Wednesday, June 30, 1999
Kimura to play
The former Cornhusker had beenBy Al Chase
a starter at third base
for two seasons
Danny Kimura, the starting third baseman for the Nebraska Cornhuskers for most of the past two seasons, has decided to transfer to Hawaii and play for the Rainbows next season.
It's a move the 5-foot-9, 200 pounder started thinking about at midseason.
"I thought about it quite a bit. I thought about playing at home in front of family and friends, that kind of deal. There is no place like home," Kimura said.
The Iolani graduate and 1997 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year had a sensational freshman season. He led Nebraska in five offensive categories and was second in four others. He finished with a .340 batting average, hit eight homers and had 41 RBIs. The effort landed Kimura on the Louisville Slugger Honorable Mention All-American team.
Call it the "Sophomore Jinx," but the 1999 season became one of frustration as his offensive output took a nose dive and by season's end he was being platooned.
"Once I got into the slump, I couldn't get out of it," Kimura said. "It became a mental problem and I wondered if it was worth being there, paying all that money (he had a partial scholarship) and not playing as well as I should be."
His average dipped to .259. He hit four homers and drove in 45 runs, fifth best for the Big 12 Conference champion Cornhuskers.
"He's a good kid, didn't have any academic problems, but I was up front with him. If he came back he was going to platoon," said Nebraska head coach Dave Van Horn. "We signed a shortstop and last year's shortstop is coming back and will move to third. I felt Danny wanted to play every day."
"Given I had a bad year, I think if I play up to my capabilities, I can be an every day player," Kimura said.
Kimura has his release. He has talked with the UH coaches and will walk on this fall and have two years of eligibility remaining.
He also will play the Hawaii Island Movers when the team returns from Japan next month.