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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, October 28, 2002

Newcomers try to blend with UH basketball veterans

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team is a work in progress.

Sophomore newcomer Vaidotas Peciukas was the leading scorer in last night's scrimmage.

Advertiser library photo

That was evident last night after a controlled intrasquad scrimmage at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"If we had to play a game (tonight), we'd get beat," head coach Riley Wallace said. "But we have three weeks to work harder and push to the level that we need to be."

The scrimmage featured three 20-minute periods, and a few players switched teams after each period to create better matchups.

The leading scorer was sophomore newcomer Vaidotas Peciukas, who finished with 31 points in the three periods. He shot 4-of-9 from 3-point range, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the second period.

"This is still a lot of new stuff for me, so I'm still learning," said Peciukas, a 6-foot-6 forward from Lithuania. "But we're also fighting for starting jobs, and I wanted to go out and do my best."

Junior guard Carl English had 27 points, including 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

"The main thing right now is fitting everybody in and getting to know the offense," he said. "The new guys are catching on really fast, but what happens today and what happens in a real game is different."

Wallace purposely mixed his veteran players with the newcomers, and he said the results were predictable.

"The new guys don't know the whole offense, and so they were forcing some things," Wallace said. "But they'll learn. They'll get it by the time the first game rolls along."

The season opener is Nov. 22 against Arkansas-Little Rock.

Among the other standouts last night were returning starters Haim Shimonovich (18 points, 7 rebounds) and Mark Campbell (17 points, 8 assists), and newcomers Michael Kuebler (20 points) and Jason Carter (12 points, 7 assists).

• Freshman quits: Freshman recruit Dane Dmitrovic left UH this weekend to return home to Slovenia.

Wallace said the 6-foot-10 forward was homesick and possibly frustrated with his progress. Dmitrovic missed the team's first two weeks of practice because of a groin injury.

Had he stayed, Dmitrovic probably would have redshirted this season. His scholarship can not be replaced.

• Injury update: Junior forward Phil Martin participated in last night's scrimmage despite injuries to both his ankles. He missed two days of practice last week because of the injuries.

• Get your tickets: Season ticket sales will begin today at the Stan Sheriff Center box office.

Prices are: $250 for lower level seats (includes a $40 "premium seat" donation); $185 for upper level adult seats; $140 for upper level student seats; $105 for Super Rooter UH students (does not include Rainbow Classic games); $175 for Super Rooter guests (does not include Rainbow Classic games).

Box office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays only. Tickets can also be purchased via phone at 944-2697.