Tuesday, October 17, 2000
While the major emphasis remains on defensive fundamentals three days into practice, the University of Hawaii men's basketball team also is learning the first of several offensive sets.
Despite the occasional misstep, the new Rainbows are doing well with the choreography.
"The good thing is we have enough guys coming back from last year that they can show it to the newcomers. The new guys are picking it up pretty quick," coach Riley Wallace said. "When we start teaching two (sets) at one time and they get their spots mixed, that's when they start getting jammed."
The Rainbows hope to be comfortable with at least a couple variations before their exhibition opener against the California All-Stars two weeks from today.
But Wallace said it's important that the players don't become too programmed.
"You give them the structure and the spacing, and then hopefully they become creative out of it," he said. "Two years ago, that team had some quickness and some talent but they only did what you told them to. They weren't capable or didn't get their own game into the offense."
Fast learnerWallace said freshman forward Bosko Radovic is a quick study.
Radovic, from Montenegro, Yugoslavia, said offensive patterns come easy to him. He said defense will be more of a challenge.
"To me, if you're a smart guy and you listen to the coach, the offense isn't a problem," he said. "But in the U.S., everybody plays tough defense compared to Europe.
"Defense is all in your head," he added. "You need to be strong in the head to play college defense."
Familiar walk-onKimo Keiter-Charles, a walk-on freshman guard from state-champion Hilo High, is the opposite of Radovic.
Despite his 5-foot-10 height, Keiter-Charles' quickness makes him comfortable defensively.
"But (college) offense is a learning experience," the Star-Bulletin 2000 first-team all-state player said. "I feel like I'm picking it up, but it's the first time I'm in such a structured offense."
Point and counter-pointWhile there's still a long way to go before any major decisions, Wallace indicated that junior JC transfer Ricky Terrell has an early jump on the starting point guard job.
"I'm pleasantly surprised with Ricky Terrell," Wallace said. "He makes a mistake here and there, but he hustles real well and he wants to play and he wants to learn."
Freshman David "Jeep" Hilton, the other candidate, is still adjusting to the new level of play.
"David's struggling. We're getting on him, pushing him," Wallace said. "Even though he played well in the city (New York) and the camps, the competition wasn't always that great for him there."
Everybody's healthyAfter three days of practice, trainer Jayson Goo hasn't had much to do yet, other than help the managers. Junior forward Mindaugas Burneika suffered a small cut to a wrist on Saturday, and redshirt freshman Phil Martin cut his lip yesterday. Both missed only a few minutes of practice.
"They've just got sore muscles," Wallace said, describing the overall physical condition of his team.
Droppin' dimesThere are no Western Athletic Conference players among the 50 considered for the Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team. The closest local tie among the nominees is UCLA forward Jason Kapono, a part-Hawaiian whose father is from the Big Island. ... The Rainbows play the Bruins in Westwood on Dec. 9. ... Wallace's next win will be his 200th at Hawaii (against 184 losses). ... Lindy's picks UH to finish sixth in the nine-team WAC, with Southern Methodist, led by guard Jeryl Sasser, as the conference favorite. The magazine picks Arizona to win the national championship. ... Keiter-Charles is among about 10 new walk-ons trying to earn a game jersey. "We're giving them all a chance," Wallace said.
Dave Reardon, Star-Bulletin