RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
Dillinger earns Rainbows' last 2006-07 scholarship
The junior swingman will try to earn playing time at shooting guard and small forward
Turned out the Hawaii basketball team didn't have to look that far to fill its last scholarship.
Jared Dillinger, a junior guard/forward who transferred to UH from Air Force last year, has been awarded the scholarship for the upcoming season. UH coach Riley Wallace said Dillinger will compete at shooting guard and small forward this season.
"The coaches like him, the players like him and he works really hard in practice," Wallace said. "He had a pretty good summer league and he likes the game and stays at it. He's a good student and fits the full student-athlete picture.
"He was more than just a walk-on," he added. "He's a guy who was capable of coming in and earning minutes. I saw things that he could do last year that could have helped us."
Dillinger (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) said he knew getting a scholarship was a possibility, but was still a bit surprised when he learned of the decision on Monday. He attended the second summer session at UH and was planning to pay his way though school again this year. But the scholarship takes the financial burden off his family.
"I wasn't expecting it, but it's great that I have it," Dillinger said. "They told me to keep working hard and you'll get a scholarship, but I never assumed I was going to get it.
"If it wouldn't have happened, I would have been fine. I still would have played because I love playing basketball, but it's definitely nice to have."
The Rainbows had one more scholarship to offer after landing five recruits in the fall and spring signing periods. The coaches had until the start of the fall semester to fill the scholarship, and ultimately decided to keep it in-house.
"Sometimes you have a tendency to not look close to home always," Wallace said. "I felt like we'd have a hard time going out and finding somebody better for that spot."
UH has a void to fill at small forward with three-year starter Julian Sensley completing his eligibility in March. Wallace said newcomers Riley Luettgerodt
and Alex Veit will get a shot at the position. Bobby Nash, who is returning from a shoulder injury, can also contribute at both guard and small forward.
Matt Lojeski returns at shooting guard, while Matt Gibson, who also applied for a medical hardship last season, will get an opportunity to earn the job at point guard.
Gibson played the point at times as a sophomore in the 2004-05 season, when he led the team in scoring with 13 points per game. Sophomore Dominic Waters started two games last season and the Rainbows signed freshman point guard Todd Lowenthal in the spring.
"We'll give (Gibson) a shot at it and see," Wallace said. "Then you've got Lowenthal, who I think will be a very good one, and you have Dominic."
The Rainbows will play an exhibition game against Hawaii-Hilo on Nov. 4. It'll be the third straight year the Vulcans will visit Manoa for an exhibition.
UH-Hilo had been in discussions with national power Memphis about a matchup prior to the Tigers' trip to the EA Sports Maui Invitational. But Vulcans coach Jeff Law said the game didn't pan out and his team will instead open the season Nov. 20 against Lewis and Clark College.
The Rainbows begin the regular season on Nov. 10 at UNLV. It'll be the team's first season opener on the mainland since 1993.
Three players from Honolulu are on the preseason rosters of WAC teams this season. Along with UH's Bobby Nash (Iolani) and Jack Miller (Saint Louis), Mid-Pacific graduate Daniel Gordon is slated to play for Idaho this season. Gordon, a 6-foot-2 guard, is among 12 Vandal newcomers brought in by first-year coach George Pfeifer.