The 2001-02 basketball season is still a couple of months away, but with the school year about to start, Hawaii-Hilo and coach Jeff Law have already suffered a setback.
By Brandon Lee
The bad news is not a player's injury during a summer pick-up game, but an academic casualty. Adrian Aguayo, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Saddleback (Calif.) College had been one of Law's four incoming recruits, but he recently was ruled academically ineligible. Aguayo averaged 14.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals en route to All-Orange Empire Conference first-team honors last year.
"As far as being eligible, (Aguayo) was just too far away," Law said. "He would have had to redshirt if he did come, and Hawaii was a long way to come just to sit out."
Law said that he, Aguayo and the Saddleback coach were all aware of the player's academic troubles and knew that ineligibility was a possibility. Coming off the Vulcans' first winning season in seven years, however, fourth-year coach Law said the loss of Aguayo is one Hawaii-Hilo can absorb.
Law was already happy with his returning backcourt players, as well as his three other recruits: Dave Wiggins (6-10, post, Ventura Junior College), Garreth Read (6-9, post, Saddleback) and Derek Mgbeke (6-3, swing, L.A. City College). All-Pacific West Conference point guard Scott Prather is the only Vulcan entering his final season, and University of Hawaii transfer, guard Kimo Keiter-Charles, will also be eligible to play for Hawaii-Hilo next season.
"It was kind of a chance that we took in trying to sign (Aguayo), and we knew that," Law said. "With six guys coming back and the three solid ones coming in, I think we'll be fine. We finished off strong last season, and some people think we should be much, much better this year. We're still taking little steps forward."
And one:In other basketball news, coach Ken Wagner has named former Brigham Young-Hawaii player Brandyn Akana (1992-93, 1995-98) as an assistant. Like his older brother Jarinn, the assistant in charge of player development with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, Akana will look to develop the Seasiders' potential.
Former assistant and player David Evans left for a professional playing career in Norway.
Akana previously did color commentary and was a student assistant for BYUH.
Chlorination indoctrination:The Brigham Young-Hawaii men's water polo team and coach Aukai Ferguson have begun practices for the Seasiders' inaugural season in the sport. BYUH joins Chaminade as the only local schools with men's collegiate programs. The two teams meet Sept. 1 at a site yet to be determined.
According to sports information director Scott Lowe, everyone in the athletic department is learning about the sport, at times on the fly. According to Lowe, the NCAA does not keep official statistics in water polo, and he and his assistants are trying to come up with their own methods to report upcoming games accurately.