Nash stresses adherence to schemes


POSTED: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Could covert operations on the way out of Honolulu translate into victories on the way back in?

Coach Bob Nash and the rest of the Hawaii men's basketball team sure hope so.

The Rainbow Warriors held their second straight practice closed to the media and public yesterday before departing for the airport.

Last-place UH (9-10, 1-6 Western Athletic Conference) plays seventh-place Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., tomorrow in the hope of ending its five-game WAC skid—and earning its first road win of the season. The Rainbows follow at New Mexico State on Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M.

The closed practices signaled a new edict from UH coaches to their players—play our way or don't play at all.

“;We had two days where we addressed a lot of concerns,”; Nash said. “;Tried to stress the importance to the guys of how important it is to run the things the way it's designed, as opposed to breaking out of it. Rebound where you're supposed to rebound. We gotta do it collectively. We have pockets of it, but it's gotta be collectively and it's gotta be sustained over longer periods of time.”;

Nash said leniency won't be given to players who don't fully buy in to the team's offensive and defensive concepts.

The same woes that plagued UH in the nonconference season (outside shooting and turnovers) have been recently magnified in WAC play. Teams have continued to pack in zone defenses and dare the Rainbows to launch 3-pointers. When UH tries to deliver the ball in the post to Roderick Flemings (who is tied for second in WAC scoring at 17 points per game) he has increasingly been met by double teams as opponents try to make other players beat them.

“;Yeah, that's pretty much the game plan against us,”; said Flemings, who is from Dallas and will have family at both Ruston and Las Cruces. “;We worked on that (Monday) in practice, too. Like, guys getting open, cutting.”;

Flemings said his sprained ankle (which had nearly healed) got aggravated in the team's loss at Nevada last week as he dived for a loose ball.

“;They told me it's not going to get better unless I rest for three weeks, and I don't think that's pretty much an option right now,”; Flemings said. “;Just gotta play through it the best that I can.”;

The Rainbows got their only league win so far, 65-64, over the LaTech Bulldogs (8-12, 2-5) at the Stan Sheriff Center on Jan. 5. They'll try to match the feat at the Thomas Assembly Center and use it as a new launching point.

“;We were able to pull it out at the end, but they're going to be at their home site, a hostile place to play,”; Nash said. “;The fan base is not there, but they're going to play hard in front of whoever's there. Certainly a tough game to win, but we know we can beat this team. Now we just gotta go and prove it again.”;

Tech suspended center Kenneth Cooper, its leading rebounder, for the rest of the season for violations of team rules three games ago. Against Hawaii, Cooper had a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds.