Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, November 19, 1999

P A C _ W E S T _ B A S K E T B A L L

Law hopes
he’s just what the
Vulcans ordered

The former UH assistant begins
his first full season as UH-Hilo's
basketball coach


By Scott Culbertson
Special to the Star-Bulletin


The sword is drawn and his team is ready to do battle, but "it's a double edged sword," Hawaii-Hilo basketball coach Jeff Law says.

In the good news-bad news scenario, Law was named the Vulcans' head coach following a season spent as the interim leader, which means he now has players that he recruited and a bit more security. But he also feels more pressure to produce a winning team. No room to blame the other guy. But placing blame is not Law's style. Aggressively confronting problems and solving them is.

The season-opening Big Island Invitational Tournament (Nov. 26-29) gives his Vulcans a chance to mix it up early with the big boys. Top-ranked Cincinnati leads an impressive lineup of Division I teams, including perennial SEC power Arkansas, Iowa State from the Big 12, Cleveland State, Mercer, Rhode Island and Santa Clara into Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

'We'll have new uniforms,
new players and a
new attitude.'

Jeff Law


Law knows the spotlight will be on this tournament for two reasons. First, this year's field makes the Big Island Invitational the best gathering of teams in the islands, bettering the usual leaders, the Rainbow Classic and Maui Invitational. Secondly, thanks to athletic director Bill Trumbo and local sports marketing and media consultant Chris Dey, the Vulcans and their tournament will be seen across the mainland by basketball junkies on cable's Fox Sports Net and locally on Oceanic 16.

The opening round and the semifinals will be picked up on a regional basis, including the Midwest and Southwest regions. The championship game will be carried live and available to be picked up by all regions Fox Sports Net figures the contest will be beamed into approximately 40 million homes from New England to the Pacific Northwest. Executive producer Dey says adding up the live games and the rebroadcasts should equal 60 to 65-million viewers.

The mainland will get to see the Vulcans and Law will get to see if his charges are ready to play in the opening-round matchup against Iowa State. The Cyclones boast the Big 12 scoring leader and All-America candidate, Marcus Fizer.

Law believes the national exposure could be worth "a couple of recruits" for the program down the road. He also knows that playing tough competition early in the season could be worth a couple of wins later this year. That will depend on how well Law blends his recruits with his returning players.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Chaminade's Stanley Martin, right, battles for the ball against
Hawaii Pacific's Robert Parker in the opening round of last
season's Pac West Conference basketball tournament.

"We'll have new uniforms, new players and a new attitude," Law said. The Vulcans will sport a different look this season with v-neck uniforms, players names on the backs and a more business-like navy blue replacing the traditional royal blue. Law knows fashion points don't count on the scoreboard, so he's more concerned with who is going into those uniforms.

Sophomore Scott Prather (9.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and junior Stanley Ibia (13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) are the returning starters and make up a tough and athletic backcourt. Sophomore Kapena Lum (5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) battled last year as an undersized forward at 6-foot-5. Forward Drazen Padovan (7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg), from Croatia, is the lone senior.

Unveiling his first recruiting class -- eight players total -- Law says this team will not be huge nor feature great shooting, but it will be athletic and it will run. Hilo fans will be excited to hear that Law has landed four players that "can play above the rim."

Following the example set by Riley Wallace at UH-Manoa, Law has gone the junior college route, bringing five players to Hilo, including 6-foot-7 forwards Rashad Williams and B.J. Rogers. Williams is a versatile double-double type player who averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game at Chaffey (Calif.) College. Rogers contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds per game for his L.A. Trade-Technical College team last year and should be a presence in the paint.

The most versatile incoming player is 6-foot-4 guard Alan Thomas. He was MVP on his Los Angeles Valley College team last year. Before that he earned "Best Sixth Man in Brooklyn" honors his senior year on a team that won the New York City championship in Madison Square Garden.

Give Law credit for thinking globally and acting locally. His three freshmen recruits all prepped in the islands. Kalaheo's Ryan Hogue, a 6-foot-7 forward, will grow into his frame and help in the future. Guard Brandon Kauhi shared Big Island Player of the Year honors with teammate Kyle Bartholomew last season. The 6-foot-4 Bartholomew has a tremendous work ethic and will "definitely get some minutes" at small forward this year, Law said.


Bullet Head coach: Ken Wagner (179-94, 10th year)

Bullet 1998-99: 14-14 (7-7 Pacific West Conference)

Bullet Returning starters: Sr. G Nathan Fripp (2.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Sr. G/F David Evans (23.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Sr. G Thomas Joyce (12.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg).

Bullet Key losses: Pa'ulasi Matavao (14.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Earl Smith (10.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg).

Bullet Key newcomers: 6-foot Fr. G Dean Daley, 6-7 Fr. F Walter Gates, 6-5 Jr. F Jason Stilson, 6-8 Jr. F Isaac Turley.

Bullet Coaches preseason poll: Tie 4th

Bullet Seasiders: Any team with 1998-99 PacWest Conference first-team and newcomer of the year David Evans will be dangerous. The 6-foot-6 swingman can fill up the basket with the best of them ... Wagner will have to replace Pa'ulasi Matavao and Earl Smith's big body ... Redshirt freshmen Daley and Gates should contribute.


Bullet Head coach: Al Walker (33-47, 4th year)
Bullet 1998-99: 13-14 (7-7 Pac West)
Bullet Returning starters: Sr. F Stanley Martin (16.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg), Sr. G Timi Berkovitch (12.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg), Sr. G Marcus Murphy (17.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Sr. G Kenzie Weir (9.3 ppg, 3.9).
Bullet Key losses: Derrick Tracy (9.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Bullet Key newcomers: 6-6 Sr. F Deionata Hagwood, 6-7 Jr. F/G David Toya, 6-3 Jr. G/F Drew Robinson.
Bullet Coaches preseason poll: 7th
Bullet Silverswords: Walker returns four starters and could have the most talented starting five in the islands. He'll need more depth to contend and his team will have to learn to win on the road. The Silverswords were 10-1 at home and a dismal 1-9 on the road ... Received one first place vote in preseason coaches poll ... Martin and Murphy make up a potent scoring combo accounting for almost half of teams scoring last year ... John Krafels is back healthy again in the middle after suffering a severely sprained ankle last season ... Newcomer Robinson led his junior college team to a Division II title as a freshman ... Wilbert Krol of the Netherlands is the only 7-footer playing in Division II basketball in the island this season.


Bullet Head coach: Tony Sellitto (254-97, 12th year)

Bullet 1998-99: 22-8 (13-1 Pac West)

Bullet Returning starters: Sr. F Scott Kato (7.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg)

Bullet Key losses: Robert Parker (18.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Willie Flowers (14.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg) Shannon Lee (13.7 ppg, 91 steals)

Bullet Key newcomers: 6-10 Sr. C Ryan Adle, 6-3 Jr. G Alvin Stephenson, Jr., 6-5 Jr. F Gary Heyer, 6-foot Jr. G Michael Paul.

Bullet Coaches preseason poll: 3rd

Bullet Sea Warriors: If it's offensive firepower you want, look to HPU. Sellitto has reloaded and the Sea Warriors will put up some numbers. Only one starter returns and the void left by the departure of PacWest All-Conference first team players Parker, Flowers and Lee -- and their combined 47 points per game -- will be great, but should be filled nicely by the tenacious Kato and friends. He can jump out of the gym and will be able to thanks to big Ryan Adle taking off some heat in the middle. 6-foot-5 Josh Newburn can light it up from outside ... Guards Jemar Miller and DeWayn Allen give the Sea Warriors a solid backcourt that can score ... Sellitto is the winningest coach in Hawaii state history with a .724 winning percentage ... Sea Warriors could be called Road Warriors losing only twice on the road last season ... Miller's chief ambition is to appear on ESPN as both a player and a broadcaster (presumably not at the same time).


Bullet Head coach: Jeff Law (7-19, 2nd year)

Bullet 1998-99: 7-19 (3-11 Pac West)

Bullet Returning starters: So. G Scott Prather (9.6 ppg, 3.4 apg), So. F Kapena Lum (5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Jr. G Stanley Ibia (13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg).

Bullet Key losses: Marriel Jenkins (17.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Maceo Thomas (15.7 ppg, 4.85 rpg).

Bullet Key newcomers: 6-5 Jr. F Ben Addink, 5-11 Jr. G Jason Shumate, 6-7 Jr. F B.J. Rogers, 6-4 Jr. G Alan Thomas, 6-7 Jr. F Rashad Williams.

Bullet Coaches preseason poll: 12th

Bullet Vulcans: Law can finally see his vision of a team coming together. He went out and recruited five JUCO players to bring instant ability to Hilo. Rogers and Williams will help Lum down low ... Depth at guard with Ibia, Prather, Shumate and Thomas battling for playing time ... Freshman Kyle Bartholomew is the son of legendary Jay "the Bird" Bartholomew, Hilo's two-time NAIA All-America of the late '70s ... Food news for next year, Drazen Padovan is the only senior.

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