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Rainbow Warriors getting energy back


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POSTED: Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Hawaii men's basketball team has its appetite back.

Some untimely mental malaise by the Rainbow Warriors in last Friday's 83-65 blowout home loss to BYU ran its course over the weekend. At least, that's what Bob Nash and his players hope with another beefy challenge on the menu.

A head-scratching lack of energy and emotion plagued UH (2-2) against the Cougars, a former conference rival and now a top-shelf team from the Mountain West. UH owns a two-game losing streak heading into Friday's challenge at the Stan Sheriff Center against unbeaten New Mexico (5-0).

“;I think it was a problem for that game, but I don't think it's generally going to be a problem moving forward,”; Nash said yesterday. “;It's learning what buttons you have to push with each player, to get them to understand their roles and the importance of their performances. .... I think we'll be fine; I don't see any long-term damage. I think today's practice was very energized and guys really got after it.”;

The Rainbows are still in the process of working transfer guards Jeremy Lay and Dwain Williams into the offensive fold. The two have combined for 25.3 points per game, but shot only 32.2 percent from the field over the first four contests. Williams looked particularly listless in shooting 0-for-5 against the Cougars. He missed yesterday's practice with an illness.

Lay, however, is fired up for some redemption.

“;(At Northern Oklahoma-Enid College) we would bounce back because we had a lot of competitive guys who hated to lose, and that's the same with this team,”; Lay said. “;None of these guys want to lose; everybody in the locker room was very upset that we lost. I think we're all excited to get out there Friday and show that after a loss we're not just gonna fold the tent. We'll be ready to go the next game.”;

UH struggles most when a player makes the wrong read or cut on a play in the halfcourt, which results in his teammates also being out of position. It's caused point guards Hiram Thompson or Lay to back the ball out and reset the flex motion, which usually leads to a hurried or low-percentage attempt against a reduced shot clock. The 'Bows are shooting a mediocre 41.1 percent for the young season.

Forward Roderick Flemings leads UH with 15.3 points per game, but is hampered by a persistent groin injury and a lack of consistent touches at his favorite spots on the wings and the post.

“;Our offense is real sloppy, 'cause we don't know what positions to be in,”; Flemings said. “;The old guys know what positions to be in, but the new guys haven't gotten it yet. So we all need to figure out what we're gonna do, and get it done, man. We have a lot of good guys and lot of good talent. We have to figure out what we're going to do to show that talent.”;

Lay was quick to blame himself for some of the offensive breakdowns. The junior knows there's plenty of room for growth.

“;Everybody came in with a great mentality to get better today, which we usually have, but after a loss you can get into that mode of not caring,”; said Lay, who's been the most consistent 3-point shooter on the team (9-for-24, 37.5 percent).

“;If we control the tempo, when it breaks down we can get right back into something, and we'll be fine. That starts with us (guards). We haven't been doing a good job of that, but we will.”;

Amis on to next phase

Forward Bill Amis had his cast removed from his injured right foot yesterday, freeing him up for the next stages of rehabilitation on his torn plantar fascia tissue.

The senior is still aiming for a return this season despite an indefinite missed-time prognosis. He has a redshirt year available.

“;Staying positive,”; he said. “;It never really pained me that much, but it was feeling super weak. It still feels weak, but hopefully the rehab will help that out.”;

He plans to do some underwater pool training to regain some strength.