Archive for April, 2010

aloha means hello and goodbye

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April 23rd, 2010



last night, the basketball banquet was held. over two hundred people attended, including all of Coach Nash's staff ( minus Bob), as well as Coach Arnold. It could have been a very awkward event, but it went very well.

The tone was set by my broadcast partner, Bobby Curren, who , as MC,  started the night with a short speech about " new beginnings".  That was followed by Jackson Wheeler, who spoke from the heart and with much emotion about how much he and the staff appreciated the opportunity to coach at UH, and although they were going to miss the ongoing opportunity to lead the program, they saw only good things ahead under Coach Arnold.

Gib finished the evening with a  thank you to the staff and players who will be leaving, and a promise to continue the traditions that Bob had established of graduating players, and a commitment to do what is necessary to get the program back on track.

Well, that about will do it for my basketball blog for this season. it has been a real pleasure to talk with you about UH basketball thru this difficult season, as well as WAC and Div 1 basketball . I heard from many of you how much you enjoyed the blog. When we started this in October, this blog was way down the list of those most read. By February, we were in the top 15, and i believe that as the season went on, we probably snuck into the top 10.

As you know, the Advertiser will soon be sold to the Star-Bulletin. Whether the new owners want this blog back in the Fall is unknown,  but  hopefully they will. Thanks to all the coaches at UH who stood by me , even when my comments were critical, thanks to the folks at the paper who encouraged me to write the blog, but most of all thanks to all of you for reading the blog and providing your comments. Aloha

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lay gone; is williams next?

By
April 21st, 2010



the announcement today that Jeremy Lay will be leaving the program should have come as no surprise to folks who read this blog. Lay's attitude both on and off the court, in my view, was disruptive and his basketball skills were not as advertised. He was a poor ball handler, made poor decisions, and was a woeful outside shooter. His " decision" to leave his team with seven games left and, with the team fighting to make the playoffs. and with his coaches jobs on the line,  is still not understandable. The " hernia" issue, which he claimed was a problem all year, did not appear to me to have been aggravated  as the season progressed, and his lack of committment to his team-mates was clear to this observer.

Now the question is will Dwain Williams be back. Frankly, i wouldn't want him back. His decision to leave the team for several games to " mourn" the death of his cousin, probably cost the team a win or two. It left the team with only one healthy point guard. I can understand a player who misses a game or two to travel to the mainland for a funeral. But Williams not only didn't leave town, he didn't even bother to show up to support his team-mates for several weeks. I have been around basketball for almost four decades. I have never seen anything like this and my criticism of the coaches was that he was " allowed" to get away with this for weeks before being suspended.

Its time to clear the decks. yes i know guards are needed and who knows whether Arnold will find any. But keeping players like these two is not the answer. I guess Williams could " rehabilitate" himself with a new coaching staff. But I don't think its possible. Williams had other issues which never became public, and if i was a returning UH player, i wouldn't want him as my team-mate.

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a conversation with gib

By
April 16th, 2010



i spent more than an hour last night talking to and getting to know Coach Arnold. It was my first time to meet Gib, and I really appreciate that in the middle of all he is doing recruiting wise, etc, he took the time to meet.

To be fair, much of what we discussed has to remain " off the record" for now. We discussed his recruiting philosophies, the status of recruiting, assistant coaches, scheduling, returning players, and the list goes on and on. It is obvious to me that he is trying very hard to " get up to speed" on the history of UH Basketball, and what folks in the community believe is necessary to have a successful program. He asked many thoughtful questions, and listened intensely.

We candidly discussed some of the " controversy" surrounding his selection, and the need to reach out to those who might have wanted another applicant. We agreed that for the program to move forward, it is important that all fans of UH basketball feel that  they are part of the program.

What was particularly impressive to me is how much time Gib is spending trying to meet those in the community who can assist him in understanding what lies ahead. There is much rebuilding to be done, and sometimes fans don't have the patience to wait. Also, there are special challenges to coaching basketball at UH, and Gib is learning about those and seeking solutions .

As readers of this blog know, i had questions about Gib and his selection.  But I must say that last nite went a long way to answering those and I am very confident that  the right choice was made. Will I always agree with everything that Gib does. Probably not. Does that matter? Of course not. But take the time to get know the new Coach. You, like me, will come away impressed.

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an awkward event

By
April 13th, 2010



next week, the annual post season UH Basketball Banquet will be held to honor the departing seniors and to look back on the past season. This year, however, the event is complicated by the departure of Bob Nash and the hiring of Gib Arnold. I am told that Gib will be present, but Bob will not. Whether Wheeler, Ganot, and Farmer attend remains to be seen.

Whoever shows up, and doesn't show up, it will be a bittersweet evening. It will be the first opportunity for most UH fans to meet and hear Arnold talk about his vision for the program. On the other hand, it will be a time to say a final goodbye, not only to the seniors, but to the Coaching staff that led the team for two decades, whether as head coaches or assistants. It will be somewhat awkward, and i look forward to see how UH handles the event. 

Still waiting for the announcements of Arnold's other assistants. I would guess we will know something next week. One remaining question is whether Ganot will be part of the staff and in what capacity. Also, next week is signing day. One issue that needs to be resolved soon is who is and who is not going to be coming back. Williams and Lay top that list. stay tuned

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recruiting tales

By
April 9th, 2010



folks often ask me if i think college basketball recruiting is corrupt. i tell them it depends on the program.

on a bus from the airport to the hotel in indy, i struck up a conversation with a high school basketball coach in new york.  He told me this story. One day, a senior on his team, who was good, but not great, came to his office with a paper bag. Inside was ten thousand dollars. The player told his coach that he had been given the bag by someone who told him the money was his if he would take a recruiting trip to a university in the North East ( i was told the school, but since i dont have first hand knowledge of the incident, i have decided to leave it out. suffice it to say its a big time program.  The player told his coach the person told him he did not need to commit to the school, just visit. The Coach told the player that if he kept the money, he would be " bound" to commit, and ultimately, the kid gave the money back.

if you think this is an unusual story, you are mistaken. Over the years, i have heard numerous stories from coaches about what really goes on in recruiting. Its a very ugly tale, and the NCAA catches very few of the illegalities. In the story above, the person giving the kid the money was not an employee or " representative"  of the school. but a street agent looking for his payout down the road. Tying that person to the coaching staff would not be easy.

Take the case of John Wall, who will be the first pick in the draft and is the college player of the year during his one and done year at Kentucky. I am aware of at least one school that refused to recruit him because his " recruiting" was handled by a " representative", not the kid, his high school coach or his family.  And the story of O.J. Mayo's decision to go to USC  remains under NCAA investigation, although it has been reported that he received cash from USC during his recruitment'

Finally i heard a story from a prominent college basketball writer about Stevie Douglas, who had a solid career at Syracuse. It seems Douglas committed to an ACC team but told that coach he was going to complete a  visit to Syracuse that he had already agreed to. The day after the visit, he called the ACC coach to tell him he had changed his mind and would be going to Syracuse. Douglas, who was from Southern California, was asked why. Douglas reported he had " fallen in love" with the city. Now folks, I am a graduate of Syracuse, and i can tell you it it hard to fall in love with the city, especially if you are used to Southern California weather.

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work to be done

By
April 8th, 2010



back from indy where i was privileged to watch one of the greatest games in NCAA Final Four history from the floor. It was a game that was in doubt until the final second, and the more than 70 thousand in the stadium were in it from the opening tap. Look for both Butler and Duke to be preseason top 5, and the Diamond Classic is counting the days until the Bulldogs arrive in Hawaii,

One of the things that became very obvious to me is how much needs to be done to get former UH Coach Riley Wallace and new coach Gib Arnold together. Riley is very outspoken about his view that Gib's hiring was , to use his word, 'unethical'. Wallace believes Arnold began seeking the job in December, something that Athletic Director Jim Donovan tells me is not true. In fact, Donovan told me at dinner that the final decision was not made until both Arnold and Kyle Smith had final interviews just a day before the offer was made.

The problem is that Riley is so upset that he will not respond to Arnold's efforts to touch base with him. Two incidents demonstrate how serious this matter is. First, when Riley found out his seats to the games were next to Arnold's, he  refused to sit there and traded seats. And at a reception where Arnold went up to Riley to ask him to sit down andf  talk UH  basketball and to solicit Riley's assistance in helping the program, Riley blew Arnold off and said although he loved the program and would do whatever he could to help it, he would  'never' help Arnold

Those of us who know Riley, know how firm he can be when he takes a position, right or wrong. UH has its work cut in getting this resolved, and it needs to be resolved soon. Riley has many friends in the coaching business, witness all the folks around him in Indy, and it will not help Arnold effort's to recruit if Riley doesn't " come around".

I had the chance to talk to Coach K after the game Monday night. He told me this was the most gratifying of his four Championships, and that the game rivaled the Lattner Kentucky game as the greatest game he has ever coached.  Most of the media court-side agree.

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its duke. haywood last second from half court goes off the rim. unbelievable

By
April 5th, 2010



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13 seconds to play. butler has the ball. oh my

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April 5th, 2010



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its tied

By
April 5th, 2010



its hoosier time. the game is tied with 50 seconds to play. duke has the ball

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its duke by 4 with less than 8 to play

By
April 5th, 2010



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