Archive for February, 2010

the end is near

February 26th, 2010

yes, the end is near. Not for the blog, although the new ownership of the Advertiser may have a different idea, but for the Bows season. After Boise State's huge upset of La Tech in Ruston,  and Hawaii's expected loss at home to Utah State, it will take close to a miracle for UH to make the WAC Tournament. The Bows are a game behind Boise, and still has to go to Boise and Idaho, a huge mountain to climb for a team that hasnt won on the road all year.

A win Saturday on Senior Night against Nevada is not out of the question. Nevada has struggled on the road all year,  just getting by San Jose last night. And with 5 seniors not wanting to leave their home careers on a ten game losing streak, an upset is possible. Last night, the Bows played hard in its loss against a far superior team. There is no doubt in my mind that the Aggies are easily the best bteam in the WAC ( once again), and an NCAA at large worthy team. They wil have to win out and make to the WAC Championship game to get the bid.

Rod Flemings was frustrated from the opening whistle last night. Except for a two minute stretch early in the second half when he scored on three straight possessions, he couldnt buy a basket. He was doubled teamed for much of the night, and in my view, should have looked for his teammates to score. Another strong game from Brandon Adams ( he is easily the guy who made the biggest improvement this year), and a solid game from Hiiram kept the game within reach. But once again, poor free throw shooting and an inability for create on offense doomed the hometeam.

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out of the shadows

February 22nd, 2010

Saturday night's loss to Cal Poly is unexplainable. How could Hawaii loss so badly at home to a middle of the road Big West team that had lost 6 of its last 7. How could the Bows let Cal Poly score more than a hundred points and set a record for the most points scored against Hawaii since the Arena opened a long time ago. How could a team needing to break its own 7 game losing streak and desperately looking for its 10th win play so poorly in the first half? How could Hawaii let Cal Poly out hustle, out think, and outplay it in almost every facet of the game? The answer is simple. One team wanted it much more.

The whispers about the future of Bob Nash came out of the shadows in Ferd Lewis' column in Sunday's Advertiser. Ferd put in writing what you know lots of fans and some UH officials have been thinking for awhile. Three years of frustration and no improvement; crowds of under 3000, and the real possibility this year of missing the Conference Tournament. Yes this has been a season of issues on and off the court. You cant blame the coaches for injuries. A few of the losses could have been wins with a few breaks. But what appears to be a real lack of talent and often lack of effort has to be an issue. How many times this year have we seen this team play one decent half of basketball and one awful half ( like Saturday).

There are still four games to play. Thursday's game against Utah State pit two teams going rapidly in opposite directions. The Saturday game against a Nevada team that struggles on the road is Senior Night, so an upset is possible. Then onto Idaho for the final two games. My opinion, and that's all it is, is that if the team does not qualify for the tournament, the pressure for a coaching change will increase dramatically. Can i say it? i will. This team is now playing for their Coach. I really like and respect Bob and the other coaches. In the interest of full disclosure, one of my best friends is Jackson Wheeler. I hope for the best, but have to recognize that the program's struggles create a legitimate discussion on their future of UH basketball.

i would like to here from you out there. Should Bob get another year or is it time for a change?

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advertiser basketball poll

February 19th, 2010

in case you missed it, the paper had a poll this week asking folks to vote on how they see the rest of the basketball season. About 8 percent think the team " will pull it out" ( one wonders what rock these folks have been hiding under); 30 percent said the " season is over"; just over 40 percent said " new leadership is needed"; and 22 percent said " when's football start" ( like that's a viable option).  There is no question that the frustration level is about as high as i can remember, and crowds of 3000 per game is further evidence of that.

Did you see the latest headlines on the UH Athletic Department deficit. Over 10 million. Perhaps the only good news is that there is some possible job security for a few UH coaches.

The count down to tomorrow's game continues. UH has lost 7 in a row, and Cal Poly has lost 6 of its last 7. Both teams are 9-16 and mired down at the bottom of their conferences. But for UH, its a real chance to break the streak and give the Bows their 10th win. Hawaii hasn't won in a month so tomorrow looms large for the team and their supporters. One thing you have to say about the team. Although badly out manned game after game, at least some of the guys continue to play hard and have not given up on trying to steal a few more wins. They deserve your support for the last three home games. There are several seniors on the team who have endured some tough times. It would nice to show them we care.

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a really stupid game

February 16th, 2010

No, not last night's blow-out, although that was nothing to write home about.  28 New Mexico State points off of 18 turnovers ( where have we heard that before?); 39 percent filed goal percentage ( where have we heard that before?); Thompson completely wearing down ( 1 assist, 6 turnovers- a reversal of the t/o to assist ratio we saw all season until a few games ago), Campbell and Balocka continuing their meltdowns once the WAC started; but on the positive side, maybe Xiang"s best game as a Rainbow and Flemings doing all one man can do to keep Hawaii competitive.

No the stupid game is the game Saturday against Cal Poly ( who?). This game could not be more of a waste. It means nothing and it comes when the team needs a rest before its last four Conference games. It means an in season trip to Cal Poly next year in another meaningless game. It means Thompson, who can hardly make it thru 20 minutes anymore, has to play on Saturday. I guess the good news is it may be Hawaii's best chance for a tenth win and a chance to end this losing streak. The team certainly will be an underdog in all remaining games, although the way they played Nevada in Reno and the way Nevada plays on the road, an upset win  in that game is not out of the question.

Finally, many of you continue to ask me about the future of Coach Nash( like I have inside information which i dont). But many of you dont understand the contract " extension" Bob received last year. In a nutshell, He was given another year ( 2010-2011) with a one year " option". The important fact to remember was that Jim Donovan announced a number of  " benchmarks" that had to be met in EITHER this season or next. They include 18 wins and/or a post season tournament. No chance of either this year, but note the word "Either". Now that doesnt guarantee Bob will be here next year, but it does mean the University would have to buy out the remaining year at 250,000 plus. With the University athletic budget running a 4 plus million dollar deficit, how likely is that?

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a moral victory and a real loss

February 15th, 2010

First the real loss. The passing of former coach Red Rocha really  is the end of an era in UH Basketball History. Although i didn't arrive here until a few months after UH lost by 40 to Weber State in its first NCAA Tournament appearance, the talk of the town was still the " Fabulous Five". And even though its been almost 40 years since then, and even though the Bows have had other successes on the Court, fans over 60 still pine for the good old days. I had the pleasure of meeting Red several times over the years.  He was a fine gentleman and a legend who will never be forgotten

now the moral victory. i know, what good are moral victories. But when your season has turned into a disaster, and you are struggling to win ten games and avoid the cellar, a 6 point loss at La Tech is something to be " proud of".  Hawaii played a disciplined game like it did at Nevada, with tough defense and solid shot selection. But once again turnovers, and particularly poor free throw shooting, did in the Rainbows once again. Solid game from the usual suspects, Thompson, Flemings, and Adams led the way, but when your " other point guard" plays 14 minutes and has no points and no assists, its hard to win

tonight, its the return game at New Mexico State, and once again, Hawaii will be a double digit underdog. Can they play a half court game against the Aggies. And can a banged up Thompson come back in two days and play 40 minutes. The Aggies are fighting to finish in the top two so you know they will come to play, but as we saw here, they are fairly undisciplined on the Court and could get frustrated if Hawaii plays smart.

Its clear now that Idaho beat Fresno in Fresno, that its a two team race to avoid missing the Tournament. With four games remaining, it will likely come down to Hawaii's game at Boise in early March. If either team gets a victory before then, that game may not mean very much ( remember Hawaii has the tiebreaker right now).

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yes it can get worse

February 11th, 2010

in my last post, i asked whether things could much worse for the basketball Bows. Well, it can and did. The latest news is that Jeremy Lay's season is over. The stated reason is that he will undergo hernia surgery. I find it very curious that he says he has to been dealing with this injury all season, but only now has decided to miss the rest of the season with only three weeks to go. If he has been living with it, there was no prior information regarding the injury and it certainly did not show on the court. I am not saying it doesnt exist nor am i saying he doesnt need surgery. I just find the timing very strange. This is a team that is now  left with one scholarship guard, and will have to finish the season with either guys playing out of position or walk-ons at the Guard position.. And speaking of guys playing hurt,  some say its possible Thompson may need surgery on his shoulder after the season, but he continues to suck it up game after game.

The team leaves tonight for what is always the most difficult road trip of the season. Rustin and Las Cruces. I am sure the folks who live there like it very much, but they are about as diffiicult to get to from here as you can find, and this year, both La Tech and New Mexico State are not being very hospitable to visiting teams.  It will be a moral victory if the Bows, as short-handed as they are, can stay within 20 in either game.

The recruiting season is now underway in ernest. With only two starters coming back, and that includes Bill Amis who hasnt played a minute this year, and one  " good" redshirt, along with the poor record this season and increasing fan discontent, this may be not only the most critical recruiting period in Coach Nash's tenure, but the most difficult. But if you want the chance to start right away for a Division One program, there are not many more attractive opportunities than UH .

One final thought. remember all the hype when the signings of Williams and Lay were announced. If you needed another example of why you shouldn't listen to the hype, they are examples one and two. My two cents to the coaches. Stay away from transfers and JC guys who signed at one time with a Division One program. The odds are they will be problems on and off the court. As hard as it to get high school players to come here to play, the " quick fixes" have proven anything but.

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can it get any worse

February 8th, 2010

Saturday night's ten point loss to Fresno was the most difficult of the season to watch. The Bows lost to a team that had just come off two bad road losses in Idaho, was missing its best player, and hadnt won in Hawaii in 5 years. It was a game Hawaii had to win if it had any decent shot at avoiding last place in the Conference, and came after perhap's the Bows best effort in its 6 point loss to Nevada, a gamn they could have won had they gotten a few calls down the stretch and made a few more freethrows.

In the pregame interview, Coach Nash said the team had a great week of practice. He said they understood what they needed to do to win. Be patient, work down the shotclock,  be careful with the ball, etc. In the first three minutes of the game, all of that was apparently eiother ignored or forgotten. 19 turnovers against a team that played primarily zone, poor shot selection, and missed freethrows were again the rule, not the exception.

Credit to Thompson who played with a shoulder injury that left him a one-armed point  guard most of the game and to Rod Flemings who scored almost half of Hawaii's points. Brandon Adams continues to play well. The rest of the team is underperforming at best.

Now its on to New Mexico State and La. Tech. good luck. It will take a Nevada like effort to prevent two blow-outs. Its clear to me that Hawaii and Boise will battle it out down the stretch for the dubious honor of finishing eighth and probably facing Utah State in the first round. If  Hawaii misses the tournamnet, however, except the dis-satisfaction level of the fans to increase dramatically. There were alot of very unhappy fans in the stands Saturday, and my guess their unhappiness was shared by Coach Nash and his staff. You could hear the frustration in Nash's voice in our postgame.

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williams suspended

February 6th, 2010

the only thing surprising about this is how long it took. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know i have been telling you for weeks that he would never play another minute for UH. His attitude towards his coaches and teammates has been poor from the start. He abandoned them when they needed him the most, and i dont really know why it took so long to pull the plug. He is not the only player with attitude issues, but the lack of alternatives has made this a difficult season, on and off the court, for the coaches in trying to " reel-in" some of the more problematic players.

Fresno shows up tonight, and this  might be the last good chance for a WAC win this season. Fresno struggles on the road, and with only two home games left after this against Utah State and Nevada, and four road games where this year's team has yet to win, tonight's game looms large if this year's team intends to play in the Tournament in March.

the absurd bracketbuster lineup was announced this week and Hawaii has a non televised game against Big West opponent Cal Poly. Wow, am i excited. These games may have once made sense when UH was good enough to get a quality opponent and play on National T.V.. Now all it means is a meaningless game and a requirement that UH go there next year in the middle of its WAC schedule.

By the way, do you all remember when a UH home game was almost a guaranteed win. No more. We used to have one of the best home records in college basketball. Good teams were scared to come out here to play. Dispite this, I used to get emails and folks would stop me on the street asking when we were going to " get rid" of " Wallace". I told them what i heard from coaches around the country that we didnt know how good we had it. This is not a negative statement about Coach Nash and his staff. It is a statement about how tough it is to win out here and how hard it is to get the players necessary to be competitive year in and year out.  I know alot of you are losing patience with Coach Nash.  You need to remember how he lost an entire year of recruiting and the loss of Bill Amis this year has proven to be devastating. I told you how much Amis' loss would mean to this team. And yes,, Williams and Lay have not come close to the hype surrounding their signing, and Rod is just now showing the potential we expected all season.  There is a major recruiting task awaiting the coaches if this team hope to be competitive next season. But i am getting ahead of myself as this season still has a ways to go.

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on tobacco road

February 2nd, 2010

if you think Bob Nash and the rainbows are struggling, you should hear the angst here in Chapel Hill as the Tarheels suffered their worst home loss under Coach Roy Williams Sunday night against Virgina. TheTarheels are perilously close to missing the NCAA tournament after winning two National Championships in the last 4 years. And Duke got smashed by Georgetown over the weekend and look to rebound against Georgia Tech Thursday night. Frankly, both teams have problems defending quick guards, but i suspect Duke is a possible final 8 team while it may be the NIT for the Heels( something Rainbow fans would give their eyetooth for).

Saturday's loss to Nevada was a moral victory, i guess. A 6 point loss on the road to a team we have never beaten in Reno, after a 23 point loss in San Jose, is certainly an improvement, although its still an " L". Missed free throws was the culprit this time, along with a few questionable calls down the stretch.

The schedule sets up this Saturday"s game against Fresno as the last clear chance for a victory and a chance to stay out of the cellar. Fresno struggles big time on the road, although they should have their leading scorer back for this game after he missed both of Fresno's road losses last weekend.

i hear that Dwain Williams may be back. I hope not. His absence for the last five games because his cousin died may have cost the Rainbows three wins. Just on Saturday, one of Duke's premier players played in the Georgetown game even though his grandfather died. He left for the funeral after the game and will be back for thursday's game. i dont buy any argument that Williams  was too " broken up" to play, or even to show up to cheer his team on. Its time for UH to say goodbye to Williams in this man's opinion.

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