Newest Rainbow recruit
calls it a perfect fit
With the NCAA set to move the college 3-point line back 9 inches, the Hawaii basketball team remains committed to shooting the trey.
The Rainbows drained 413 3-pointers over the past two years, including Carl English's school-record 89 this past season, and are set to add another shooter to the roster.
Jake Sottos, a 6-foot-4 guard from Southeastern Community College in Iowa, has verbally committed to the Rainbows and said he plans to send his national letter of intent to the UH coaches on Monday.
Sottos drained 127 3-point goals as a sophomore and was the captain of a Southeastern squad that went 37-1 last season and won the national junior college championship.
"I haven't watched (UH) play, but what I've heard is they like to shoot the 3s and that's what I do," Sottos said. "It's a perfect fit for me."
Sottos averaged 16.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season and posted 54 steals and 63 assists. He shot 82 percent from the free-throw line.
He said he isn't worried about the NCAA's plan to move the 3-point line to 20 feet, 6 inches from the basket.
"I rarely shoot 3s on the line, I usually shoot them pretty deep," he said. "It won't bother me, that's what practice does. You shoot 2 or 3 feet behind the line anyway, so it won't be much of a difference."
Sottos said Hawaii's weather and the Rainbows' national exposure helped in his decision.
"They play great competition, they'll be nationally televised playing in the Maui (Invitational), and the guys and coaches are awesome," Sottos said. "They make you feel right at home."
The arrival of Sottos' letter would make him the fourth player to sign with UH. Guard Logan Lee and forwards Jeff Blackett and Bobby Nash signed during the fall. The coaches are looking to fill one more scholarship before the end of the spring signing period on Thursday.
As far as the NCAA's proposed changes to the playing court are concerned, UH coach Riley Wallace expects the measure to pass, but doesn't think they'll make a drastic difference in the game.
In addition to moving the 3-point line, the NCAA basketball rules committee recommended replacing the 12-foot wide lane with a trapezoid lane measuring 19 feet, 834 inches at its base.
The changes still face approval by the NCAA championship committee at its meeting set for June 24-26 in Florida.
Officials are hoping to unclog the lane by widening it to the international standard. The wider lane is designed to keep players from camping out under the basket and to promote more movement on offense.
"We experimented with those here and you don't notice a lot of difference," Wallace said. "It's not something we'll be worried about."
The 3-point line, which has been at 19 feet, 9 inches since 1986, would also conform to international rules.
"If they went with the NBA line, that would bother you. That's forcing up bad shots for college guys," Wallace said. "But this is close enough."
Summer school: As they watch classmates and teammates head home for summer vacation, a few Rainbow returnees are opting to stay in Hawaii.
Incoming seniors Phil Martin and Jason Carter are planning to stay over the summer, UH associate coach Bob Nash said. Junior Vaidotas Peciukas and senior Paul Jesinskis will also spend part of their summer here before returning home.
Nash said the coaches aren't allowed to work with players in the offseason, but can help set up a workout regimen.
"Academically it helps them toward graduation. Basketball-wise ... they have to do all their work by themselves, but we can give them a program and let them do what they have to do," Nash said.
Nash pointed to the improvement in forward Nkeruwem Akpan's game last season as an example of the difference a summer workout program can make.
Akpan scored 12 points in limited minutes as a freshman. Last season, he developed into a key part of the Rainbows' rotation and averaged 7.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in 23 minutes per game.
"It helped Tony last year. He stayed back and worked on his game and it really helped," Nash said.
Draft watch: With a month to go before the pre-draft camp in Chicago, English is rated 13th among shooting guards entered in June's NBA Draft by ESPN.com.
High school phenom LeBron James is rated first and Mickael Pietrus of France is second. Marquette junior Dwyane Wade, who entered his name in the draft last week, is third.
English plans to participate in the pre-draft camp in Chicago set for June 4-6 and has until June 19 to decide whether to keep his name in the draft or return to UH.