RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Front row, from left, Hawaii's wings, Conrad Fitzgerald, Bobby Nash, Beau Albrechtson. Back: Jared Dillinger, Adhar Mayen and Riley Luettgerodt. The wings give the Warriors versatility at the position and the players more chances at playing time.
WARRIORS BASKETBALL: SEASON PREVIEW
On the wing
SECOND OF FOUR PARTS
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With versatility comes flexibility.
Since taking over as Hawaii basketball coach, Bob Nash has emphasized having players be able to fill various roles on the court rather than entrench themselves into a certain position, expanding the array of options available to the coaching staff as well as opportunities for playing time.
The mind-set is particularly prevalent among the Rainbow Warriors' wing players, several of whom can play multiple positions.
Senior Bobby Nash has played shooting guard, small forward and power forward in his UH career and figures to again fill various roles this season. Riley Luettgerodt is penciled in at shooting guard after playing small forward most of last season, while Jared Dillinger is contending for a starting job following a year on the scout team.
Sophomore Adhar Mayen is playing catch-up after sitting out a week of practice while awaiting clearance.
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So just what position does Bobby Nash play?
The answer depends on the day.
The Hawaii senior might be banging through post drills with the Rainbow Warrior big men in one practice, then popping jumpers with the guards the next.
Versatility is a running theme among the Rainbows' wing players this season, several of whom can play multiple spots on the court.
In his first four years in the UH program, the 6-foot-6 Nash has played on the perimeter and in the post, and although he's primarily a small forward he can again expect a wide range of duties this season.
"When you had someone like (former Rainbow forward) Julian Sensley, who could handle the ball, who could post up, who could hit the outside jump shot, you look at how versatile he was," Nash said. "I'm just trying to fill that void."
Senior Riley Luettgerodt is penciled in at shooting guard, but played small forward last season. Jared Dillinger, whose shooting in practice and familiarity with the offense has him in contention for a starting job, is also familiar with both spots.
"You could be matched up against a really quick guard one game, a 6-2 penetrating type. The next game you're matched up against a bigger guy who likes to post up," Luettgerodt said. "You have to be able to do lots of different things."
With sophomore Adhar Mayen making strides in learning the small forward duties, the Rainbows' depth gives the coaches some options to consider.
"All those guys on the perimeter give you scoring in every position so people can't just guard one guy," head coach Bob Nash said. "They have to guard every position and that's what we're trying to create by having guys who can play multiple positions."
Nash has been leaning toward a "small" lineup heading into Friday's season opener against San Diego, with Matt Gibson running the point, Luettgerodt and Dillinger on the wings and Bobby Nash sliding into the post.
While the lineup might give up some height inside, it could facilitate the transition game.
"I think it adds to our versatility, but it also gives us a lot more speed," said Bobby Nash. "When we go with our small lineup we're fast and you have to be concerned with every single one of us because every one of us can shoot. Our biggest thing is we have to get to the boards and we have to rebound."
Luettgerodt returns rejuvenated following an uneven first year in the program. He struggled with his confidence at times as a junior, but showed his scoring potential in seven double-figure outings off the bench, including a 23-point night at Long Beach State.
Dillinger is in his third year in the program and spent most of last season on the scout team. Minutes were hard to come by with Matt Lojeski -- the team's leading scorer a year ago -- Luettgerodt and Nash ahead of him. So far, he's been impressive in practice with his outside shooting touch.
"It was hard to get opportunities at the two and the three because we had really great players," Dillinger said. "Other than that (the difference is) just confidence.
"I'm not trying to force up any shots, but I'm a shooter and I'm going to shoot the ball when I get the chance."
Two freshmen also join the mix. Conrad Fitzgerald has played in the local NCAA Summer League for the last two years and brings athleticism with him from Pendleton School in Florida. Walk-on Beau Albrechtson is learning to play on the perimeter after helping Kaimuki win a state championship as an All-State post player.
||Could go from the scout team to the starting lineup. ... Played in six games and made one free throw last season. ... The only UH player to reach the NCAA Tournament. He was a freshman on the Air Force team that made the 2004 tournament.
||Played in all 31 games and started one last season. ... Averaged 6.2 points per game with a high of 23 against Long Beach State. ... Set a UH record by going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line vs. LBSU.
||Second team preseason All-WAC selection. ... Scored a career-high 22 points on two occasions last season. ... Last remaining member of the UH team that played in the 2004 NIT, the program's last postseason appearance. ... Three-time Academic All-WAC pick. ... Graduated last spring.
||From Woodland Hills, Calif., but graduated from Edison Academic Center in Bradenton, Fla. ... Averaged 17 points and five rebounds as a senior. ... Grandparents live in Makaha Valley.
||Will contend for playing time at small forward. ... Averaged 13.7 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in one season at Hill (Texas) College. ... Born in Sudan and moved to Texas at age 6.
||Invited walk-on from Kaimuki High School. ... Named to the Star-Bulletin's Fab 15 All-State team. ... Averaged 16.6 points and eight rebounds in helping the Bulldogs win the state championship last season.