Sports Update

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, December 27, 1997

Kansas falls from favorite to contender

From tournament favorite to contender, all in a few seconds.

That's how yesterday's injury to all-American Raef LaFrentz has affected the title hopes of the University of Kansas in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic basketball tournament. The No. 2-ranked Jayhawks (14-1) were favored to win the 34th annual event until LaFrentz broke a bone in his right index finger during Friday's practice at the University of Hawaii.

The injury occured yesterday afternoon in Gym II as Kansas prepared for tomorrow's tournament game with Ohio State. LaFrentz, a 6-foot-11 forward averaging 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds, was fouled while going up for a shot by teammate Eric Chenowith.

"Raef went up for a shot inside," Kansas coach Roy Williams said yesterday. "Eric reached across and fouled him. It was a clean play, but he came down hard on Raef's right hand. Raef walked off the court, holding his hand. I knew he was hurt because he doesn't do that."

An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed the injury as a break between the knuckle and the tip of the right index finger. LaFrentz has been projected by some as the No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft.

"Right now, we're not going to send Raef back home early," Williams said. "The finger is in a cast. They don't anticipate any surgery. Everything looks like it's in alignment."

Wahine ready to attack the WAC

The University of Hawaii women's basketball team returns to hardwood Saturday night for its first practice since drubbing UC Santa Barbara last Monday in the championship game of the Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic.

The Wahine will be putting the finishing touches on preparation for the Western Athletic Conference season that begins Friday when they host the San Jose State Spartans at the Special Events Arena at 7:07 p.m.

Head coach Vince Goo told his players before the Christmas break, "Don't come back in better shape than you are now. Go home and enjoy the holiday with family and friends, but don't come back two steps behind either."

UH's 9-1 start is second only to the 1989-90 and 1991-92 teams that went 9-0 in preseason games and didn't suffer the first defeat until the 12th contest.

Two companies bid for UH sports radio rights

Two radio companies have submitted proposals to broadcast University of Hawaii athletic events for the next five years: current rights holder Broadcast Ink Inc. -- a Seattle-based company which does business as Rainbow Sports Radio in conjunction with KCCN -- and the previous rights holder KGU, owned by Los Angeles-based Chagal Hawaii. The deadline for proposals was Friday morning with the bidders allowed up to 45 minutes to make their respective sales pitches.

"Both parties have worked very hard on their proposals and the process of evaluating those proposals will take a little while," said UH associate athletic director Jim Donovan.

UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida expects a decision to be made sometime in January, possibly by the end of next week. Each proposal package included some 20 pages explaining how UH's broadcast demands would be met.

Among the requirements: to broadcast all Rainbow football and men's basketball games; broadcast all Wahine volleyball and basketball road games; and broadcast a combined total of 12 away games for men's volleyball and women's soccer and softball.

The selection process has changed since 1993, when Broadcast Ink's 1.6 million was the high bid. This time, other factors will be under consideration besides money, including promotional and marketing capabilities.

See expanded coverage in Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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