RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH associate head coach Bob Nash yelled out instructions at a recent game while sitting next to his son, UH guard Bobby Nash.
A Nash-ural sleuth
UH assistant Bob Nash watches and edits videos of opponents to track their tendencies
THE HOLIDAY SEASON is anything but restful for Bob Nash.
Things usually get pretty hectic for the Hawaii associate basketball coach this time of year. But his feverish schedule has nothing to do with trying to find a parking space at Ala Moana while searching for the perfect gift.
Rather, he spends much of his time in late December hunting for ways to defeat the Rainbow Warriors' next opponent.
42ND OUTRIGGER HOTELS RAINBOW CLASSIC
When: Today through Friday
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Evening games on KFVE Ch. 5
Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
Internet: Audio on Sportsradio1420.com, video on hawaiiantelmedia.com
Tickets: Packages, $90 (lower level), $70 (upper). Individual games, $25 (lower), $20 (upper).
» Colorado State vs. Western Michigan, 5 p.m.
» Hawaii vs. Loyola Marymount, 7:30 p.m.
Nash is charge of scouting UH's upcoming opponents and, with six games over a 13-day span, that means a lot of late nights spent in front of a video screen.
"I don't think he ever sleeps," said Bobby Nash, a junior guard with the Rainbows and the coach's son. "I don't know what it is, he's an insomniac or something, he's always up. I'll go get a midnight snack and he's still up looking at scout tapes and learning what the other team likes to do."
The pace of the season picked up with last Saturday's game against Utah State and hits high gear this week as the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic gets started.
"He's busy," head coach Riley Wallace said. "He's gotten
pretty good at it where it's easier for him, but he still puts in a lot of hours."
UH faces Loyola Marymount in the second game of today's opening-round doubleheader at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The 'Bows have a day to prepare for Thursday's game against either Colorado State or Western Michigan, then play again on Friday. They then have nonconference games next week against North Carolina A&T on Tuesday and Pennsylvania two days later.
With games coming in rapid-fire succession, sleep is a luxury Nash will sometimes forego, opting instead to watch tape in an effort to give the Rainbows an idea of what to expect in their upcoming contest.
"There's been some all-nighters where I come in and I just have so much work to do I'll stay here and get it done," Nash said.
"I eat right and sleep right most of time, so sometimes you make the sacrifice so you can have your team ready for anything the other team shows you. I have to be ready so we don't get surprised."
Nash is in his 25th season on the UH coaching staff. He took over film duties when former assistant Jeff Law left the program to become the head coach at UH-Hilo eight years ago.
Nash said he'll usually review at least four tapes of a team, watching an entire game then going back to look at specific tendencies and map their offensive patterns. He'll also focus on in-bounds plays, what teams tend to run coming out of timeouts, and how they approach various situations.
"I'm just trying to get an understanding of how the other coach is thinking," Nash said.
Nash will also put together video highlights of individuals to help the 'Bows get familiar with the player they'll be guarding.
"Not only does he break down the plays, you know what each player on each team is going to do," senior Julian Sensley said. "If we do our job that shows Coach has done his job. ... We know their plays, we're calling it out for them and it kind of confuses them."
Wallace credited Nash's scouting report for setting the tone for UH's season-opening win over Michigan State and praised his work again after the Rainbows' Western Athletic Conference victory over Utah State on Saturday.
Although he spends hours dissecting footage, Nash insists it isn't a one-man operation. He gets help from video coordinator Chico Wilson and director of operations Gabe Watson in editing the tapes.
He also uses statistics provided to him by assistant media relations director Derek Inouchi to get a feel for the personnel as he prepares the scouting reports.
Nash will then take what he's gleaned from watching the tapes and reviewing the stats to prepare the scout team to run the schemes in practice.
"Sometimes I'll stay behind and help him with some tapes," Bobby Nash said. "I'll watch tape with him and I'll be on the scout team so I can give the first team a better chance to get a feel for what they do."
Wallace said having experienced associate coaches in Nash and Jackson Wheeler is a key to the team's preparation. Also getting involved in the process is first-year assistant Alika Smith, a former standout guard for UH.
"They know what I want and know what the team needs because they've seen it for so long," Wallace said. "So you have six eyes looking at it instead of just two."
Technology has aided the process in recent years. UH uses "Gamebreaker" computer software to separate offensive and defensive footage, making it easier to concentrate on specific areas. The computer program also allows the coaches to break down footage on the road without having to lug around a videotape player.
It's a long way from the reel-to-reel films teams watched when Nash was a player in the 1970s.
"Nowadays, technology is such that you can virtually get inside the other coach's head by virtue of seeing their plays over and over," Nash said.
Nash acknowledges that not all coaching staffs place as much emphasis on tape study. He pointed to legendary UCLA coach John Wooden as one who worried more about getting his own team ready rather than scouting the opponent.
But with games often decided by slim margins -- evidenced by UH's five losses by three points or fewer last season -- the Hawaii staff will continue to look for any edge they can find.
"Every point means something to us, either getting it or stopping it," Nash said.