Nash will try to shoot way out of slump
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Bobby Nash has a simple solution to his early-season shooting slump with the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team.
"Just keep shooting," he said.
Nash, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, has received approval from head coach Riley Wallace despite making just 2 of 18 field-goal attempts in the first two games of the season.
"He's been shooting it way better in practice this week," Wallace said of Nash. "He's a better shooter than what he's shown. Plus, he brings that experience. He knows what he's doing out there; the shots haven't been falling, that's all."
Wallace said he may tinker with the starting lineup when the Rainbow Warriors host Oregon State tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center, but Nash's role as the starting small forward is secure.
"Our other shooters aren't hitting either," Wallace said. "But that shooting is contagious. If Lojo (Matt Lojeski) and Matt (Gibson) start hitting, I guarantee Bobby will start loosening up and start hitting."
Nash's slump has not come through a lack of effort.
He has spent extra time in the gym every night since he shot 1 of 8 in Hawai'i's 79-67 victory over Coppin State on Monday. His father, Hawai'i associate coach Bob Nash, has been staying up late at night with him.
"We mostly work on fine-tuning stuff," Bobby said. "No wholesale changes or anything like that. Just small things, like turning my elbow in straight on every shot."
Bobby buzzed his hair prior to the Coppin State game, but said it had nothing to do with his shooting.
"One of my aunties actually called and said my hair looked messy on TV," he said.
He also turned to his father for help with the hair.
"My dad has been my barber since I was little," Bobby said. "I told him to take it down and he took it all off. But I can't complain. I mean, it was free."
Wallace said if there is a change in the lineup, it would come at the center position.
Stephen Verwers, a 6-11 junior, has three points and 11 rebounds in two starts for the 'Bows this season.
"I need more production at that spot," Wallace said. "The problem is, I don't know who can give it to us right now."
One option would be to start 7-foot sophomore Todd Follmer at center. Another option would be to put 6-8 junior P.J. Owsley at power forward and slide 6-8 senior Ahmet Gueye over to center.
In any case, all four big men — Gueye, Verwers, Follmer and Owsley — are expected to play significant roles against an Oregon State team that Wallace describes as "big and active."
SMITH EMBRACING ROLE AS SCOUT OF OPPONENTS
Hawai'i assistant coach Alika Smith has two young sons, but these days, his remote control is being used more for basketball games than on Disney videos.
One of Smith's primary duties this season will be to scout opponents for the 'Bows. This week, for example, he has reviewed several games of Oregon State.
"There's different ways people do it," he said. "Some break it down to just offense or just defense. I like to look at the whole game so that I get a feel for what a coach's tendencies might be in certain situations."
As the scout of opponents, Smith said he will probably be watching films — or live games on television — practically every day this season.
After tomorrow's home game against Oregon State, the 'Bows will play Hofstra in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout on Thursday.
"It's a nonstop thing," Smith said. "I'm looking at Oregon State right now, but I also know that I have to get ready to look at Hofstra right after that."
Smith, who is in his second season as an assistant at UH, did not handle the scouting of opponents last season (Bob Nash did).
Eran Ganot, Hawai'i's director of basketball operations, assists Smith by obtaining game films of upcoming opponents. Ganot also reviews the tapes and compares notes with Smith.
Smith and Ganot then incorporate the opponent's schemes into the Hawai'i practices.
'BOWS STILL RECRUITING FOR NEXT SEASON
The early signing period for basketball recruits ended on Wednesday, and Hawai'i did not sign anybody. But that does not mean the Hawai'i coaches are not recruiting.
"A lot of years we didn't sign guys early, so this is nothing different," Wallace said. "We're working on guys to bring in."
Wallace's status as head coach is still in limbo for next season, but he said his staff is operating "like we are going to come back."
"You have to do it that way," he said. "You want to keep the program going."
The 'Bows will have at least three scholarships to offer for the 2007-08 season. The late signing period for recruits is April 11 to May 16.
The Hawai'i coaches can not comment on potential recruits.
Former Hawai'i basketball coach Red Rocha is expected to attend tomorrow's game. He lives in Corvallis, Ore.
The first 8,000 fans to tomorrow's game will receive a rally towel courtesy of Oceanic Time Warner Cable.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.