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StarBulletin.com

Blueprint for success


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POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009

He admits to a few obsessions.

Old buildings with character, the Chrysler and Empire State buildings to name two.

Big band music, the kind played by Glenn Miller and Count Basie. (Yes, there is a vinyl record collection).

And, of course, volleyball.

The renaissance man known as Jarrod Lofy — the one who shows up to class in three-piece suits — is still growing into the sport that brought him to Hawaii. Much as it took time to grow into his 6-foot-9 frame, the freshman middle blocker is growing into his role with the Warriors.

“;We brought him in because of his size and wanted to see if something would happen,”; Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said. “;He hasn't spent a lot of time in the game and he's getting better every day.

“;What I really like about him is you always know what you're going to get. You never have to wonder how he's going to be on a certain day. He goes hard every day and that's a nice trait to have.”;

The appeal of volleyball was that it was a team game, not like the individualized one that basketball had become at Wilson High in Long Beach, Calif.

“;That one person can take over the whole game is not my thing,”; he said. “;Basketball just wasn't fun any more when everyone focused on themselves, wanted to be the star player.

“;In volleyball, you need the whole team to be successful. And 90 percent of volleyball is mental. You can be athletic and big, but if you're not smart enough, (don't) understand what's going on, you won't succeed.”;

To that end, Lofy said he didn't question when he didn't play in last Saturday's match at UC San Diego. It came a night after he had started against the Tritons.

“;My blocking was horrible and that's an understatement,”; Lofy said. “;I didn't perform well, so why keep me in? I can't blame (Wilton). It's understandable.”;

In UH, Lofy found his dream match with quality in both architecture and volleyball. But the demands of the degree program forced him to choose.

“;It was like asking me to tear out my bleeding heart and quit volleyball, or change my major for a while,”; he said. “;I'm in civil engineering now and I'll go back to architecture when I'm done with volleyball.”;

Lofy's long-term goal is to play professionally in Europe while becoming immersed in the architecture of its old cities.

“;When people see Paris, they see how it is now,”; he said. “;We've studied how it has developed, how it came to be.

“;I want to study what makes it socially acceptable, what defines beauty, what drives a person to build something the way they do.”;

His teammates question what drives Lofy, particularly when it comes to hairstyle and facial hair. One day, he looks like Abe Lincoln; another day, he looks like someone out of GQ magazine.

“;He is an interesting character,”; UH junior Steven Grgas said. “;And I think he's got a lot of talent. He's still young and some of his game will come with time. It's a process and he's on the right track.”;

Lofy hopes his team is, too.

“;It's aggravating because we have a good team — it's just not reflected in our record,”; he said. “;I can't put my finger on it. There's not just one thing.

“;We need to focus, build that bottom layer and then go on from there. As soon as we have the main stuff taken care of, the details will take care of themselves. I'm hoping we can keep building that foundation.”;