Arnold works out returning players
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
The rebuilding of the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team is under way.
It started with a quick tuneup with the Rainbow Warriors who are eligible to return next season.
New head coach Gib Arnold got in his first workout with the returning 'Bows this week. With no assistant coaches in place, Arnold led the practices himself on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We have a lot of work to do, and that's a fair statement," Arnold said. "We need to improve in a lot of ways, and we can't sit around and wait for it to get done by itself. This was a good chance for me to see what these guys can do up close and personal."
In what is becoming an Arnold signature, there was a lot completed in a little time.
"Unfortunately, we're under some unique circumstances here, so I won't see these guys again for at least a week," Arnold said. "That's why I pushed them ... I thought they responded well."
Arnold departed Honolulu yesterday for a one-week recruiting trip.
In effect, the two practices this week served as a tryout of sorts, since Arnold can opt to release or retain any of the eligible returning players.
Among the players participating in the practices this week were Bill Amis, Zane Johnson, Douglas Kurtz, Jeremy Lay, Leroy Lutu Jr., Aleksandar Milovic, Hiram Thompson and Dwain Williams.
"Everybody was going really hard," Amis said. "We know this is a new era and coach is watching us to see what we can do. We all have to fight for playing time, and it starts now."
Arnold separated the team into two groups — guards and post players. He spent 40 minutes each day working with each group.
"Spring and summer are huge for individual players to get better," Arnold said. "We'll use this time to improve and get in shape while we're doing it."
The guards, especially, were pushed to the limit. Many of the drills featured full-court running and shooting.
"It was tough, it was intense," shooting guard Johnson said. "I almost threw up like three times.
"But it was good for us. He wants us to get up and down and shoot in the first eight seconds if you can get a good shot because that's when the defense is weakest. I like that."
Arnold said he would not make any roster decisions until he gets more opportunities to work with the returning players. He said he expects to schedule more practice sessions later this month.
KURTZ HAS PLAYED FOR ROESE IN PAST
New associate coach Walter Roese will not be able to join the 'Bows until later this month due to prior commitments with the Brazilian junior national team.
Seven-foot center and senior-to-be Douglas Kurtz said he is looking forward to working with Roese again. Roese coached Kurtz on Brazil's under-22 national team last summer.
"He's been coaching in the U.S. for many years and he has a lot of experience, so he's going to add to our success," Kurtz said. "And he's a good guy."
Kurtz said Roese is responsible for helping many Brazilian players find college programs in the United States.
"He helped me get to the U.S. and so many other guys I know," Kurtz said. "It would be nice if he can get more here."