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UH signs 2 recruits


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POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009

Jeremy Lay and Dwain Williams completed their letter-of-intent paperwork and will enter the Hawaii men's basketball program as 6-foot juniors in the fall. UH head coach Bob Nash made the announcement at the Rainbow Warriors' annual awards banquet last night.

Lay, of Oklahoma City, is the all-time leader in points and assists at Northern Oklahoma-Enid College. He posted 16.7 points and 6.5 assists per game as a sophomore and led the Jets to back-to-back NJCAA Region II finals in his two years.

Williams, of San Diego, is making his return to Division I ball after a one-year hiatus. He last played for Providence in 2007-08 and left after his coach, Tim Welsh, was fired. He averaged 11 points and 2.2 assists per game that year, making 17 starts for the Big East Conference Friars.

Both players are excellent marksmen. Lay shot a little less than 40 percent on 3-pointers and Williams made 40.7 of his trey attempts in their last seasons. Nash hopes they can jump-start the team's up-tempo game next season.

“;We want to be able to put pressure on people, be able to speed up the game, get out in transition,”; Nash said. “;You need guards who can push the ball in transition and do those types of things. These two young men, along with the players already in our program, are in a position to do that, so we become a much stronger team at that position.”;

The second-year coach envisions both players on the floor simultaneously as combo guards.

“;They have the ability to handle the ball. They have the ability to shoot the ball,”; Nash said. “;They both understand how to distribute. But if I had to look at one being more of the point guard than the other, then I would say Jeremy is more of a lead guard. But they're pretty equal in their abilities to create shots for themselves and their teammates.”;

Williams is a friend and former AAU teammate of Nash's son, Bobby, and the coach has known him since the eighth grade.

“;He's always been a young guy who played up against competition, and has just gotten better and better,”; Nash said. Meanwhile, he called the acquisition of Lay “;truly a luxury.”;

At the banquet, Nash handed out a bevy of the team's annual awards.

Junior Roderick Flemings averaged 16.6 points in his first year with the Rainbows and earned the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award and the team's Top Scorer award. Flemings was previously named to the All-Western Athletic Conference second-team and National Association of Basketball Coaches regional team.

Sophomore point guard Kareem Nitoto, an all-defensive team WAC pick, earned team awards as top playmaker (3.4 assists per game) and top defensive player (33 steals).

Junior forward Bill Amis, the team's de facto leader this season, picked up the captain's award, the academic award and the top rebounder award (6.5 per game).

Hiram Thompson, a sophomore who split point-guard duties with Nitoto, battled through myriad injuries and received the Ah Chew Goo most inspirational player.