Injured Rainbows face inexperienced Vulcans


POSTED: Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coaches of both teams meeting at the Stan Sheriff Center tomorrow night expect to weather a storm.

For Bob Nash and host Hawaii, it's the wave of injuries that crashed upon the Rainbow Warriors like a tsunami in the preseason. For Jeff Law and visiting Hawaii-Hilo, it's a swirling maelstrom of new parts that could join together — or fall apart in destructive fashion.

The Rainbow Warriors and Vulcans meet at 7:05 p.m. in an exhibition rematch of last year's 72-70 nail-biter, which Division II UHH nearly pulled out on a last-second 3-pointer.

The storm rages on for the Rainbows. UH had another preseason setback when senior forward Brandon Adams tweaked his left ankle near the start of yesterday's practice. He had it wrapped and used crutches to leave the arena after the 2-hour period.

UH's only completely healthy players were guards Hiram Thompson and Rykin Enos, and forwards Bill Amis, Paul Campbell, Petras Balocka, Ji Xiang and Beau Albrechtson. (Duquesne transfer Aleksandar Milovic is OK, but can't suit up in games this season per NCAA rules). Leroy Lutu Jr. played through some knee pain and forward Adhar Mayen returned to action after missing about a week with a head injury.

Amis took a look around the Sheriff floor and offered up a two-word assessment.

“;We're slim,”; he said.

Nash, to his credit, was optimistic in the face of various ailments that could leave star forward Roderick Flemings, guards Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay, center Douglas Kurtz and Adams on the sideline come tip-off.

“;I think the great thing about it is, we're going to get all these guys back at some point in time, and we're gonna be healthy and a much better team at that point in time,”; Nash said. “;It's just the way it goes. I don't think we're snake-bit, I think things just happen. And when they do happen, you hopefully got enough personnel you can rebound from it and move forward.”;

Law likes his team's new chemistry, despite not having a player taller than 6-foot-7, and will use the exhibition to hammer out some cohesion.

The Vulcans — whose only key returning player is preseason all-PacWest guard Bryan Ngo (9.6 points per game) — arrive tomorrow morning and will get in a shootaround before the game.

“;Our guys are kinda gonna be, 'Well, what do we do now?' “; Law said. “;Whether it's trying to box somebody out, trying to make a pass or even coming out of our locker room. We haven't even gone over our layup line or what we're gonna do when we come out to warm up. So there's going to be a lot of firsts for the guys.”;

Exhibitions on radio

UH announced yesterday that both preseason contests against Hawaii-Hilo and the Brigham Young-Hawaii Seasiders (Nov. 5) will be broadcast live on KKEA 1420-AM.