Williams likely out against New Mexico


POSTED: Thursday, November 26, 2009

There is likely one less thing for which the Hawaii men's basketball team to be thankful.

UH guard Dwain Williams missed a third straight team practice yesterday and the Rainbow Warriors (2-2) are proceeding as though the Providence transfer won't be available in tomorrow's game against unbeaten New Mexico (5-0) at 8 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The 6-foot Williams—the Rainbows' second-leading scorer through four games with a 13.3 average—has been dealing with an illness, the team has maintained. But coach Bob Nash hinted that it might be something more after yesterday's practice.

“;He hasn't been feeling well and he's been dealing with some personal stuff, so we know he's been taking care of that,”; Nash said. “;Obviously we would have liked to have him here (at practice), but if he's not here, then we still have to move forward. So we're just moving forward getting the guys who are ready to play, and if he's not ready to go, then we've just got to move forward.”;

The Rainbows will have Thanksgiving dinner at Nash's house following an afternoon practice today. On whether Williams would be around, Nash said: “;Tomorrow's another day ... we'll see what it brings.”;

Hawaii was already stretched thin without forward Bill Amis (out indefinitely with a foot injury) and center Douglas Kurtz (two more games of ineligibility). And the guard position was never deep with Williams, Hiram Thompson, and Jeremy Lay seeing nearly all the backcourt minutes thus far.

Lay is the likely starter at 2-guard in Williams' stead if he is unavailable, though swingmen Roderick Flemings and Adhar Mayen are both capable of playing the position. If there's been a positive with UH's extensive injuries in the preseason, it's that most players on the team know how to play more than one spot on the floor.

“;Losing a player like Dwain is definitely going to impact us, but we're all capable of stepping up and fulfilling some of the things that he brought to the table,”; said Lay, who's averaged 12 points off the bench. “;That starts with me and Hiram. Being guards, we have to do more defensively, offensively. Anybody can score, but we're going to have to play hard on defense, make sure we don't get into foul trouble. We're gonna be down in that position, but we're ready for it. I embrace challenges like that. I'll be really excited on Friday.”;

Thompson, the team captain and assists leader, hasn't spoken directly to Williams.

“;Not really sure what's going on over there. Coach is just telling us to stay focused and worry about who's here,”; Thompson said. “;He trusts in every one of us who's here, so we just gotta play together and whatever happens, happens.”;

Williams' roommate, Flemings, is confident he'll be back soon.

“;I've seen him around—he all right,”; Flemings said. “;He anxious, he ready. He's just a little sick right now, so whenever he gets better, I'm sure he'll be back all right.”;

Williams had impressive scoring bursts in UH's first three games, but much of that came in isolation 1-on-1s, outside of the team's offensive flow. He had 36 combined points in the Rainbows' two wins against Southern Utah and McNeese State, but is shooting 30 percent on the season (including 7-for-30 on 3-pointers, 23.3 percent).

Nash emphasized team play after ball movement dried up in a loss to Northern Colorado, and the guard from San Diego, Calif., was tentative in the next outing, going scoreless in an 0-for-5 performance against BYU last Friday.