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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 29, 2002

Wallace at Final Four looking for opponents

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Riley Wallace is in Georgia this week, and he has "Sweet Georgia Brown" on his mind.

Wallace, the head coach of the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team, is hoping to talk to officials from the Harlem Globetrotters today about a possible exhibition game with the Rainbow Warriors in the Stan Sheriff Center in November.

"It's a possibility right now because they've shown interest in coming out (to Hawai'i) and we're interested in playing them," Wallace said. "I think it would be great for Hawai'i — great for the program and great for the fans."

Wallace is in Atlanta this week to watch the NCAA Final Four. The Globetrotters are also in Atlanta for an exhibition game today against the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-Stars.

Predrag Savovic, who just completed his senior season with the 'Bows, is on the NABC All-Stars roster. Wallace will be at the game today, and said he will attempt to obtain more details from Globetrotters officials about a potential game in Hawai'i.

"I'll talk to whoever I can," he said. "Because it's something I'd like to see happen."

The biggest question is cost. The Globetrotters are likely to ask for a guaranteed payment to play the 'Bows.

"It's very preliminary right now," UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said. "We still need to look at the numbers. What it would come down to is the financial commitment it would take for us to get them here."

While the Globetrotters still perform basketball tricks and hijinks to the music of "Sweet Georgia Brown," they also started playing "serious" exhibition basketball against college teams two years ago.

"It would be like a normal game," Wallace said. "Before the game and at halftime (the Globetrotters) do some of their fun stuff, but during the game, it's real ball."

Last season, the Globetrotters went 8-1 in exhibition games against college teams. Their only loss was at Western Kentucky.

More scheduling: Wallace and associate head coach Bob Nash are also hoping to find opponents this week for the 'Bows' 2002-03 season. Most of the NCAA Division I coaches from across the nation are in Atlanta this week.

"We're still working on it," Wallace said. "We'd like to find a couple more quality teams to come over (to Hawai'i)."

According to Wallace, Western Kentucky, Butler and Colorado have already committed to playing in December's Rainbow Classic. Hawai'i has also received commitments for a home game against Washington, and a road game at San Diego State.

The final schedule will probably be released during the summer.

Savo's there: Predrag Savovic is one of 12 college seniors who will play for the NABC All-Stars against the Globetrotters today in the NABC Roundball Challenge at Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Savovic, a 6-foot-6 guard from Yugoslavia, participated in the team's only scheduled practice yesterday.

"It was fun meeting all the guys from different schools," he said. "We mostly just ran up and down. We didn't go real hard."

Among the other players on the NABC All-Stars are first-team All-America guard Steve Logan from Cincinnati, guard Fred Jones from Oregon, forward Jason Capel of North Carolina, forward Darius Songaila of Wake Forest, and center Robert Archibald from Illinois. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is coaching the team.

Savovic said no starting lineup was revealed yesterday, but the players were told that they would all share playing time. "The coaches said we should play it like a regular game," Savovic said.

Savovic led UH with 20.3 points per game this season, and completed his three-year career as the 'Bows all-time leader in 3-pointers (178).

A slam-dunk contest and "Hot Shot Shootout" will be held prior to the game. Savovic said the players for those events will be announced today, and he has expressed interest in participating in the shootout.

The slam-dunk contest and shootout are scheduled to be televised on a delayed basis tomorrow at 9 a.m. (Hawai'i time) on ESPN.