Nash asks for better D


POSTED: Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bob Nash and the Hawaii men's basketball team haven't felt comfortable for a while.

The third-year coach would prefer to transfer some of that discomfort to UH's opponents, starting tomorrow against Lamar when the Rainbow Warriors (2-4) try to end a four-game losing streak at 5:05 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“;Don't let them get comfortable!”; Nash bellowed several dozen times over the course of yesterday's 2-hour practice, during which the Rainbows tried to tighten up their porous man-to-man defense.

While Nash hasn't yet stepped in to personally demonstrate how to run things in the halfcourt (as he occasionally has in the last two years) he was highly animated as he hopped all over the court barking instructions.

The goal is to fix the lapses now as UH opens a nine-game homestand that carries into the start of Western Athletic Conference play.

“;You gotta be a smart defensive player, and that's what we're not doing—being smart,”; Nash said. “;You can have pressure where you can't just let the guy stand and make an easy pass with your hands down at your sides. You can still put your hands up. ... We just gotta be a little more animated about what you're doing and gotta rely on your teammates to help if you get beat on penetration. I think sometimes we get beat on penetration and (think) 'Oh, well that's his man.' No, it's the basket we're protecting, not the man. And so we're trying to change the mentality of what these guys are thinking. If they score a basket, they score a basket against Hawaii, not against a particular player.”;

UC Irvine exploited the D of visiting UH on Wednesday in jumping out 17-2 and holding off a Rainbows rally in the second half. The Big West Conference Anteaters—not known as an offensive juggernaut—shot 59 percent from the field in an 80-70 win.

UH has been consistently leaky; during the four-game skid, the 'Bows' opponents have scored 81, 83, 83, and 80 points.

Lamar (3-5) of the Southland Conference arrived yesterday in Honolulu after a road loss to Denver. The Cardinals of Beaumont, Texas, could be just what the Rainbows need; they've dropped five of six, with all the losses on the road.


Williams iffy for Lamar

Junior guard Dwain Williams wasn't at practice yesterday, a sign of uncertainty for his return after serving a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules. He was, however, with the team during a practice soon after the 'Bows returned from Irvine, Calif., on Thursday night.

“;Today, he must have had some issues, academic stuff he had to take care of,”; Nash said. “;He wasn't here today, so we'll talk later on and find out what the situation is with him. If everything is good to go, we'll move forward. If not, then we'll be ready when we think he's taken care of the academics.”;


Deadline set for Amis

Nash said yesterday that if senior forward Bill Amis isn't fully recovered from a right foot injury by the Diamond Head Classic tournament (starting Dec. 22 vs. College of Charleston), the team will shut him down for the year with a redshirt.

Amis, who has a torn plantar fascia, has walked around without crutches and shot some baskets during team practices over the last two weeks.


World Cup fever?

Junior college transfer center Douglas Kurtz is the rare Brazilian who places basketball higher than soccer. He was focused on his imminent debut with the Rainbows tomorrow (after serving a six-game NCAA suspension for playing alongside pros) over Brazil's draw in the 2010 World Cup yesterday morning.

“;When I go back home, I go with my brother to watch some games, but I'm not that (big a fan) where I follow it all the time,”; said Kurtz, of Pelotas, Brazil.

Of course, he'll watch the team next year.

“;Oh yeah. I mean, that's where I'm from. It's not required (to follow), but everybody does.”;