Beyond the basket
For most of the 4,849 who filed into the Stan Sheriff Center on Feb. 16, tip-off represented the beginning. For the Rainbow Warriors and a crew of arena and team staff members, it marked the culmination of a gameday timetable that began some 22 hours before.
The process began that Friday night in the moments following the UH men's volleyball team's match with UCLA as arena manager Rich Sheriff and his staff rolled up the Taraflex surface to convert the court to basketball mode.
The preparations would resume Saturday afternoon when the Rainbows gathered for the pregame shootaround, with the anticipation continuing to build over the next 5 hours leading up to the Rainbows' showdown with Utah State.
The payoff for the hours of work put in by the Rainbows and the UH staff would be a rousing 71-66 comeback victory over the Aggies.
It's a process that will cycle through two more times this week as the 'Bows close the home schedule against Idaho and Boise State.
Friday, 8:58 p.m.
FLOOR WORK » It takes a crew of 11 -- Sheriff, assistant managers Russ Gima and Kekoa Seward and eight student workers -- about 90 minutes to complete the conversion. They'll remove the Taraflex surface, roll it up and put it into storage.
Friday, 8:58 p.m.
Then the baskets are wheeled in through the tunnel to be set up for the game.
"Over the years we've been able to streamline the process," said Sheriff, son of the arena's namesake. "It's gotten a lot faster over time."
The crew has become proficient enough over 12 years to consider holding a basketball-volleyball doubleheader next fall.
Saturday, 2:32 p.m.
SHOOTAROUND » Adhar Mayen throws down a dunk during the pregame shootaround, the last chance for Bob Nash, right, and the UH coaches to do an on-court review of the offensive and defensive schemes they'll run against Utah State. The 45-minute session ends with various shooting drills, a valuable period since they haven't worked in the arena since Tuesday.
Saturday, 2:32 p.m.
After a few words from Nash, there's a team meal in the booster room and some time to relax before the players get geared up for the game.
VIEW FROM ABOVE » Tes Whitlock provided one of the all-time highlights in UH history with his last-second shot against BYU in 1995. Now a student assistant, he's responsible for setting up the video system the coaches use to review each game. The camera is connected to a laptop computer operated by manager Olivia Schubert. Equipped with Gamebreaker software , it has taken much of the labor out of film review.
HANGING AROUND » Manager Dean Kramp’s day begins at noon and won’t end until close to midnight. The Maui freshman’s duties include setting up for both teams’ shootarounds and making sure the uniforms and equipment are ready for the players when they start filing in. “Once the game starts, that’s the easy part,” he said.
TALE OF THE TAPE » Not every player gets his ankles taped before the game, a personal preference dictated by comfort or past performances. "They're pretty superstitious," trainer Lyn Nakagawa said. "If someone tweaked an ankle, even if it was early in the season, and had a little extra tape, they'll want it the same way."
COMING TOGETHER » After a meeting with the coaches, the Rainbows take a moment together before hitting the court for warmups. While they focus on the game, they also recognize the injured players who won't take the floor that night with a yell of "12-30-35" for Ji Xiang, P.J. Owsley and Stephen Verwers.
INTO THE LIGHT » Running onto the court prior to a game brings "a huge burst of emotions," Rainbow forward Bobby Nash said. It's a rush the UH seniors will experience just two more times.
TIP-OFF » The time for preparation is over once the ball goes up. About 2 hours after Bill Amis battles Utah State's Gary Wilkinson for the tip, the Rainbows will emerge with the stirring victory.