Tuesday, July 27, 1999
Key Bow hoops
recruit changes mind
Roy DelaCruz, a JC transferBy Pat Bigold
expected to be a key addition at
point guard for Hawaii, might
not come after all
A highly regarded point guard from New York who signed a binding national letter of intent with Hawaii has changed his mind about coming.
Although UH head coach Riley Wallace is not able to release Roy DelaCruz from the letter, he said he is working to recruit a replacement.
DelaCruz is one of the seven key players Wallace signed for the 1999-2000 season. Van Coleman's FutureStars magazine has called this the Rainbows' most promising recruiting class of the decade and 54th best in the nation.
Wallace, who is still on the mainland for summer recruiting, said the only way that DelaCruz could be released from his letter would be if he fails to satisfy Hawaii's academic requirements for admission. He has not yet earned his associate degree and is supposed to be working on that in New York this summer.
"He's supposed to be in Manhattan College," said Wallace, who has not had reports on how well DelaCruz is doing in the classroom. "He's not wanting to fulfill his scholarship. He wants to stay out east. But if he makes his grades, he has to go to Hawaii."
The player had transferred from San Jacinto Junior College (Pasadena, Tex.) to Paris Junior College (Paris, Tex.) last year but still did not complete work on his associate degree.
DelaCruz's advisor and former John F. Kennedy High School coach in the Bronx, Johnny Mathis, refused to talk about the player when contacted by the Star-Bulletin.
"I'm not saying anything about Roy DelaCruz," said Mathis. "It's very touchy and I'm only talking to Hawaii (coaches)."
Wallace, who said DelaCruz changed his mind shortly after signing his letter, indicated he will make one more attempt to convince DelaCruz to come to Hawaii.
But Hawaii is apparently already looking at a talented high school point guard, as well as holding out some hope that another highly touted junior college guard might become available.
The prep player is considered a sleeper prospect.
Hawaii has an extra scholarship available now that 6-3 forward Gary Gillman has been released. Wallace said that Gillman, whose scholarship had been renewed for next season, wanted more playing time. He said Gillman, who played sparingly in 16 games last year, has a few other options.
DelaCruz, rated a "high major" prospect, officially faxed his letter to the university in the late afternoon on May 15. He had kept coaches on pins and needles throughout that day, which was the last day binding letters could be signed.
Mathis, who does all of the talking for DelaCruz, claimed the former San Jacinto JC star had narrowed his choices to Hawaii and TCU a few days before he signed. But he said that DelaCruz remained undecided right into the last day.
Hawaii will return Johnny White, who started at point guard in all 26 games last season. He averaged 8.7 points and five assists.
Wallace said DelaCruz would have been most valuable as a playmaker and penetrator.
DelaCruz had also been pursued by USC, Oregon, Rutgers, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi State, Texas-El Paso and most recently Iona.
RIM RIPSNerijus Puida, a 6-5 guard-forward recruited from Weatherford College (Tex.), married Wahine recruit Dainora Umbrasaite, a 6-4 forward at the same Texas college, on July 10.
Puida was player of the year in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference and Umbrasaite earned all-conference honors. The couple is from Lithuania.
It is the second marriage between Hawaii basketball players this year. Forward Erin Galloway, who finished his eligibility with the men's team last season, married Wahine star Kylie Page. Page recently gave birth to a boy and will resume play for head coach Vince Goo next season.
Galloway is now under contract to the Harlem Globetrotters.
Three current Rainbows are playing in the NCAA Summer League on Friday nights at Kaimuki High School: 6-5 guard-forward Predrag Savovic, 6-3 guard Mike McIntyre and 6-2 guard Geremy Robinson.
Ka Leo O Hawaii