Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, October 12, 1999

R A I N B O W _ B A S K E T B A L L

No regional TV
for Rainbow Classic

That might also mean the
Hawaii athletic department will receive
less money from the holiday college
basketball tournament's
sponsor as well


By Pat Bigold


There appears to be no chance at this time of a regional TV coverage for the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

John Fink, president and general manager of KHNL, which has the telecast rights to the 35-year-old classic, said it's not going to be possible to put together a regional package of independent TV outlets in the western states.

Fink had hoped to do that after ESPN, Fox Net and the Fox regional sports networks all declined to take on the tournament, scheduled for Dec. 27-30 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"It's really too late to set up," Fink said yesterday.

Outrigger marketing director Bryan Klum said the hotel chain will not pull its title sponsorship but will have to reassess its financial involvement.

Fink said that there is always the chance of a single mainland station wanting to pick up a game.

"A good example is that we had a station back in Houston that picked up the Rice football game, and we had a station in El Paso the week before that picked up the UTEP game," said Fink.

Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida said that he can't see any other options for mainland exposure at this point.

"Unless Riley (Wallace) makes such a great appearance in Baywatch that it brings us some wins and people become interested again," said Yoshida with a laugh.

He was referring to Baywatch Hawaii executive producer Greg Bonann's plan to use Wallace in an episode of the syndicated TV series that is shot in Hawaii.

ESPN carried the Rainbow Classic between 1995 and 1998.

The Outrigger title sponsorship has been worth $100,000 with national exposure. That is likely to be substantially reduced with strictly local coverage.

Klum and Hawaii athletic officials will meet within the next seven days.

"I think we have to talk about the dollar amount," said Klum. "We have to take into account the fact there is no national TV coverage."

Klum said he is hopeful the Rainbow Classic can attract a national TV deal next year. He believes Hawaii was caught "flat-footed" by the Western Athletic Conference's decision to sign a TV deal with Fox.

"That started the domino effect that led to this stage," he said, referring to ESPN's pullout. "They (university athletic officials) had little time to work around that. But now they have 12 months to come up with a solution."



‘Cheerleaders’ might
have to keep low profile

During last weekend's player draft for Friday's 12th Midnight Ohana game, the honorary coaches did as much bickering about cheerleaders as they did about available athletes.

"Cheerleaders win games," said Baywatch Hawaii co-executive producer Maurice Hurley, participating in the media event held inside the Hawaii basketball offices.

"And these are Baywatch cheerleaders."

The cheerleaders he was talking about are actually regular cast members, popularly known as "Baywatch Babes."

Hurley drafted Brooke Burns and Brandy Ledford to boost his yellow team's morale, while executive producer Greg Bonann took Stacy Kamano and Simone Mackinnon for his red team.

Bonann insisted that his cheerleaders are "so gorgeous" that he may have to sit them down so people can concentrate on the game.

"Because when they stand up, it could be all over," said Bonann.

Actor Michael Bergin will work with Bonnan and Rainbows assistant coach Scott Rigot, while actor Jason Brooks will work with Hurley and Rainbows assistant Jackson Wheeler. Hurley said he'd like to have local actor Jason Momoa on his staff, too.

Change of colors

The yellow vs. red game will tip off at one minute past midnight at the Stan Sheriff Center. The colors, which replace the traditional green and white for the game, represent Baywatch Hawaii's lifeguard colors.

The official theme for the night will be "BowWatch," a name coined by associate head coach Bob Nash.

The festivities will start at 8 p.m. with a concert and mini-carnival.

The concert will feature recording artists Imua, Pure Heart, Makaha Sons and Robi Kahakalau.

The carnival will line the arena concourse with 20 vendors.

As usual, there will be slam-dunking and 3-point shooting contests among the players prior to the intrasquad game.

The yellow team, which will have the size advantage, is composed of 6-8 Marquette Alexander (C), 7-0 Todd Fields (C), 6-9 Troy Ostler (F), 6-4 Nerijus Puida (G), 6-4 Carl English (PG), 6-3 Geremy Robinson (G), 6-7 Phil Martin (F), 5-11 Rahula Mall (G) and 6-5 Evan Blackwell (F).

The red team features 6-5 Predrag Savovic (G), 6-7 Bernard McIntosh (F), 6-1 Johnny White (PG), 6-2 Mike McIntyre (G), 6-7 Lane O'Connor (F), 6-2 Tre' Stovall (G), 6-3 Oa McGee (G), 5-11 Ryne Holliday (G), and 5-4 Lance Takaki (G).

Team captains Alexander and White are the only returning starters. Robinson and McIntyre are the only other returnees.

Fifth or worse

Five national magazines have projected Hawaii to finish no higher than fifth and as low as seventh in the eight-team Western Athletic Conference.

Athlon and Dick Vitale's College Basketball are the magazines with the more generous projections.

Basketball News and Street&Smith's pick Hawaii seventh and Lindy's College Basketball calls it a sixth-place finish for the Rainbows.

The team most often mentioned to win the WAC is Fresno State, which returns one of the nation's best guards (Courtney Alexander) and hosts the conference tournament.

Athlon, Dick Vitale's and Lindy's all say the Bulldogs will win the WAC.

The team most mentioned as Fresno State's top rival is Tulsa.

Basketball News, Dick Vitale's and Lindy's all pick the Golden Hurricane to finish second. Street&Smith's picks them first.

No Chinese team

The Chinese National Team will not be Hawaii's first opponent of the season on Nov. 7, Hawaii coach Riley Wallace confirmed yesterday.

Wallace said that too many complications had arisen with the Chinese sports federation, so the arrangement has been cancelled.

He is now seeking another opponent to fill the date.

Tickets 'encouraging'

Wallace said that season ticket sales were at 79 percent of last year, as of last week. He said that after a 6-20 season, that rate of return is encouraging.

By Pat Bigold, Star-Bulletin
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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