Warriors arrive ahead of snowstorm in Dallas
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
DALLAS The early-arrival itinerary plan for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team already paid off this week.
On Tuesday, a snowstorm hit Dallas, canceling more than 200 flights into and out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. The Rainbow Warriors arrived there late Monday night.
"Things were jammed up (Tuesday)," UH head coach Riley Wallace said. "I'd hate to think what would have happened if we tried to get in here then."
In recent years, the 'Bows would leave Honolulu on a Tuesday for a Thursday road game. This season, the team has been leaving earlier to gain an extra day of acclimation.
"It takes a whole day of travel just to get here, and then another day to recover," Wallace said. "Plus, we're winning, so it's working out."
Hawai'i is already 4-1 on the WAC road this season after going 2-22 over the previous three seasons.
Snow day: Despite the heavy downfall of snow Tuesday, the 'Bows did not cancel practice. They had Sunday off and spent all of Monday traveling, so Wallace did not want to miss another day.
"We had to (practice)," Wallace said. "And the snow wasn't that bad that you couldn't drive."
After practice, the team made sure to have its share of fun.
"We had a snowball fight," senior tri-captain Mindaugas Burneika said. "Some of these guys don't get to see snow too often, so they wanted to play all night."
Temperatures "warmed up" to the mid 30s last night, and were expected to be in the 40s tonight.
While snowfall is not unusual in Dallas, the amount apparently was. The weather was the lead story on all the television broadcasts.
"It was pretty heavy for Dallas," SMU head coach Mike Dement said. "But it'll all be melted by (tonight). Hawai'i will feel right at home."
Alumni visit: Former UH players Todd Fields (1999-2001) and Rodney Washington (1992-94) visited with the team during last night's practice.
They are both graduates of North Mesquite High, just outside of Dallas.
Fields now works for an insurance company in Dallas; Washington is a middle-school teacher in Mesquite.
"I'm bragging to all my friends these days," Washington said of UH's 19-3 record. "They all know I'm from Hawai'i now."
Fields, who played on last season's NCAA Tournament team, added: "It's unbelievable what they're doing. I'm on the Internet every day trying to keep up."