Visit to home court pumps up Rainbows


POSTED: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Despite working in a cooler environment, things heated up yesterday for the Hawaii men's basketball team.

With less than a week before the team's first exhibition against Hawaii-Hilo on Friday, the Rainbow Warriors moved toward game readiness by practicing in the Stan Sheriff Center, their home venue, for the first time this season.

It was probably a good thing they finished in the air-conditioned Sheriff instead of sweltering Klum Gym, where they began the day; when they opened up on the “;H”;-emblazoned court, it was one of the team's most intense sessions yet.

“;It's been a while,”; senior forward Paul Campbell said. “;I think starting off at Klum Gym, people were a little down because of the heat coming in there, but once we started going in here the intensity was good and everybody starting going pretty hard.”;

Defensive pressure was a large focus of the period, though the Rainbows brushed up on their flex offense, too.

Coach Bob Nash exhorted his players to fight through screens instead of switching off, play through contact instead of begging for a foul call and give up their bodies under the basket to take charges.

There was nary a contact whistle to be heard, and if someone complained too vociferously ... that meant more running.

“;It's just a great teaching environment. We can control the elements, so to speak; it's cooler in here,”; Nash said. “;We're not losing as much water and the condition of the floor is great. It's great to be able to get into the place where you're going to play and shoot on the baskets, get the lighting and all that stuff down.”;

For some, being under the Sheriff lights was an entirely new experience. Junior college transfer Jeremy Lay was among them.

“;It's a different feeling,”; Lay said. “;You can picture the atmosphere a little better in here. It was my first time shooting a jumper in here. I like these rims, I like the whole place. You can treat it like a game, because this is where we're going to be playing at.”;

Nash has insisted starting jobs remain up for grabs, though guards Hiram Thompson and Dwain Williams have played as the first team backcourt almost exclusively. Roderick Flemings is a shoo-in at small forward once he gets healthy, and Bill Amis is a lock at power forward.

Petras Balocka has been the most consistent player to fill the 5 spot. Campbell and Brandon Adams have also split time wearing the white jersey in the post.

Adhar Mayen (head) and Douglas Kurtz (knee) remained unable to participate in full speed 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 activities, but Amis and Lay were back in action after missing practices with ailments earlier in the week. Flemings (groin) was back in during halfcourt offensive sets near the end of practice.

Flemings, who still can't run fluidly end to end, wasn't sure if he'd be ready for the contest against the Vulcans. He missed the preseason game against UHH last year to be with his family in Dallas.

“;It's always tough at the beginning of the year with injuries, things like that,”; Flemings said. “;Gotta find a way to make it through it.”;


Coleman visits

Hawaii verbal commit Jordan Coleman took in part of the team's practice in the Sheriff with family. The 6-foot-4 guard from Calabasas (Calif.) High was to go to the UH football team's game against Boise State later in the day.