RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
Wallace's heart back where it belongs: at practice
The veteran UH coach missed the team's last two workouts with health concerns
With some added peace of mind tucked away, Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace was back in full voice in the Stan Sheriff Center yesterday afternoon.
"It's nice to have him back, nice to hear his voice, nice to get yelled at," UH junior Bobby Nash said after Wallace pushed the team through a two-hour practice. "He does it because he cares. I know he's been missing it."
Wallace missed the Rainbow Warriors' previous two workouts while undergoing medical tests, and while some of the symptoms that prompted Wallace to make an appointment for a checkup still need to be treated, the fact that his heart wasn't the cause was a relief for the 20-year coach.
Wallace, who had an angioplasty performed to improve blood flow in a coronary artery twice during his UH career, said he experienced shortness of breath and a lack of energy leading up to the Rainbows' trip to the Great Alaska Shootout during Thanksgiving week.
He went in to see his doctor last Friday and was brought back for a follow-up examination Monday morning after resting over the weekend. He had an angiogram performed to check the condition of his heart and was cleared to return to work.
"The problem's still there, but it's not the heart and that's the good thing," Wallace said.
"The symptoms are that of the heart, that's why they checked it, but (his doctor) said my heart's actually much better than it was the last time they went in."
Wallace said the symptoms, which weren't similar to those that prompted an angioplasty in December 2004, will be addressed by adjusting his medication.
Since being cleared on Monday, Wallace is back to a full schedule, running practice yesterday then heading to his weekly radio show.
"It's great to have him back," Nash said. "We missed him, our prayers were with him."
With their head coach back in charge at practice, the Rainbows (4-4) are preparing for their first game in 10 days when they face Northwestern State (5-4) on Saturday at the Sheriff Center.
The Rainbows have lost three of their last four games, the latest a 61-58 loss to UNLV last week at the Sheriff Center.
Since that loss, junior P.J. Owsley has moved into the starting lineup at forward, with Ahmet Gueye in the post, Nash at small forward and Matt Gibson and Matt Lojeski in the backcourt.
"We know what we have to do, we have to get better at what we've been doing," Wallace said. "We're not going to make drastic changes, you just have to take the personnel you've got and get them better at what they're supposed to be doing. It gets down to execution, energy level, rebounding, stuff you have to do to win ballgames."