Saturday, May 1, 1999
UH signs shooter
out of JC
Lane O'Connor helps the theBy Pat Bigold
'Bows shore up their 3-point
shooting, one of the team's biggest
weaknesses last season
The Rainbows took a big step toward solving their outside shooting woes by landing junior college transfer Lane O'Connor.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Santa Rosa Junior College forward was a 51 percent 3-point shooter during the 1998-99 college basketball season for a team that went 25-9. He made 114 treys.
Hawaii shot only 32 percent as a team from 3-point territory during a 6-20 season. The Rainbows' best returning 3-point shooter is Mike McIntyre, who averaged 36 percent and had 23 treys.
The 20-year-old O'Connor, who shot only 36 percent as a freshman, attributed his dramatic improvement last season to "a lot of hard work and repetition" in the off-season, as well as effective picks from teammates.
He had seven 3-pointers in one game and nailed six each in six other games.
O'Connor said he turned down an offer from USC after visiting the Trojans' campus earlier this week. He visited Hawaii last weekend and watched the men's volleyball team upset UCLA at the Stan Sheriff Center.
He is a native of Vancouver, Wa., where he attended Columbia River High School. O'Connor was a 4.0 grade point average student in high school and has a 3.0 GPA at Santa Rosa.
Asked why he picked Hawaii over USC, O'Connor said, "I just thought it was a better fit for me overall, and I liked the staff."
O'Connor averaged 18 points (with a high of 31) and six-plus rebounds a game.
"He has a nice touch and knows how to get himself open -- on the transition especially," said Santa Rosa JC coach Steve Done. "He's a great passer as well."
O'Connor, who was recruited to play the No. 3 spot for the Rainbows, is the third junior college player coach Riley Wallace has secured this year.
Earlier, he received letters of intent from 6-8 Salt Lake Community College forward Troy Ostler and 6-5 Weatherford College (Texas) guard-forward Nerijus Puida.
O'Connor said he has signed his letter and is leaving it to Done to get it faxed to Wallace.
O'Connor said Hawaii picked up on him only four weeks ago.
Hawaii is also in the running for 7-foot center Todd Fields, who averaged 19 points and nine rebounds for St. Catharine College (Ky.) last season.
Fields has narrowed his choices to Hawaii and Iowa.
Also high on Hawaii's list is Fresno City College all-state guard Mike Garrett, who can play both guard spots. The 6-0 Garrett was also to make visits to Purdue, San Jose State and UNLV. He averaged about 17 points a game and five assists.