Amis fitting in with Rainbows
STORY SUMMARY »
Bill Amis is a bit more reserved than his fellow graduate of Putnam City (Okla.) High, but his Hawaii teammates can see similarities between the Rainbow Warrior sophomore forward and energetic senior guard Matt Gibson.
Coppin State (3-3) at Hawaii (1-3)
» When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
» Where: Stan Sheriff Center
» TV: KFVE, Ch. 5
» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
"I guess it's a thing out of Putnam City where he's a little like Matt," UH senior Bobby Nash said. "He's never going to stop working for you because he wants to win. ... He's like a senior out there. We love his energy and everything he brings to the table."
Amis was among the last players to sign with UH during the summer, but has been among the Rainbows' first five in all four games this season, starting at power forward. He enters tonight's game with Coppin State averaging 7.5 points and a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game for the Rainbows (1-3).
His 10 points at New Mexico last Wednesday was his high for the season and his 63-percent shooting from the field puts him among the early leaders in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Rainbows host Coppin State in a nonconference game at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.
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Bill Amis outgrew his position in the backcourt as an Oklahoma high schooler to develop into a front-line player in Hawaii.
A guard in his youth, a growth spurt meant learning a new set of skills late in his prep career at Putnam City High, where he came off the bench for the Oklahoma City power.
Following a year at Pratt (Kan.) Community College, Amis -- now a 6-foot-9 forward -- has worked his way into the first five of each of Hawaii's games so far in his initial season of Division I basketball.
"Every game I've grown more and more comfortable out there," Amis said after a practice in preparation for UH's game with Coppin State tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"I was tentative the first couple of games, but the last two I've relaxed a little bit. The main thing I want to do is bring energy out there, whether I'm coming off the bench or starting."
As late as mid-summer, Amis was set on returning to Kansas for a second year of junior college. But a strong performance at a summer tournament led to a Division I scholarship offer, and with UH senior P.J. Owsley hampered by a leg injury this fall, Amis found himself being introduced with the starters.
The sophomore has averaged 7.5 points and a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game since, showing an ability to score in the paint and from the perimeter with a soft left-handed jumper. His 63 percent shooting from the field is good for third in the Western Athletic Conference in the early stages of the season.
"He's had to step into the starting role as a sophomore and that's a big job to fill coming from high school two years ago. That's a big step for anybody," UH senior Bobby Nash said. "He's very energetic. He blocks shots. He's long. He's very intense and he makes very few mistakes."
Just as he's acclimating to Division I competition, Amis is a relative newcomer to playing in the post. He started out as a 6-foot, 120-pound guard at Putnam City before sprouting into a 6-7 forward by his senior year.
"I'm working more on post moves, it's kind of hard that I got into playing the post late so I don't have as much of an understanding of the position," he said. "I'm just trying to get in the weight room and work on getting stronger."
After Amis averaged 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in his lone season at Pratt CC, UH coaches took notice of him in a summer tournament. With a scholarship still available, they offered it to him for this season rather than waiting another year. Amis ended up signing with the Rainbows shortly before the start of classes in August.
"He was a great pick-up for us late in the recruiting year," UH coach Bob Nash said. "Once we saw him we knew he was a good player and if we didn't get him then, possibly next year he might be a Big 12-type player."
Amis' first exposure to Hawaii basketball actually came as a student in Lon Gibson's government class at Putnam City High. Mr. Gibson also happened to be the father of Rainbow senior Matt Gibson.
"I remember being in his dad's class and one day he showed us Hawaii basketball, and I was like 'I can't imagine myself ever going to Hawaii,' " Amis said. "Now I'm here."
Matt Gibson was three years ahead of Amis in school so they didn't play together at Putnam City. But Gibson knew of the youngster growing up, having dated a friend of Amis' older sister, and he's been impressed with his progress over the years.
"He's a good kid, he came from a good family and has a good upbringing," Gibson said.
"He wasn't even a starter at our school so for him to keep working hard on his game and eventually get a Division I scholarship, it's good for him and I like having somebody out here from my hometown.
"We (Oklahoma products) may not be the best athletes, or the best skilled players, but we're going to work hard. We're going to be in the gym lifting weights, shooting all the time, trying to better ourselves all the way, and he's stayed true to that."