Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, February 5, 1999

R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L

UH recruit

Pisa Tinoisamoa gets
270 days in a youth correctional
facility for assault

By Paul Arnett


Top Hawaii recruit Pisa Tinoisamoa was sentenced today to 270 days in a youth correctional facility for his Jan. 13 conviction of two counts of felony assault.

The judge in the San Diego Juvenile Court said today that Tinoisamoa could be out in August with good time served in time to come to Hawaii for fall camp.

The maximum sentence for one of the nation's premier high school athletes was six years, eight months. The district attorney asked for 450 days, but the judge said that was excessive.

Hawaii assistant coach Dennis McKnight spoke on Tinoisamoa's behalf. The judge not only agreed to work with Tinoisamoa to make sure his corps credits are met, but will allow the 18-year-old Vista High student to take the SAT this spring.

UH head coach June Jones received the letter-of-intent from Tinoisamoa yesterday. Although he knows the highly touted San Diego athlete is a risk, he believes Tinoisamoa is worth it.

''I wasn't sure what the ruling was going to be,'' Jones said. ''Now, it's up to Pisa to get his life in order and try to turn this thing around. I feel badly for him because if we hadn't recruited him, none of this would have been in the papers, but that's part of being a football player.

''I believe four years from now that we will have turned this kid's life around and the risk will be worth it. We're trying to help save Pisa's life by giving him a second chance. What he does with that opportunity is up to him.''

He said Wednesday morning that he was guilty of the felony assaults that left the victim hospitalized with a concussion.

Tinoisamoa was rated among the nation's top 100 recruits by The Sporting News. He was originally recruited by Arizona, Texas, Colorado, San Diego State and Fresno State. Those schools backed off, however, after his conviction in January.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was the San Diego Union-Tribune's defensive player of the year in 1998 and offensive player of the year in 1997.

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