POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 9, 2010
Miah Ostrowski put his hands on his knees. Sweat trickled off his brow, falling past his new practice jersey and onto the Stan Sheriff Center court.
At last, the former Punahou All-State star in football and basketball can play both at the University of Hawaii. With the blessing of UH football coach Greg McMackin, the slotback will officially join Gib Arnold's Rainbow Warriors after the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24, in time for the WAC hoops season.
"I missed it ... that's for sure," Ostrowski said after light participation in yesterday's practice. "Every time I saw it, I always wanted to be out here, and I'm just glad the opportunity finally came. I'll try to make the best of it."
While football will still be his primary sport until after the bowl game, the explosive 5-foot-9 point guard will do some noncontact work and instructional drills with the basketball team to help him get up to speed. He remains on football scholarship and will have two years to play basketball.
The addition of Ostrowski comes at a good time for the Rainbows, who lost dissatisfied reserve guards Anthony Salter and Jordan Coleman just seven games into their UH careers. Yesterday felt more like the spring signing period, when players come and go, than another practice day in December.
Arnold said both players -- Salter a junior out of Iowa Western Community College and Coleman a freshman from Calabasas (Calif.) High in Los Angeles -- expressed displeasure about low playing time and requested out.
"I think there's thousands of guys who'd love to be in their situation, and if they don't want to be here, then they should move on and find a better situation for them," Arnold said. "And I hope they do, I like them both as people. They're both really good kids, but they weren't happy here and I think that's too bad, because I think this is a great place."
Ostrowski wants to be there. He would have performed a crossover last year after football, but he was needed with his family after his grandmother died.
Arnold said he hasn't judged what Ostrowski's role will be, as he so far knows him strictly by reputation. But he will help, regardless. UH was down to nine active players -- including just four guards.
"It helps us with practice, helps with game planning. It's going to help for the season," said Arnold, who'd spoken to McMackin in the spring about Ostrowski, and again after the recently completed football regular season. "Here's a guy who was playing slotback and can come in ... and start traveling with us in a couple of weeks."
Ostrowski said he felt like his game was intact, except for his jumper, which would come with repetition. He's played hoops lightly since graduating from Punahou in 2007.
"All this is new to me," he said. "It's different having 10 teammates compared to 120, you know what I mean?"
UH (5-2) plays Hawaii Pacific (3-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center.