Wednesday, April 7, 1999
A backup for White andBy Pat Bigold
shooters are the priorities
for the basketball team
Today is the first day that basketball players may sign national letters of intent. But Hawaii is not expected to sign anyone this early.
All of Hawaii's prospects are junior college players again this year.
The Rainbows, coming off their worst season in 12 years, are looking to fill their five available scholarships with another point guard to spell Johnny White and some shooters to bolster their offense.
Although the MVP shooting guard of California's Orange Empire Conference, Vernon Jackson, has committed to the Rainbows, it's unlikely he will be signed right away.
Coach Riley Wallace and his staff have not finished hosting campus visits, and they hold out hope for commitments from players who rank ahead of Jackson.
Wallace still wants to land 6-foot-5 Weatherford College (Texas) guard/forward Nerijus Puida. The Lithuanian native averaged 18.8 points a game and was the player of the year in his junior college conference.
Puida is due to visit the Manoa campus this weekend along with girlfriend, Dainora Umbrasaite, a 6-4 forward who is being recruited by Wahine coach Vince Goo.
Also coveted by Hawaii are two all-state guards from California's Fresno City College, who visited Manoa last weekend.
Both are highly touted, but the more valuable might be 6-0 Mike Garrett, who can play both guard spots. Garrett is due to visit Purdue and San Jose State in the coming week. He averaged about 17 points a game and five assists.
Terrell Lyday, a 6-2, 195-pound shooting guard for Fresno City, will visit Brigham Young and St. Mary's. He averaged 17 points and shot 44 percent from 3-point range.
"There are also some schools from the Big East and the ACC sniffing a bit at them," said Fresno City coach Denny Aye.
Rainbows addBy Pat Bigold
Scott Rigot, who was an assistant at Alabama-Birmingham the past three seasons, has been named to fill the Hawaii men's basketball coaching staff position vacated by Jamie Dixon.
Rigot was a recruiter for Murry Bartow at UAB and is expected to fill that same role under Rainbows coach Riley Wallace.
Rigot previously was head basketball coach at Spartanburg Methodist College (South Carolina) and led that team to the finals of the 1994 junior college national championship tournament.