Two in running to join UH staff
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Walter Roese and Brandyn Akana have emerged as the leading candidates to join the staff of the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team, according to several sources familiar with the situation.
Gib Arnold was named head coach of the Rainbow Warriors on March 20, and his search for a three-man staff started immediately.
The opening for an associate coach was posted from March 10 through yesterday. The postings for two other assistant coach positions will remain open until April 8.
Arnold, who is on a recruiting trip in Las Vegas, said he could not comment on personnel issues until the hirings become official.
Roese, who is an assistant coach at Nebraska, is believed to be the front runner for the associate coach position.
Roese started his collegiate playing career at Houston, but eventually finished at Brigham Young-Hawai'i, where he later became a volunteer assistant coach during the 1990s.
After playing professional basketball in Brazil, he returned to the United States for stints as an assistant coach at BYU (Provo) and University of San Diego before becoming an assistant at Nebraska in 2008.
Roese is known for his extensive ties to basketball players and coaches in Brazil and other South American countries. He has served as an assistant coach for Brazil's national team, and head coach for the country's junior national team.
Akana is believed to be a leading candidate for one of the assistant positions under Arnold.
Akana acknowledged last night that he has been contacted by Arnold, but said "nothing is official."
Akana has been an assistant coach at BYU-Hawai'i since 2001. He also played four seasons for the Seasiders in the mid-1990s.
"I'm still with BYUH — I have a recruiting trip next week to recruit players to come to BYUH," Akana said. "But, of course, I would love the opportunity to coach at UH. For me, that would be a big step."
Akana is the younger brother of former UH player Jarinn Akana. They are both Moloka'i High graduates.
Eran Ganot, an assistant coach for the past three seasons at Hawai'i under Bob Nash, is also being considered for a position on Arnold's staff.
COLEMAN REMAINS COMMITTED TO UH
Jordan Coleman said last night he will play for the Hawai'i basketball team next season.
Coleman, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard at Calabasas High in California, signed a national letter of intent with Hawai'i in November, when Nash was still the head coach of the 'Bows.
Coleman said he met with Arnold on Wednesday, and was assured that his letter of intent would be honored.
"Just two days ago, I was wondering if I would even get the chance to play college basketball," Coleman said. "But after talking to Coach Arnold, I'm so relieved. He told me that he saw me play before and he still wanted me to come to play at Hawai'i, so I'll be coming out there."
Coleman averaged around 20 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2.5 assists per game during his just-completed senior season.
Arnold said: "We had a good meeting and he's the type of kid who will fit in at UH. He's got a nice game. He has to develop and get stronger, as a lot of freshmen do, but we're going to work together to get better."
Coleman was named the Ventura County Player of the Year, and was selected to play in next month's "Battle of the Valley" all-star game at Northridge, Calif.
He was the only recruit signed for next season while Nash was still the coach.
Coleman said Arnold was a familiar face at Calabasas games during the past two seasons. When Arnold was an assistant coach at USC, he recruited Calabasas forward Evan Smith.
Smith, the son of former high-scoring UH player Ga-vin Smith, just completed his freshman season with the Trojans.
"I never really met Coach Arnold before, but I knew who he was because he was recruiting my teammate, Evan," Coleman said. "What I really liked was that he told me there were a lot of good players in the California area where I'm from and he wanted to keep recruiting from that area."