Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, November 15, 2001



4 sign on line
for Wahine

By Al Chase

Recruiting is hardly an exact science. Convincing student-athletes to join a program is extremely frustrating at times as prospects make a decision, then change their mind while offering myriad reasons.

That was not the case for the Hawaii Wahine basketball coaching staff yesterday as all four players who had verbally committed to enroll at UH next fall signed national letters of intent.

"We're very excited," said UH coach Vince Goo.

There are solid reasons for the excitement. The Wahine had four needs and every one was taken care of yesterday. For the first time in several seasons, high school players filled the needs and it was accomplished on the first day of the one-week early signing period.

Signing with the Wahine are 6-foot-3 center Callie Spooner, 6-2 forward Penny Jones, 5-11 wing Amy Sanders and 5-5 point guard Trisha Nishimoto.

Spooner averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game in helping Prairie High School in Vancouver, Wash., to a third-place finish in the state tournament last year.

Jones also played for a state third-place finisher, Cyprus High School in West Valley City, Utah. She averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game.

"We project Callie and Penny to come in next year, play behind Christen Roper and Natasja Allen, then become the heir apparents after our seniors graduate," said Goo.

"Spooner is a big-time player. She has been rated high by the scouting services and has gotten bigger and better each year," said Wahine assistant Jon Newlee.

Sanders, who is playing her senior year for Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., averaged 20.8 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game for Huntington Beach High School as a junior. She is a two-time all-league, all-county and All-California Interscholastic Federation selection.

"We think she is the best wing player in California. She is one of the best wing players we have ever recruited," Goo said. "She's very versatile, just a good, all-around player."

Nishimoto averaged 16 points, three assists and six steals a game for Iolani last year.

In describing Nishimoto, Goo used former UH point guard BJ Itoman as an example.

He said, "Trisha is BJ quick, BJ tough, BJ fast and BJ dedicated.

"To get all four positions filled in the early signing period is a tribute to our assistant coaches who worked hard over the summer, then followed up after selling our school and program."

Hawaii has one scholarship remaining. That would go to Kim Willoughby if she joins the team at the conclusion of the Wahine volleyball season.

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