’Bows know hard
work has a payoff

No scores. No stats. Just a lot of sweat and pride.

No subs. No refs. No TV timeouts. Only the barking of coaches in a full-court test of physical and mental endurance with the payoff coming in the words, "Next basket wins, loser runs."

But the Hawaii basketball players battling each other up and down the floor in the steamy confines of Gym II know it's workouts like these that could result in wins later in the season.

"Practices like these will definitely prepare us for those games where we have to give it all of our heart, especially those games that we play down to the buzzer," senior forward Phil Martin said. "This kind of training that we do, just going up and down the floor, it's just to ready us and give that endurance that we need to stay strong late in games.

"Right now we're dead, we're tired, but we know it's all preparation."

After opening yesterday's practice with weight training and working through half-court sets, the Rainbow Warrior coaches put the squad through a nonstop, full-court scrimmage with no whistles or water breaks.

Junior forward Vaidotas Peciukas finally ended it with a layup off a long pass from senior guard Jason Carter, sparing the White team from the extra sprints.

"In a scrimmage you have ups and downs," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "It's how they fight through it emotionally, physically. ... That's how you find out the make up of a team."

The test gave the coaches a chance to get tape of the team executing on offense and defense, test the players' conditioning and see who emerges when they, as Wallace put it, "go through the wall."

Martin said the mental conditioning is especially significant when games are tight in the final minutes. The Rainbows were 6-5 in games decided by fewer than seven points last season, the difference in five of those games was a single point.

"I think that's why he does it," Martin said. "To give us that edge so we can play long minutes and stay strong on the floor."

Martin and fellow UH post players Milos Zivanovic and Paul Jesinskis will have to be in shape early in the season with center Haim Shimonovich and forward Jeff Blackett nursing injuries.

The Rainbows had 11 players available for practice yesterday, meaning few breaks for those on the floor.

Shimonovich has tendinitis in his achilles. Blackett has had a recurring foot injury and sprained his ankle in a scrimmage last Saturday.

With an exhibition game with Brigham Young-Hawaii still 18 days away and the season opener against UC Santa Barbara four days after that, Wallace said it's too early to make decisions on the team's rotation. But he indicated that with Shimonovich and Blackett falling behind, it will be difficult for them to be ready for the first game.

"We're putting new stuff in and they're not going to know it," he said.

Wallace is also looking for someone to step forward as a floor leader before the start of the season.

"In past years we've had guys who were cocky and arrogant, but they led in a different way," he said. "Now they're all the same personality and nobody sticks up, and someone's going to have to."


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