POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 25, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 01:35 a.m. HST, Jan 25, 2011
» Bryan Nakasone
» Hawaii Pacific
» Softball coach
It will be a little different feeling when Hawaii Pacific strides onto Howard Okita Field for its softball season opener Feb. 3.
The Sea Warriors have a new banner and a target on their collective backs as the defending NCAA Division II champions.
"Our mind-set ... of course, it's different," HPU coach Bryan Nakasone said. "We know this year will be tougher.
The Sea Warriors opened practice Jan. 10, but Nakasone said he started putting together the potential starting lineup Sunday. What he saw staring back was a very young squad.
"We had all sophomores in the infield and that was quite amazing," the 1968 Saint Louis School graduate said. "But we're pretty solid on offense and defense.
"It's the pitching that is questionable, a bit suspect. Softball is all about pitching. It may not be there this year, but we're working on it."
Nakasone, a retired deputy chief for the Federal Fire Department, has been part of the HPU staff for 18 seasons. It's his love of the game that keeps the former shortstop and catcher for the Crusaders coming back season after season.
"It's a way to give back, and I feel good that we can give the local kids the opportunity to get a college education," said Nakasone, whose current 22-player roster has 15 Hawaii prep products. "Winning at the D-II level is not the priority. Of course we strive to win, but we try to propel the student-athlete.
"To be honest, every year I think I'll just go one more year and that's it. But as long as I am enjoying it, I want to keep doing it. I'm excited to open the season."
But the commitment does come with disappointments. Sunday, Nakasone had to turn down what he considered a real honor: to be the featured speaker at Kailua Little League's opening day April 2.
"I grew up in Kailua, played for Kailua National Little League," he said. "But I had to tell them no, we (will be) on the road."
The Brigham Young-Hawaii men's basketball team will make its first appearance on national television this season when the Seasiders (9-4, 4-0 PacWest) travel to Grand Canyon (8-6, 3-1) on Saturday.
The NCAA Division II National Game of the Week in Phoenix will be on CBS College Sports (OC 247) at 9 a.m. Hawaii time. It is only the second time in three seasons that the PacWest has been featured in the national game of the week. Dixie State hosted Chaminade in 2009 in the national game of the week.
Chaminade senior guard Steven Bennett was named the conference player of the week in men's basketball after helping rally the Silverswords to a 98-94 win in overtime last week at Hawaii-Hilo.
Bennett scored 37 points -- second most by a PacWest player this season -- with eight rebounds and five assists. He shot 50 percent from the floor (11-for-22), including a 4-for-8 performance from 3-point range. He also was 11-for-12 from the free-throw line to keep the Silverswords unbeaten in conference play at 4-0.
» Tsung-Hsein "Jet" Chang, BYUH: The junior scored 29 points with five rebounds and three assists in the Seasiders' 87-84 double overtime win over Hawaii Pacific. His 25 field-goal attempts is a PacWest high this season.
» Dominique Cooks, Chaminade: The sophomore guard scored 13 points and added seven rebounds as the Silverswords snapped Hawaii-Hilo's eight-game winning streak in overtime.
» Jason Jackson, HPU: The junior forward scored 31 points with nine rebounds and three steals in the double-overtime loss to BYUH.
» Justin Smith, UHH: The senior forward scored 24 points with four assists in the Vulcans' overtime loss to Chaminade.
» Marques Whippy, BYUH: The senior guard had a double-double (25 points and 15 rebounds) with three steals to keep the Seasiders unbeaten in conference (4-0) with the win over Hawaii Pacific in two OTs.
» Zach Wilde, UHH: The junior forward had 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the overtime loss to Chaminade.
» Jordan Ahakuelo, CU: The freshman guard had 16 points and five steals in a loss to Hawaii-Hilo.
» Courtney Buster, HPU: The senior center had 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Sea Warriors won their 10th straight, outlasting BYUH in two overtimes 78-74.
» Paris Gravely, HPU: The junior guard had a game-high 21 points with three steals and two assists against BYUH, helping the Sea Warriors stay atop the conference standings at 5-0.
» Kristen Hartley, BYUH: The sophomore forward averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in an 0-2 week for the Seasiders.
» Hillary Hurley, UHH: The junior forward led the conference with a 14.0 rebound average in two wins for the Vulcans. She also had 28 points with five blocked shots to keep UHH unbeaten in the PacWest at 4-0.
|Hawaii Pacific||2||3||.400||2 1/2||7-10|
|Acad. of Art||1||5||.167||4||4-12|
|den Dulk, HPU||17||53||95||.558|
41: Whippy, BYUH. 22: Gipson, UHH. 20: Speed, GCU. 19: Bennett, CU. 18: Robotham, AAU. 17: Barnes, DSC. 16: Williams, AAU. 15: Fricke, NDU. 13: Gameren, BYUH; Chang, BYUH; Ale, BYUH.
49: Diarra, CU. 23: Fricke, NDNU. 21: Ngoundjo, GCU. 17: Kone, AAU. 13: Shipman, UHH; Smith, UHH.
|Grand Canyon||3||1||.750||1 1/2||15-2|
|Acad. of Art||2||4||.333||3 1/2||4-11|
|L. Zasly, NDNU||87||23||44||16.1|
|K. Zasly, NDNU||76||14||58||14.9|
44: Nelson, GCU. 43: Murphy, GCU. 41: Rieben, BYUH. 40: Hill, Dom. 33: Tompkison, BYUH; K. Zasly, NDNU. 29: Nolan, AAU. 28: Gravely, HPU. 27: Awa-Williams, HPU.
52: Carlson, DSC. 17: Buster, HPU. 12: English, AAU. 11: Hopkins, HPU.
PacWest Magazine: 8 p.m., OC 16 and oc16.tv.
Women: Hawaii Pacific at Notre Dame de Namur, 3:30 p.m.; Hawaii-Hilo at Academy of Art, 5:30 p.m.
Men: Hawaii Pacific at Notre Dame de Namur, 5:30 p.m.; Hawaii-Hilo at Academy of Art, 7:30 p.m.
Women: Brigham Young-Hawaii at Dixie State, Chaminade at Grand Canyon, 2 p.m.; Hawaii-Hilo at Domincan, Hawaii Pacific at Academy of Art, 3:30 p.m.
Men: Brigham Young-Hawaii at Dixie State, Chaminade at Grand Canyon, 4 p.m. Hawaii-Hilo at Domincan, Hawaii Pacific at Academy of Art, 5:30 p.m.
Women: Brigham Young-Hawaii at Grand Canyon, 11:30 a.m.; Chaminade at Dixie State, 2:30 p.m.; Hawaii-HIlo at Notre Dame de Namur, Hawaii Pacific at Dominican, 3:30 p.m.
Men: Brigham Young-Hawaii at Grand Canyon, 9 a.m.; Chaminade at Dixie State, 4 p.m.; Hawaii-Hilo at Notre Dame de Namur, Hawaii Pacific at Dominican, 5 p.m.