sheriff Center court will have a new look for the Rainbow Classic, as the NCAA's experimental rules will be used for the tournament.

The 3-point line, normally 19 feet, 9 inches away from the basket, will be pushed back to 20 feet, 6 inches.

"I don't even look where the line is," said UH guard Bobby Nash, who is tied with Matt Gibson for the team lead with seven 3-pointers this season. "As a shooter you just need to shoot. With practice and game preparation you don't worry about those things."

Post players will also have to make an adjustment as the key will be widened from 12 feet to 15 feet. The wider lane means players will have to be more conscious of 3-second calls.

But in Hawaii's motion offense, the big men don't spend a lot of time anchored down low.

"I like it -- there's a lot more room to operate," Gipson said. "It's going to help the way my game is. It'll hurt guys who are real big and just try to pin and seal down low."

The experimental rules are required for certified events held before Jan. 1, 2005.

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