Hoops Talk

A Crossroad Up Ahead

January 12th, 2010

This is a painful blog to write. Painful because I am friends with the Hawaii coaching staff and have been a loyal supporter of the Basketball Program for almost 40 years. Painful because I am a longtime member of the Booster club and supported Bob Nash on his successful effort to succeed Riley Wallace. But after last night's record setting loss at Utah State, it must be clear to anyone who thinks with his/her brain, and not with their heart, that this year's team is at a crossroads in its season.

Once again, the loss at Utah State exposed so many liabilities and problems with the team. Another poor night for Flemings, bad guard play, dismal field goal shooting,  little depth, and frankly, turnovers leading to points, etc,  that one must question whether this team has the talent and perhaps,more importantly, the desire to win. I am not including everyone in this criticism. All you have to do is go to the games to figure out where the problems are. But for Nash and the coaches, this season, is in my opinion, only a game or two from a total disaster,

San Jose comes in here Sunday as the other really struggling team, along with Boise. That game will be followed by games against New Mexico State and La. Tech. La Tech is the class of the league having just won at Idaho and Boise. New Mexico St is playing well now that it has all of its " problems" addressed. If you are a fan of the program, you need to come out and support this team on Sunday. There will be no winning record, in my opinion, unless Hawaii wins 2 of 3 on this home stand and it starts with San Jose   A home loss to the Spartans will just about be the beginning of the end for any hope of a 500 record and avoiding missing the WAC Tournament. We will see how much energy and heart this team has left.  The coaches have a huge task ahead of them. Lets hope everybody is up to the task

Jeff Portnoy is a member of the UH Board of Regents. The views expressed here are his and do not reflect those of the board.

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3 Responses to “A Crossroad Up Ahead”

  1. Matt:

    Jeff: I've been following the Rainbows since the days of Red Rocha, before the Fabulous 5 arrived. UH would play at the Honolulu International Center (HIC, before it name was changed to the Blaisdell) to almost empty houses after earlier high school games sold out the arena. UH teams weren't too talented back then and often lost by large margins, but nothing like the score with Utah St.

    I heard Jackson Wheeler talk highly of Williams and Lay on several KKEA shows before the season started and expected guard play to be upgraded this year. He was also highly positive that D. Kurtz would be able to help Flemmings on the inside. Lay and Williams ball handling skills have been a disappointment and Kurtz has been a non factor.

    I was an early supporter of Bob Nash because I felt that he earned the chance to coach. I've changed my mind because of several factors:

    1. Recruiting and Player Evaluation: There's been the excuse that Coach Nash didn't have the time to recruit because of Herman Frazier's late hiring decision. However, Nash and Wheeler were established coaches in the system, not new coaches. The cupboard shouldn't have been empty when they took over. I concede that they were able to land Bill Amis, but other recruits in recent years like Parghalava, Jespersen, Verwers (I know, he broke his leg) and Botez have been disappointments. I take this to mean that the coaches can't convince recruits to commit, and in the case of Parghalava who was supposed to be their outside threat, poor talent evaluators.

    Random notes: Why is Hiram Thompson our only point guard? For their size, why are Williams and Lay so poor in ball handling skills? I really believe that we would not have seen the shooting skills of Michael Kuebler if Carl English had not left the team early. He wasn't a slasher like English, but he was a much better shooter, almost always under control. Rod Flemmings, like Julian Sensley, can dominate a game if played to his strengths, which is inside the paint. However, like Sensley, will disappear for extended periods or start heaving 3 pointers.

    2. Substitution patterns: Riley Wallace would take hot players out of a game and keep them on the bench for extended periods of time. He'd take someone out the game at the 10-12 min mark and wouldn't bring them back until there was 2-3 minutes left in the half (remember Matt Gibson moping on the bench?). It would be frustrating when the team needed an outside shooter but they wouldn't sub in a Mike McIntyre. Was Coach Nash or Wheeler responsible for substitutions because the same things are happening now. I understand that the team is short of players due to injury, but I've watched ESPN games where the players are given only 2-3 minute breaks before their coaches put them back in the game.

    3. Game plans: UH has been playing a passive offensive and defense system for a number of years. They flex the clock to almost zero before heaving a shot. They almost never attack or pressure. Its also frustrating to watch them try to dribble, instead of passing, to break a press. How many times have you seen Riley's & Nash's teams pass or dribble the ball further back into the backcourt instead of advancing the ball when being pressed? What role does Coach Farmer play? Doesn't appear like he retained any of Coach Wooden's coaching knowledge.

    It's unfortunately that UH needs a change because Nash, Wheeler, Sheppard and White have had long affiliations with the program. Men's volleyball shouldn't be out drawing basketball, but it looks like it'll happen this year.

  2. unokaro:

    Love to kick a man when he's down? The question should be about the morale of the team, right? I like this team, everyone can learn what being a fan means. That's what should be questioned, your loyalty, through the good times and bad times, BE LOYAL WARRIORS..COME TO THE GAMES... MOTIVATE...DON'T HATE AND TURN ON THE WARRIORS!!

  3. Senor Obvioso:

    It should probably be in your job description to know that every team makes the wac tournament, no matter what. (any hope of a 500 record and avoiding missing the WAC Tournament)

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