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Not too hard to notice: Flemings' effort lacking


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POSTED: Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's not fun to criticize amateur athletes, especially after they win. But when a hyped player who said in the offseason he was considering applying early for the NBA Draft scores zero points in a half against a Division II team, well, sorry, have to do it. A guy with pro talent who sets himself apart from his teammates by wearing gold-colored shoes should produce the entire game, every game.

Yes, Rod Flemings rallied to score 18 after the break (when coach Bob Nash moved him to power forward) and lead UH past gutty Chaminade the other night. But it should never have come to that. I'd seen Flemings take plays off before, but never an entire half.

Other Rainbows seemed to sleepwalk, too. The team defense continues to be wanting (will someone please close out on a 3-point shooter?). I thought it was bad last year, but this team patrols the perimeter worse than the guards in Hogan's Heroes.

Positives: Burly center Doug Kurtz is fun to watch — even when he's accumulating a foul a minute (although that is surely not amusing to Nash and the rest of the Rainbows and their fans). And guard Hiram Thompson made the play of the Chaminade game with his hard foul on an attempted dunk late in the game.

But the Rainbows are still struggling to find their identity with the inaugural Diamond Head Classic and the WAC season looming. This team is 4-4 and should have more wins than losses after playing Chicago State tonight. But especially with the injured Bill Amis likely to redshirt, it will be a long season if Flemings doesn't start playing hard from the opening tip and the defense doesn't improve.

» Notre Dame and Brian Kelly should've worked out a deal so Kelly could have coached his undefeated midmajor team in the Sugar Bowl.

SMU and June Jones did two years ago, and look what happened. ... Hey, wait a second.

» Kudos to the Honolulu Marathon for pumping up the elite field this year. It's being called the best field ever, and no one's arguing the point. Predicted weather conditions and the competition level give organizers legitimate hope for a course record.

There's a dynamic that makes the front of the pack more interesting this year. Agent Zane Branson said six runners have a realistic chance to win the men's race — and they come from two camps, so there's no guarantee they'll cruise along at a cooperative, comfortable pace early.

“;If (the first half) goes faster than 65 (minutes), two guys will run well and the rest will have a difficult time,”; Branson said.

My sentimental favorite is six-time Honolulu champion Jimmy Muindi, the brother-in-law of defending champion Patrick Ivuti. Both are among the six contenders.

» Hawaii volleyball: “;See, we told you we're better than a 12th seed.”;

NCAA: “;So what do you want me to do.”; (Smirky shrug, palms upraised.)

» Tiger Woods has nothing to apologize for. Because so many people are still willing to do it for him.

» Several weeks ago Star-Bulletin sportswriter Billy Hull pronounced Toby Gerhart for Heisman, “;and it isn't even close.”; I didn't agree then, but do now (except I'd say Ndamukong Suh is a close second). Colt McCoy did what I thought was impossible: Play himself out of Heisman while completing an unbeaten season in the Big 12 title game.

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Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon.