Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, November 10, 1999

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

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Riley Wallace rehearses a scene with "Baywatch" actors
Sabir Muhammad, center and Jason Brooks.

Screen & Roll 'em

"Baywatch Hawaii" puts men's basketball coach
Riley Wallace in the spotlight for an episode that
will give the University of Hawaii
worldwide exposure

Canadian prepster to sign with UH

By Pat Bigold


IT'S exposure the Rainbows' athletic program could never afford to buy.

"Baywatch Hawaii," which is broadcast worldwide, will feature men's basketball coach Riley Wallace, his staff and players in scenes from an episode filmed yesterday at the Duke Kahanamoku Pool and the Stan Sheriff Center.

In the scenes, Wallace played himself and received a lofty characterization in the script.

Actor Jason Brooks, who plays Sean Monroe, chief of lifeguards on the show, tells a fellow actor in a scene that Wallace is much like UCLA legend John Wooden in his coaching philosophy.

"He is a natural and you could tell he was having fun and the kids and coaches like him," said executive producer Greg Bonnan.

"I think he was a little nervous at first, but once he realized it was just a matter of being himself, he was great."

Jason Brooks agreed with Bonnan during a break in shooting at the pool.

"It's a shame he doesn't look good in a bikini, otherwise he'd probably take over my spot," said Brooks with a laugh.

Actress Brandy Ledford said Wallace, "looked exactly like a TV coach would look." And she added, "He's a good-looking older man."

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
"Makeup, coach?"

The university's name is visible on clothing worn by actors and on the floor of the Stan Sheriff Center during the filming. And that's a publicity coup for the school.

There have been other occasions when TV or movie scenes were filmed at the athletic complex. But this is the first time an athletic official has been identified in a role clearly associated with the university's proper name.

The episode, which is the 18th of the 22 "Baywatch Hawaii" episodes planned for 1999, will air during the May sweeps next year, Bonnan said.

Having lost national TV exposure for the Rainbow Classic this year, Wallace acknowledged that his staff's recruiting efforts could benefit from his appearance on the vastly popular beach show.

In fact, athletic director Hugh Yoshida believes all of his programs could benefit.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened, so it's great people will find out there is an athletic program at the University of Hawaii," Yoshida said.

Bonnan said "Baywatch" probably would film frequently at the university athletic complex in the future.

Bonnan, who lives in Diamond Head and swims every morning at the Duke Kahanamoku Pool, said he plans to do a future episode featuring Hawaii swim coach Sam Freas.

"I imagine we'll end up doing a lot of things en genre here, like swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming - water-related things," he said.

"I know we'll do springboard and platform diving at different times."

In the episode plot, Wallace discovers one of his scholarship basketball players is also a world class swimmer.

The swimmer, a 6-foot-7 African-American named Jamal, is worried about losing his scholarship if he pursues his real dream of swimming in the Olympics. He confides in Monroe.

Monroe and Jamal, played by real-life world class sprinter Sabir Muhammad, a 24-time Stanford All-American who set three U.S. records, approach Wallace together during basketball practice.

Monroe asks Wallace to leave practice and go with him to the pool to watch Muhammad swim. Wallace agrees and tells associate head coach Bob Nash to take over practice.

"That was very fictional," quipped Rainbows 7-foot center Todd Fields, who noted that nobody could get Wallace to abandon a practice.

At the pool, Wallace times Jamal in a butterfly sprint and reacts with the word, "Unbelievable."

Wallace was originally supposed to say, "amazing."

"He (director) said that as I go along, if I feel more comfortable with 'unbelievable,' then I can use 'unbelievable,' " Wallace said.

Wallace then tells Jamal he will work something out for him so that he can have his shot at the Olympics. He will either redshirt him or arrange for him to transfer his scholarship to the swimming program.

In the background during the basketball scene inside the Stan Sheriff Center were Rainbow players Predrag Savovic, Nerijus Puida, Tre Stovall, Carl English, Troy Ostler, Todd Fields, Oa McGee, Rahula Hall, Bernard McIntosh, Lane O'Connor and Ryne Holliday.

When the episode airs, it will be possible to see them passing the ball around in a halfcourt set, but not possible to clearly identify them, per NCAA rules.

Assistant coaches Jackson Wheeler and Scott Rigot were also in the basketball scene.

"You'll see Rainbows (logo) on the floor as we open the shot on the 'Bows (in the Stan Sheriff Center)," said Bonnan.

Wallace's players clearly got a kick out of watching their coach perform under the pressure he subjects them to every day.

"Yeah, he looked nervous," said McIntosh. "Looked like he wet his clothes a little bit."

"He looked really good with his makeup on," said a chuckling Fields. "All that blush and rouge, and everything."

Canadian prepster
to sign with UH

By Pat Bigold


Lunzaya Niandu, a 6-foot-7 prep forward from Montreal, will fax a signed a letter of intent to the Rainbow men's basketball office today.

This is the first day of the early signing period for NCAA recruits.

Niandu made an oral commitment to Hawaii in the summer. But he chose to hold off signing so that he would have more time to recover from knee surgery .

He is expected to enroll in January and be eligible for the 2000-2001 season.

Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace would not confirm that Niandu will sign.

Last year, the Rainbows secured 6-7 forward Bernard McIntosh out of Northland Pioneer Community College in Arizona during the early signing period.
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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