Nash could help cause with wins
Two rows behind the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team's bench athletic director Jim Donovan sits arms tightly crossed, face cemetery somber these days.
You have to wonder what is going through his mind during games like last night's dispiriting 67-51 loss to Utah State as the Rainbow Warriors' struggles deepen and the time for a decision on head coach Bob Nash's contract rapidly approaches.
Nash is in the waning stages of the second year of a three-year contract, a clause in which specifies that a "satisfactory performance evaluation" triggers an extension.
It is an extension you'd like to see him get; one the building of the program practically requires at this point.
But there has been little "satisfactory" about the 9-10 (1-6 Western Athletic Conference) 'Bows' of late. Showings like last night, when UH fell behind in the first half by 21 points and never got closer than 12 thereafter, do not help make a case for the defense.
Seeing some in a modest gathering of 4,100 file out of the Stan Sheriff Center with 7 minutes, 46 seconds left as the 'Bows skidded to a fifth consecutive loss to remain mired in last place in the sad-sack WAC does not trumpet confidence. Neither does 3-of-19 shooting from 3-point range.
Nash's status — which Donovan has declined to discuss publicly — comes with a built-in dilemma this year. Call it the $240,000 question (believed to be the amount of Nash's annual salary).
If UH doesn't grant the extension, Nash is rendered a hobbled, if not lame, duck of sorts heading into a crucial recruiting campaign. Teams going against UH would be sure to make hay, reminding prospective recruits that Nash will be heading into a third — and possibly last — year of his contract. Hardly a UH selling point for a freshman or junior college transfer.
That carries particular weight this year since the 'Bows do not have any seniors and need only to invest their two available scholarships in the right pieces to return a potentially formidable team next year. Add the right point guard and shooter and the 2009-'10 season has intriguing possibilities. Of course, had UH solved those now glaring problems last year, they wouldn't be folding in the face of zone defenses right now.
Ex-athletic director Herman Frazier put UH — and Nash — in a bind when the job was awarded late in the recruiting season two years ago. Not giving Nash the extension this time would only serve to compound the transgression.
But then, Nash can help himself with a few wins right now, too.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com or 525-8044.