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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UH must step up for Nash's sake

By Ferd Lewis

The hope is still that the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team will somehow manage to find itself and make something of this season while it can.

The wish, at least among those who have followed Rainbow Warrior head coach Bob Nash since his days with the storied Fabulous Five of the early 1970s, is that there is a providential five- or six-game winning streak in his immediate future.

But the reality of the moment is that this season is getting away from the 'Bows.

They are 8-9 and have lost three of four WAC games. Too many of them badly as Monday's record-setting 98-54 loss at Utah State, the worst in conference annals for UH, underlined.

The accumulated history of 30 previous WAC seasons tells us the 'Bows have never been under .500 at this point of their season and pulled out a winning record.

The deluge of debilitating turnovers, inconsistent shooting and flickering intensity hasn't inspired much hope of a sudden turnaround, either.

That's got to change and in a hurry because if it doesn't, beginning with the three-game homestand that opens Sunday, athletic director Jim Donovan is going to have little recourse but work toward a change. That's if he isn't already.

Nash is 32-45 in his third season and careening toward a third consecutive losing campaign. With so many returnees, much more was expected of this team and Nash acknowledged as much with a pledge to win 18 games.

Eighteen wins or a post-season appearance being the agreed upon bottom lines for extending a contract due to expire next season.

Donovan gave Nash a year's extension on the original three-year deal served up by Herman Frazier in large part to bolster this past year's recruiting. To be sure the injury to Bill Amis was a setback and last week's WAC road schedule was brutal

But these 'Bows haven't played with the night in and night out consistency they should be capable of, either So, falling short of a winning season, especially if they fail to make the WAC Tournament or are a first-round casualty, will be an invitation to shake the athletic department piggy bank for a buy-out attempt.

And the remaining year on Nash's contract, unlike football coach Greg McMackin's annual $1.1 million deal, could be bought out for around $250,000, we're told.

That's still a lot of money for a department with a backlog of red ink, but without substantial signs of progress, it becomes a question of whether the status quo is more costly in the long run.