Kurtz will miss 2 weeks


POSTED: Saturday, October 17, 2009

Most of the Hawaii men's basketball team left it all on the floor yesterday in the Rainbow Warriors' first practice of the season. But it was a sobering introduction to 2009-10 for one of the team's newcomers.

Junior college transfer center Douglas Kurtz said he'll miss at least two weeks—most of the Rainbows' practice time leading up to their first exhibition on Oct. 30—with a bone bruise in his knee. At that point, he'll get it checked out by a doctor. In the meantime, he can run straight and shoot jumpers.

“;It's just the worst feeling for a player just to watch practice,”; said Kurtz, a 7-footer from Pelotas, Brazil, via Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College. “;But I feel good for the team. I think we had a good practice.”;

It was a solid introduction to team sessions for newcomer guards Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay, who displayed smooth shooting strokes and mobility during myriad fast-break drills and basic sets in the team's flex offense. Some were new to everybody.

“;I think we had a good preseason, and that's what helped us the most in getting ready for this,”; senior forward Bill Amis said. “;We worked hard together for eight weeks and we were ready to get together again today and work hard again.

“;(The new guards) did really well. Dwain had a good first practice and Jeremy (too). It's going to be a learning process and with the new stuff we're all learning together.”;

Coach Bob Nash wants his team to react naturally in the halfcourt instead of being reliant on him to call plays from the sideline. He calls it the “;KISS”; strategy—Keep It Simple, Stupid.

“;Day 1 went well. They grasped the initial offense and how we want to play defense,”; Nash said. “;It's more reading and reacting to what you see. We want the players to be able to find their way home, find their way to the basket, to the open man.”;

The competitive fast-break drills, in teams of two and three, were among the most exciting portions of practice. Senior swingman Roderick Flemings, who was limited at times last year with a gimpy ankle, didn't hold back from throwing down several vicious dunks on the move.

“;They want to run,”; Nash said. “;They know they have to get in shape. We want to run hard during practice so we don't have to run at the end of practice. We want them to understand that every time we get a chance to transition, we're gonna go.”;



Ilic, Liepkalne, Wilson miss practice

The Hawaii women's basketball team was down a few players in a vigorous first practice yesterday.

Center Sarah Ilic, who missed most of last season with a leg injury, is ineligible to play or practice during the fall semester, coach Dana Takahara-Dias said.

Forwards Dita Liepkalne and Katie Wilson also sat out the running portions of practice (which was most) with injuries, but the coach expects both back by the team's season opener next month.

“;It was a wonderful first day,”; Takahara-Dias said. “;We have lots of work to do, but we are pleasantly pleased with the energy and the focus.”;

Freshman guard Shawna Kuehu is wearing No. 20 this season to honor her mentor, former Rainbow Wahine great Nani Cockett.

Star-Bulletin staff