UH’s Farmer broadcasts to smaller audience now
Larry Farmer sees some similarities between his role as a broadcaster for the past three years to his new job on the Hawaii basketball coaching staff.
He's still sharing his insights on the game, just to a different audience.
"It's all learning and it's about basketball, but it's not hands on. This is much better," Farmer said.
Farmer, previously a college head coach at UCLA, Weber State and Loyola-Chicago, had been working as a television analyst when new Hawaii coach Bob Nash hired him as an assistant this summer.
He felt a familiarity with the UH program after working a couple of Rainbow Warrior games last season and is enjoying the transition back to coaching.
"What I felt I was doing was explaining what was happening on the court to the viewing audience," Farmer said. "That was fun and it was challenging, but to be out here with the kids and talk to them and interact, it's the closest thing to playing when you're too old."
Before he could start instructing, Farmer had to do some learning of his own in picking up on the system Nash planned to install, some of which already looked pretty familiar.
"Having done a couple of Hawaii games and over the years watching them play, I knew a lot of the stuff they ran was similar to a lot of the UCLA stuff," the former Bruins standout said. "So it was easy for me to adapt to."
Farmer has been focusing on the UH post players during practice, and has seen gradual improvement in the group since Twilight Ohana.
"You'd expect P.J. (Owsley) and Stephen (Verwers) to be the guys that set the tone, and Alex (Veit) has done a good job," Farmer said. "And then the young guys have really picked up a lot of the slack and have gotten better and better.
"That's created a competitive atmosphere and I think that's been good. ... They're banging every day. I think they're all making each other better."
Standing near the UH bench area, Tes Whitlock
smiled as he glanced toward the spot where he launched one of the storied shots in the program's history.
"It's like it was yesterday," he said of his buzzer-beating fling that beat BYU more than 12 years ago. "Every kid dreams of a game-winning shot. I still see it, sold-out crowd, the energy that was in here that night."
Whitlock is back working in the Stan Sheriff Center these days, rejoining the program as video coordinator and student manager. Fellow UH alum Tim Shepherd has also joined the staff as Director of Operations.
"I think it's always good to have ex-players around that can talk these guys through things," Nash said.
Whitlock and Shepherd are limited to certain duties, but see their roles with the team as entry points toward coaching careers.
"It's been a long time," said Shepherd, a UH forward from 1989 to '92. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity and it's finally good to give back after all these years being away. I've always kind of watched from a distance, but it's good being behind the scenes."
Shepherd has stayed active as a high school coach and through youth clinics he's run for the past decade.
Whitlock is finishing up his kinesiology degree.
"I can let some of these guys know about life after basketball and how important it is to take advantage of all of this right now," Whitlock said.