RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Bill Amis grabbed a rebound in front of Long Beach State's Brian Freeman during the Rainbows' victory Sunday. UH doesn't play again until Dec. 19 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Rainbows get some time off
Tests await UH players prior to Rainbow Classic
STORY SUMMARY »
On the court, this week marks a lull before the hectic holiday season kicks in for the Hawaii basketball team.
Still, it's hardly a week of rest for most of the Rainbow Warriors as they concentrate on final exams for the fall semester.
The Rainbows are taking a couple of days off from practice to focus on their classroom tests. When those are complete, they'll turn their attention to next week's Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. The 44th annual holiday tournament runs Dec. 19-22 at the Stan Sheriff Center. Joining UH in the field are Ohio, St. John's, No. 24 Saint Mary's, Tulane, East Tennessee State and Georgia.
FULL STORY »
Before looking ahead to a rigorous on-court test, Hawaii basketball coach Bob Nash gave the Rainbow Warriors a couple of days to devote their attention to their final exams.
"This is the most important time for them to take care of their academic responsibilities," Nash said. "We'll adjust our schedule according to what they need to do."
Nash gave the Rainbows a two-day break from practice following Sunday's win over Long Beach State. When they return to the gym tomorrow afternoon they'll start studying for next week's Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.
The team is in the midst of a 10-day gap between games -- scheduled with finals week in mind -- and they'll have a week to prepare for the Classic opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 19.
Though the team didn't practice yesterday, there was enough work to keep the coaches busy. The staff used the time to get caught up on recruiting for next season and to review the tape of Sunday's 61-57 win.
Nash said the coaches noted the aspects that worked well in the first 30 minutes as the Rainbows built a 16-point lead, as well as the areas of concern that cropped up late as the 49ers sliced the lead to four.
But after hanging on for the win, the Rainbows (3-4) will begin their preparations for the 44th annual Classic with some positive momentum.
"I thought it was huge," Nash said. "I thought it showed the resilience of the guys that they were able to stay focused and keep working hard and they bounced back.
"We definitely didn't want to be sitting there in finals with another loss and trying to get ready for the Classic."
The tournament begins Dec. 19 with Ohio playing St. John's in the opener. The Rainbows will be looking to win their opening-round game for the 12th straight year when they face Louisiana-Lafayette.
On the other side of the bracket, Tulane faces No. 24 Saint Mary's and East Tennessee State plays Georgia in their first-round games on Dec. 20. The tournament closes with the title game on Dec. 22.
Hawaii has gone 22-2 in the Classic since 1999, winning six championships in that span, including last year when the Rainbows topped Creighton in the final.
Nash, who has been a part of 10 Rainbow Classic titles as a player and coach, was pleased with the team's defensive effort overall on Sunday in coming up with 15 steals and disrupting Long Beach State's offensive rhythm.
The Rainbows saw a controlling lead dwindle to four late in the game, but hung on at the end. UH didn't score in the final 3:26, but didn't allow a point in the last 2 minutes, either.
"It was a good effort, but we need to grow from here," UH senior Bobby Nash said after the game. "We can't be satisfied."
Bobby Nash is one of the few Rainbows who can relax this week as the UH graduate student took his last exam of the semester last week. Senior center Stephen Verwers is slated to graduate on Sunday after completing his tests.
And for some players, having their attention split between books and hoops isn't all that bad.
"Basketball's a good break from that," Riley Luettgerodt said. "You take care of your other stuff and once you get in the arena, your whole focus has to be on basketball."