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'Bows nab last 2 recruits


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POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hawaii basketball fans won't see Zane Johnson and Aleksandar Milovic suited up for the Rainbow Warriors anytime soon.

But coach Bob Nash knows — and expects — the two newest additions to the Rainbows will do everything possible to hone their craft for the 2010-11 season.

Johnson, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the University of Arizona, and Milovic, a 6-7, 200-pound swingman from Duquesne, will sit out the mandatory year for transferring from one Division I school to another.

UH announced the official signing of both yesterday to complete its five-person class for the 2009-10 season.

Johnson and Milovic will practice with the team this coming year and have a full season to grasp the nuances of the flex-motion offense.

Nash spoke highly of the overall skills of the transfers, who were reserves on their respective teams in the Pac-10 and Atlantic 10. But he sounded most impressed with the work ethic of both players.

As a sophomore, Johnson averaged 4.6 points in 19.1 minutes per game and shot 36-for-91 (39.6 percent) on 3-pointers for the Wildcats.

The Phoenix native was named to Sports Illustrated's Hot 100 Seniors (No. 83) coming out of Thunderbird High School. After he sits out, he has two years of eligibility remaining.

“;(Johnson) is a guy who really works at his game, at being the best that he can be,”; Nash said. “;I think that will send a very strong message to some of the younger guys in the program - 'Let's get in the gym and work, so we can all be good.'”;

Johnson signed on at Arizona under legendary coach Lute Olson, but sought a change of scenery after Olson's retirement in October 2008. His recent visit to Hawaii sold him on his new team and the Rainbows' offense, which can allow accurate guards to flourish.

“;I worked out a bit while I was there, met with the coaches, and it was a good experience,”; Johnson said. It's a better opportunity for me.

“;I'm always in the gym, getting extra cardio, getting extra shots up. (Sitting out) won't be that big of a deal because I'll go to class and work out like I normally do.”;

Milovic, of Cetinje, Montenegro, has three years of eligibility left.

Nash compared Milovic's situation to that of former UH great Predrag Savovic. Savovic spent a year at Alabama-Birmingham before transferring to play his final three in Hawaii, where he blossomed.

“;He's another one of those guys who's a gym rat and wants to be in the gym all the time,”; Nash said. That's what we want to try to create — guys who can be the best they can be, and spend the time in the gym doing that.”;

Milovic played a total of 40 minutes in 2008-09 as a reserve for the Dukes — including a season-high 19 minutes against Pitt. He averaged 21.1 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior in high school.

Nash stressed the importance of stockpiling capable players beyond the 2009-10 season, which will see six Rainbows complete their eligibility — including last year's leading scorer, Roderick Flemings.

“;I think it'll lessen the impact of six seniors leaving the program,”; Nash said.

2009-10 UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII SIGNEES

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
PLAYERPOS.HTWT.CLHOMETOWNCOLLEGE
Douglas KurtzC7-0265Jr.Pelotas, BrazilMarshalltown CC
*Zane JohnsonG6-5205Jr.PhoenixArizona
Jeremy LayG6-0185Jr.Okla. CityNo. Okla. Coll.-Enid
*Aleksandar MilovicF6-7220So.Cetinje, MontenegroDuquesne
Dwain WilliamsG6-0175Jr.San DiegoProvidence

*will sit out 2009-10 season per NCAA rules