FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN
Senior center Stephen Verwers was averaging 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds a game for the Warriors before he was lost for the season with a broken leg suffered during yesterday's practice.
’Bows lose Verwers for year with broken leg
STORY SUMMARY »
The Hawaii basketball team will be without center Stephen Verwers for the remainder of the season after the senior suffered a broken left leg in practice yesterday.
New Mexico (11-2) at Hawaii (3-7)
» Tomorrow, 7;05 p.m.
» Stan Sheriff Center
» TV: Oceanic PPV Ch. 255
» Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
Verwers was injured when he landed awkwardly after going up for a shot during the Rainbow Warriors' workout in preparation for tomorrow's game against New Mexico at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Verwers was scheduled to have surgery last night and his college career is probably over. He started all 10 games this season, putting him past the limit to apply for a medical hardship.
He averaged 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Rainbows (3-7) this season. At 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds, Verwers represented the Rainbows' biggest post player and "our banger," coach Bob Nash said.
Verwers' loss leaves the Rainbows with 10 players -- including four post players -- available for tomorrow's game with the Lobos (11-2). The remaining posts are seniors P.J. Owsley and Alex Veit and sophomores Bill Amis and Paul Campbell. Owsley had been working through a leg injury of his own earlier this season. Bobby Nash has also played in the post at times.
Tomorrow's game is set for 7:05 p.m. and will be televised on Oceanic Cable pay-per-view.
FULL STORY »
It was a somber Christmas for the Hawaii basketball team.
Whatever on-court adversity the Rainbow Warriors had faced lately paled yesterday with the loss of a senior leader to a season-ending injury.
Stephen Verwers, the Rainbow Warriors' starting center, suffered a broken left leg an hour into practice yesterday, probably ending his college career.
Verwers landed awkwardly after going up for a shot during a halfcourt drill and went to the floor. He broke the tibia and fibula in his leg and was scheduled to have surgery last night.
"The guys obviously have a heavy heart for their buddy Stephen," UH coach Bob Nash said. "He's one of our most liked guys and for him to go down like that, it's hard for everybody."
The Rainbows (3-7) were practicing in preparation for tomorrow's game against New Mexico at the Stan Sheriff Center, and will resume that task this afternoon.
The team had been focusing on the concerns that arose during an 0-3 run in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic last week with a hot New Mexico team coming to town. Their thoughts yesterday turned toward their teammate.
"When you talk about the shooting woes, the times when the defensive intensity isn't there, you can correct those things," Nash said. "You can't correct this."
Verwers started all 10 games this season and averaged 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. At 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds, he represented UH's most imposing presence in the post.
He transferred from Colorado State in 2005 and sat out a season in accordance with NCAA rules. He played in 30 games last season, starting eight.
With the Rainbows past the 25-percent threshold for players to apply for a medical hardship, the injury probably ends Verwers' career at UH, although Nash said the school will see if there are any options for Verwers to pursue.
Verwers is the second UH post player to suffer a season-ending injury. Freshman Ji Xiang suffered a torn ligament in his knee during the team's first practice in October.
Verwers graduated from UH earlier this month with a degree in Travel Industry Management. His parents were in town to attend the graduation ceremony and watch him play in the Rainbow Classic.
"You don't find a guy with his priorities in the proper order (like Verwers)," Nash said. "He's a graduate and getting ready to start on his master's in business. If there's anyone who's prepared to use his education for his advancement in life. ..."
The matter of facing New Mexico tomorrow remains for the Rainbows. The game is the back end of a home-and-home series between UH and Lobos.
New Mexico (11-2), under first-year coach Steve Alford, handed UH (3-7) its most lopsided loss of the season when the Lobos shot 76 percent from the field in the second half on their way to an 89-60 win at The Pit in Albuquerque.
"They realize they still have a job to do to get ready for a very good New Mexico team," Nash said. "They've been resilient. They've shown they have great character."