POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 14, 2010
There are a litany of questions among Hawaii basketball fans about Gib Arnold's new-look Rainbow Warriors.
"How well can they do the haka?" probably isn't on that list, but will be answered nonetheless tomorrow night at the UH Ohana Hoopfest, which coincides with the start of men's basketball official practices across the country.
HOOPFEST SCHEDULEThe UH Ohana Hoopfest is tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center, following the 7 p.m. UH volleyball match. Admission is free.
» 9:15 p.m.: UH dance team performance
» 9:23: Hypersquad Dance Co. performance
» 9:30: Introduction of women's team
» 9:45: Women's celebrity game
» 10:00: Student halfcourt shot contest
» 10:05: Introduction of men's team
» 10:20: Men's celebrity game
» 10:40: Men's and women's autograph session
Note: Times are approximate
"A little bit of Polynesia will be involved. The guys, there may be some dancing going on," said a coy Arnold yesterday.
That, and other festivities with the unveiled UH men's and women's hoops teams are set to start at approximately 9:15 p.m., following the UH volleyball team's match against San Jose State. Admission at that point is free.
The haka idea came about when Arnold saw the dance group of Mana Gauthier practicing on campus. The new coach talked to the former UH golfer about working the team through some lessons.
But can it be anywhere close to the quality of the UH football team's version?
"It's so completely opposite of my element, but I definitely enjoyed working on it, and I hope the fans enjoy it," said junior point guard Anthony Salter, a Tallahassee, Fla., native and one of 10 newcomers to Hawaii. "I don't want to offend anybody if we don't do it well enough. I know that's big to the culture and things like that. I'ma go out there, give it my best shot, get the dances down perfectly so I make a good impression."
As for whether the coaches would participate, a grinning Arnold called that a "game-time decision."
The Rainbow Warriors will conduct their first official practice of the season shortly before the Hoopfest.
"We're not saving up for the dance. We're probably going to try to work hard in the practice before," Arnold said. "But I have a feeling they'll have some energy, especially if we get some good crowd out there. They'll be able to have some fun."
Dana Takahara-Dias' women's team also is expected to perform a dance.
Among the other highlights for the Hoopfest are two celebrity games, one each for the UH men and women. The UH players will be mixed in on opposite sides with the celebs. Arnold said cast members from "Dog the Bounty Hunter," "Hawaii Five-O," and "The Iron Chef" will participate, along with local politicians and personalities.
"We're not going to try to hurt nobody. ... Just going to have fun," said Douglas Kurtz, the 7-foot, 268-pound Brazilian center.
There will be an autograph session afterward.
Children's hospital visit
The entire UH men's team visited with ailing children at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children yesterday.
The team greeted several patients in their rooms and autographed "H"-branded towels for them as mementos.
"I think the guys got just as much, if not more, out of it than the kids, and we hope to continue to do that," Arnold said.