Arnold gets 'first choice'
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
The official signing period for NCAA basketball players is still more than a week away, but new University of Hawai'i men's basketball head coach Gib Arnold got his first coaching "recruit."
Walter Roese, known for his extensive ties to Brazil and other South American countries, was officially named the associate coach for the Rainbow Warriors yesterday.
Arnold was named the head coach of the 'Bows on March 20, and Roese is now the first member of his staff.
"He was my first choice, honestly," Arnold said. "You could say he was my first recruit because once I got the job, getting Walter on board was my first priority. I went after him pretty hard."
Roese spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Nebraska. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at San Diego for one season, and at Brigham Young for two seasons.
Roese was also a player and volunteer assistant coach at BYU-Hawai'i in the 1990s.
"I got to know him over the years and found out a lot about his background and his ties to Hawai'i," Arnold said. "Obviously, that helped. I've always said that Hawai'i is a special place, and Walter is somebody who understands that."
Roese has also been a coach with Brazil's national basketball program since 2006. He is currently with Brazil's junior national team at a tournament in Germany, and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
But in a statement released through UH, Roese said: "My family and I are thrilled to be returning to Hawai'i, a place that has been so good to us, where my wife and I met, where we both went to school and where both our children were born. Some of the best years of my life have been spent in the islands and I'm proud to now be joining such a fine institution as the University of Hawai'i. I'm excited about Coach Arnold's vision and I look forward to raising my family in Hawai'i and helping build a championship program."
Because of his ties to the Brazilian national program, Roese has helped many players from South America sign with NCAA programs.
Roese even assisted in the process of getting Douglas Kurtz of Brazil to UH last season. Kurtz, a 7-foot reserve center, is eligible to return as a senior next season.
"It's not just Brazil, it's a lot of other countries," Arnold said. "Walter has contacts all over the world, basically."
Arnold said he first met Roese in 2001, when he was trying to recruit a Brazilian player.
"Everybody kept telling me to go through Walter," Arnold said. "I didn't even know who he was at the time, but I found out pretty quick how connected he was."
Roese was mentioned in a recent article in Sports Illustrated on international recruiting. The article notes that the recruiting of international players could become less restrictive under new NCAA legislation that could go into effect in August.
"Of course we hope that's going to be a big help for us," Arnold said.
In addition to recruiting, Roese will also be expected to fill various other duties, including game strategy.
"He'll be my right-hand man," Arnold said.
Arnold still has to fill two assistant coaching positions to complete his staff. The public postings for the assistant coach positions will remain open until Thursday.
"I interviewed a bunch of guys before I left for the Final Four, and then I interviewed a bunch more at the Final Four," Arnold said.
Arnold said he does not expect to make a decision on his next assistant until next week.