Nash downplaying Rainbows' first exhibition


POSTED: Sunday, November 02, 2008

No special treatment.

That's how Bob Nash is approaching the first exhibition of his head coaching career as the Hawaii men's basketball team takes on Hawaii-Hilo today at 5 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

It'll be the first look for many fans at the young Rainbow Warrior team, which eschewed the annual Twilight Ohana festivities this year.

Nash walked the team through a film session to kick off practice yesterday and capped things off with some plays of the Division II Vulcans of the Pacific West Conference.

“;We're trying to get them a normal routine of what we're gonna do no matter who the opponent is, we're gonna do the same thing,”; Nash said. “;Our schemes, offense and defense may change a little bit, but our preparation would never change. So we wanted to give some guys who haven't gone through that an opportunity to experience it.”;

The practice first team of point guard Kareem Nitoto, shooting guard Lasha Parghalava, small forward Adhar Mayen, and power forwards Bill Amis and Petras Balocka again received the most looks as the team ran through its flex-motion offense. But Nash cautioned that a final decision on today's starters would happen at the team's pre-game shootaround.

Newcomer forward Roderick Flemings will miss the game. He is on the mainland because of a death in his family.

Parghalava, a newcomer guard, felt the team is ready to face the Vulcans regardless of the starting lineup.

“;I'm really excited, I want to see what level we are at right now,”; he said. “;(Without Rod) I think we'll have to work hard to get better but I think we work hard and we're together. I think we're not going to have any issue, problem. I'm pretty sure everybody's comfortable with everyone.”;

Hawaii might try to pound the ball inside, as Hilo's front line consists of 6-foot-7 Perry Baggett, 6-6 Jay DeMaestri and 6-6 Jimmy Lefebvre. Vulcan coach Jeff Law is well aware of his team's shortcomings, but is also well-versed in Hawaii's offense as an eight-year assistant alongside Nash under Riley Wallace.

“;I look at our guys, and for this level compared to where we were last year, we're no smaller,”; said Law. “;It's just that I only really have four forwards. They're all gonna play, and one of them is a small forward. There's just nobody to look back on them, or nobody to push 'em.”;

Amis is 6-9 and Balocka, the strongest player for the Rainbows, is 6-8.

“;It doesn't really make a difference (about Hilo's height),”; said Mayen, a 6-8 junior. “;We just gotta get the ball down low, just go to work down low. Kill 'em down low all day.”;

The Vulcans elected to fly in this morning and will get in a light practice before the game.

The teams last met for an exhibition in 2006, with Hawaii defeating its sister school 83-50. Hawaii went 11-19 last year, while UHH finished 13-13.

There will be no radio or TV broadcasts for today's game, nor the second exhibition against Chaminade on Friday. All seats are general admission prices ($10 adults, $5 children). UH students get in free.


Autograph session after game

The Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine teams will both be available for autographs and photos with fans on the court following the game. Free team posters will be distributed.