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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 17, 2002

'Bows basketball team anxious to get into the game

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

As far as the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team is concerned, you might as well remove the exhibition from tonight's "exhibition game" against the EA Sports West All-Stars.

Hawai'i vs. EA Sports West All-Stars

• What: UH men's exhibition game

• When: 5 p.m. today

• Where: Stan Sheriff Center

• Tickets: $8 Lower Level (single-seats only); $6 Upper Level (adult); $4 Upper Level (students 4-18, UH students). Parking is $3.

• TV/Radio: None

"We play to win no matter what," UH head coach Riley Wallace said. "People pay to come here and watch you, they want to watch you win."

The Rainbow Warriors did a lot of winning last season, compiling a 27-6 record — the best mark in school history. Tonight will be the first action for the 2002-03 'Bows against an opponent other than themselves, although the result will not count toward the team's record.

Wallace said he will treat the exhibition like a regular-season game, using only his top players in crucial situations.

"I want to get a feel for where we are as far as execution and intensity," he said. "You can't treat this like a scrimmage because our (regular) season starts next week already."

The regular-season opener is scheduled for Nov. 22 against Arkansas-Little Rock in the Hawaiian Airlines Tip-Off Tournament.

Wallace has experimented with several lineups during the past four weeks of practice. His starters will remain a mystery until tip-off.

Center Haim Shimonovich, one of four returning starters from last season, injured his hip on Friday and sat out most of yesterday's practice. He said he should be ready by tonight, but Wallace isn't so sure.

"If he's limping (today), I don't want to use him," Wallace said.

If Shimonovich is not ready, Tony Akpan will start at center. The other tentative starters are Mark Campbell at point guard, Carl English at shooting guard, Vaidotas Peciukas at small forward and Phil Martin at power forward.

"We're all anxious to play somebody else to see where we are," said Campbell, the team's senior captain. "It's definitely a pride thing. We want to go out and kick butt, and set the tone for the year."

Two other 'Bows are not expected to play today because of injuries. Senior forward Paul Jesinskis has an injury to his left thumb; junior guard Ramsey Williams has an injured left knee.

The EA Sports West All-Stars dropped to 2-7 after a 90-86 overtime loss at Cal on Friday. The team is comprised of former collegiate players from various schools in the Western United States.

Former UH guard Mike McIntyre will play with EA Sports for tonight's game only.

Tonight will be the team's 10th game — all in different cities — in 17 days.

"Those are all older guys and they know how to play," Campbell said. "But if we want fans to come out and watch us, we have to start out with a good win."

• • •

2002-03 Rainbow Warriors by the numbers
What’s in a number?
Sometimes a lot, sometimes nothing at all.
“A lot of guys we recruit ask for a specific (jersey) number,” UH head coach Riley Wallace said. “Others don’t care and will take whatever we give them.” Here, then, are the jersey numbers the Hawai‘i basketball players will wear this season and the reasons behind those selections:
Name No. Reason
Nkeruwem Tony Akpan 54 His favorite chapter from the Bible is Psalms 54. “It tells you don’t be scared because the Lord will fight for you through everything,” he said.
Ikaika Alama-Francis 11 His number when he played football at KalÅheo High. His basketball number at KalÅheo was 22, but highly touted recruit Vaidotas Peciukas had first dibs.
Mark Campbell 15 As a freshman at Clackamas (Ore.) Community College, Campbell let his teammates pick jerseys first. The only one remaining was 15, which he grew to like.
Jason Carter 13 “Nobody wears 13, so I wanted to be different,” he said. “I don’t think it’s bad luck at all.”
Carl English 23 His favorite player is Michael Jordan. English’s number growing up in Canada was 1, but that was taken by Predrag Savovic when English arrived in Hawai‘i.
Ryne Holliday 25 Ever since he was little, his favorite athlete was baseball slugger Mark McGwire, who wore 25 for the Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals.
Paul Jesinskis 40 At Skyline College (Calif.), the taller players had to take bigger numbers. “Basically, I took 40 because that’s what fit me,” he said. “And I ended up liking it.”
Michael Kuebler 24 He’s had the number since he was little because his birthday is July 24.
Gabe Lombard  4 Walk-ons usually don’t have a choice. “As long as I have a number, I don’t care,” he said.
Phil Martin  2 He never wore No. 2 until he arrived at UH. “I thought it was original, something different,” he said. “Now I like it; it’s me.”
Vaidotas Peciukas 22 He followed fellow Lithuanian Nerijus Puida to Weatherford College and then to UH. At both schools, Peciukas inherited Puida’s number: 22.
Dan Pickart 32 Another walk-on. “They gave it to me and it’s kind of grown on me,” he said.
Haim Shimonovich 14 His number growing up in Israel was 13, but he discovered that it wasn’t considered a lucky number in America. “When I think about it, I was always injured with No. 13,” he said.
Lance Takaki 10 His number at Mid-Pacific Institute was 11, but senior Johnny White had it when Takaki arrived at UH. “He wasn’t about to give it up to a freshman,” Takaki said.
Milos Zivanovic 12 He also wore No. 12 at his high school in Yugoslavia.