With the letter of intent signing period coming to a close next Tuesday, teams at the local NCAA Division II schools are quickly filling available scholarships and roster spots for next year.
Athletes commitBy Brandon Lee
as deadline nears
Special to the Star-Bulletin
Men's BasketballHawaii Pacific has received signed commitments from three players and is close with a fourth for its last available scholarship.
The Sea Warriors penned point guard Nick Walters (6 feet, 165 pounds.) from Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif. Walters -- who led his team in scoring with 18.1 points per game while also dishing out 3.8 assists -- and HPU's leading scorer from last season, Nick Spajic, were teammates at Hartnell during the 1999-2000 season.
"He's a tremendous 3-point shooter," said HPU coach Tony Sellitto of Walters. "But with the people we have already, the fact that he can shoot the three is a plus. We're looking for him to be our best passer, a creator."
Hoping to fill the void left by departed Pacific West Conference all-star forward Kawika Smith, the Sea Warriors also signed post players Jay Bussey (6-5, 215) and Nate Block (6-7, 225). They also should get the signature of an unnamed 6-9 post player any day now. Bussey averaged 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game at Diablo Valley (Calif.) Junior College, while Block tallied 12.9 ppg and 12.5 rpg at Clackamas (Ore.) JC.
The Chaminade basketball team is done recruiting with the signing of a pair of teammates from San Joaquin (Calif.) Community College. Forward Leon Ballard (6-5, 205) and point guard Kashif Reyes (5-10, 180) join the Silverswords after two years during which San Joaquin went 50-12.
Ballard averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, while Reyes had 16 points and 3.5 assists per game.
They join earlier Chaminade signees Mike Donegan, Rashaw McAfee and Jamar Holloway.
With the signature from "a big-time player" expected before next Tuesday and the remainder of his scholarships filled, BYUH basketball coach Ken Wagner said this year's recruiting class is one of the best he has ever had.
Joining Kahuku High's Micah Casey (who has been promised a scholarship at a later date) are two teammates from San Leandro (Calif.) High -- Tyree Gardner (6-0, 170) and Shawn Broadnax (6-3, 185).
Gardner is a guard who led his prep league in scoring with 23 ppg, while Broadnax is an athletic guard/forward with a 45-inch vertical leap.
Rounding out the Seasiders' list are two transferring post players, Pablo Broering (6-11, 225) and Charley Maihe (6-9, 225). Broering is coming to BYUH from Arizona Western JC and will have two years of eligibility, while Maihe is from Division I Baylor and has one year remaining.
Women's VolleyballBYUH -- the 1999 Division II national champion -- is trying to rebuild almost from scratch. Only two returning players will receive scholarships -- middle blocker Ashley Moeai and defensive specialist Nicole Olmstead --on what will eventually be a 12- to 14-player team (with some returnees expected to walk on).
So far, the newcomers include setter Li Na (5-9) and outside hitter Xu Dan (5-10), both from China. They join the Lady Seasiders' program with two to three years left to play, depending on how the NCAA rules on their eligibility.
Coming to BYUH as freshmen are setter Kaala Lo (5-5) from Mililani High and outside hitter Diana Plaisted (5-11) from Texas.
"We have a lot of players interested in joining," Lady Seasiders coach Wilfred Navalta said.
"We'll have the athletes to compete, but as to whether we can get to the top again, I don't know."
Benny Agbayani, Mets: The St. Louis School and Hawaii Pacific University alumnus went 2-for-4 with a double as New York was shut out by Colorado.
Mike Fetters, Dodgers: The Iolani School graduate gave up a pair of earned runs on two hits and a walk in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 3-2 win over the Marlins. Fetters' ERA jumped from 0.90 to 2.45.
Chris Truby, Astros: The Damien Memorial High School graduate did not start yesterday, but he played a prominent role in Houston's ninth-inning, game-winning rally. After entering the game as a defensive substitution, Truby came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied at 6, none out and runners on first and second. He bunted in an attempt to move the runners ahead. Phillies pitcher Ricky Bottalico tried to get the lead runner but threw the ball away, allowing the winning run to score. Truby was credited as having reached base on an error, leaving him at 0-for-1 on the night.