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Friday, December 19, 2014         

Further Review

Here's the good news for the University of Hawaii basketball team. The Warriors get to play a team they will probably beat today. And that's about it.

Full-speed ahead. That's the vibe I got from Ben Jay when he was finally introduced as the University of Hawaii's new athletic director on Thursday.

In this season of giving, the University of Hawaii is displaying its generosity.

The magic number for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is 14,500. That's how many people are needed in the Aloha Stadium seats on Christmas Eve to guarantee its existence a year from now.

The last thing the University of Hawaii wants to do is follow up the Wonder Blunder with the Temple of Doom. So when the Owls came a-hootin' around again recently about playing a football game here, the Warriors brass was rightfully cautious.

“Te’o’s status as a pure defender is kryptonite to his candidacy.” — Chris Huston, publisher, HeismanPundit.com

It's time. It's actually past time. Some would say way overdue. But even those of us who know it is important to give Norm Chow plenty of latitude to build a program his way from the bottom up see it clearly.

We start with the obvious disclaimer. The opponent was Hawaii-Hilo. Division II. Significantly less-talented. Much smaller. So the Division I big sisters from Manoa did what they were supposed to do Friday when the Wahine hoopsters took care of the visiting Vulcans by 25 points in a preseason exhibition.

Nothing like a little quarterback controversy to deflect the heat off a coach, who may or may not be unwillingly nearing the end of his term, eh? Actually, the two issues are intermeshed in the University of Hawaii football team's current situation.

This wasn't how it was supposed to end for Bryant Moniz, but it almost seemed inevitable. With all the injuries depleting his offensive line and receivers, it's a testament to Moniz's elusiveness and toughness that he didn't get badly hurt sooner than Saturday, in UH's 10th game of the season.

RENO, NEV. » Thankfully, for all concerned, that was quite possibly the shortest eve-of-the-game walk-through in football history. It was a mere 30 minutes of moving around the Mackay Stadium field for the University of Hawaii team in preparation for tonight's game against Nevada’s Wolf Pack.

RENO, Nev. » Joe Sellers knew Chris Ault way back in the 1960s, when a pistol was just a gun, not a trendy football offense.

As Kamehameha football coach David Stant walked off the Aloha Stadium field last week, an intended well-wisher told him good luck in states.

Never fear, University of Hawaii football fans. The Punahou Mafia is here. The hui that saved Rainbow Warriors basketball by bringing you the son of a coach who failed miserably at UH is ready for more bold covert action.

You can talk about flukey plays and maybe a bad official’s call here and there that went the other way. Because there were some. To the credit of University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin and his players, they didn’t do that. They didn’t make excuses; they accepted accountability.

So what'd ole Santa leave in your stocking? Nah, I'm not five months ahead of schedule, or seven months late. You know what I'm talking about if you're a fan of an NFL or MLB team, especially if that team happens to be based in Philadelphia.

Last year was supposed to be Kahuku's year. This year is supposed to be Kahuku's year. Remember when every year was Kahuku's year? Now, things are on hold again, this time because of turmoil at the top.

We've been down this road before. Twice actually, in 2003 and 2007.

In a perfect world the schedule wouldn't matter in college football. But there it is, and that's why Nevada — despite losing a couple of superstars to the NFL — is in a great position to win at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference football championship, as it did last year, tying with Hawaii and Boise State.

"Perhaps there was room for an interloper, a haole, a redneck Jew-boy such as myself, under this beautiful Hebrew rainbow." Aaron Pribble came up with that passage from Israel in 2007. Four years later at the Ward Starbucks he has a seemingly unrelated trivia question for me.

Is that all there is? There'd better be more to come from the University of Hawaii and a couple of whiny hoopsters.

Here's a new one: Ownership requesting formation of a union. Yes, technically it's re-formation of the NFL Players Association, but it's still an example of how complicated, crazy and turned-around things can get in labor negotiations -- especially when you're talking about highly-specialized laborers like the best football players in the world.

With few exceptions, sportscasters used to be processed with a cookie cutter. Now — and perhaps we can partially thank ESPN's penchant for employing quirky anchors — it's vive la différence.

He went to every meet. He was extremely involved, knew everything about the athletes and followed all levels of competition. Then his kid graduated, completing her high school track and field career. And superfan was never seen again.

He's given everything. Now he's even bled on some who were at ringside Saturday night. When that right eye swelled up and started to drip crimson midway through Saturday's fight at the Blaisdell, it looked like Brian Viloria's chance at a third world championship might fall by the wayside.

If you follow sports closer than other goings-on at the University of Hawaii (and you probably do), you can consider M.R.C. Greenwood undefeated in the big games. She is 1-0.

Seven months later and the honeymoon has yet to end for Brian and Erica Viloria, who were wed last Dec. 3 at the Royal Hawaiian.

Many of my friends maintain very high standards when it comes to fitness for enshrinement in sports halls of fame.

The end of the road on Sept. 16, 1998, was Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., 150 miles from home at the time in Gainesville. Prone on the backseat of my friend Mark Cooper's car, stricken by food poisoning, it seemed we crossed three time zones, not just three counties.

Tate Forcier became more than just a subject of idle offseason chatter Thursday with the not-so-surprising revelation that the former Michigan quarterback will make an official visit to the University of Hawaii next week.

Shane Victorino has a banged-up thumb right now. So the Phillies center fielder from Maui might have a hard time voting for himself a few thousand times to help ensure making the National League All-Star team as the last man in.

For Larry Beil this week, aloha means welcome home.
But the former KGMB sports director, University of Hawaii radio play-by-play voice and ESPN SportsCenter anchor can never completely escape his current San Francisco viewer base — even while on vacation home in Hawaii.

It's not really supposed to be this way, but in most cases perfection is relative. We already knew it was fleeting.

One day, Busch Stadium, the next day the bush leagues. But it’s still all good for Kolten Wong.
Nah ... make that all great.

It’s a stock question, one I’ve been tossing at former high school athletes for a long time. As it turns out, maybe too long.

The most telling quote during Thursday’s NBA Draft coverage came from Jonas Valanciunas, who might someday play for the Toronto Raptors.

Neil Abercrombie has a long history of bluntly and loudly questioning authority and taking non-establishment points of view. That’s what you do when you’re a campus activist.

Pierce Murphy took a rare day off Saturday ... mostly because he doesn’t know the running routes around Waikiki all that well.

The nonconference schedule is very big for Hawaii this football season: Sept. 1, at Wisconsin; Sept. 3, against Georgia in Atlanta; Sept. 10, at Arkansas; Sept. 17, Colorado; Sept. 24, Nebraska AND at Michigan.

Once again, the state high school athletic directors annual confab can be noted more for what is not being discussed and voted upon than what is.

Scott Terna has a front-row seat at the circus, but it's a circus of frowning clowns. The former Punahou athlete and Ohio State punter (1993-94) lives in Buckeye headquarters, Columbus, Ohio.

As human beings and sports fans, we tend to remember what happens last. That's too bad for the University of Hawaii athletic department. Overall, UH had a fine 2010-11 sports year. But even some of the best UH teams didn't leave the best final impression.

Jayson Rego didn't get a lot of playing time, and, hence, didn't harbor big expectations for a pro football career when his five years as a running back at the University of Hawaii concluded in 2009.

If you're of a certain age you might remember when it was acceptable and often encouraged at all levels of baseball to plow into a catcher with the intent of dislodging the ball and scoring a run.

These days I don't really have favorite athletes as much as favorite people, some of whom happen to be athletes.

Hey, relax there, New Mexico State. It's not the end of the world. But rapture had to look good to the Aggies after losing 24-3 to Hawaii yesterday. That was a college baseball game, by the way.

Is there a statute of limitations on unauthorized moonlighting? Reason I ask is if a reward exists for reporting such a heinous crime, I'd like to file a report, officer.

There's no logic to explain this one. And, then again, it's no surprise to those who have been watching it happen -- and those who have been making it happen -- over and over again all season.

Has it really been three years already? Three years since the end of the Colton (Brennan) Era and the start of the Kolten (Wong) Era in University of Hawaii sports?

A group of University of Hawaii athletes watched from the side as their school hosted the Western Athletic Conference track and field championships this week, wondering why they can't be in the competition.

Shaquille Stokes. You gotta love the name of the University of Hawaii's latest basketball recruit, right? It screams hoops, doesn't it?

Bern Brostek was robbed. He never got the respect he deserved as an NFL offensive lineman. We're not talking All-Pro, although I suppose you could make a case for that if you wanted. No, something even more select ... All-Madden.

You don't have to believe in the supernatural to understand the Moanalua baseball team and its relationship with a star pitcher from its 2010 team, Zach Manago.

Welcome to the big time, Boise State. There’s no way you could be this good for this long without cheating, and the NCAA knows it.

"So, does she hit one out now to win it?" It was the bottom of the seventh. The PA guy, Mark Carpenter, wanted to know if he could start packing up, or if we were headed for extra innings at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

You work hard all through college to prepare. At the career fair, you prove you can handle the heavy lifting and complete all required tasks quickly. At the interviews, you answer all the questions, even the stupid ones, the right way.

The University of Hawaii should be embarrassed. Apparently dots for the i’s and crosses for the t’s are in such short supply on campus that there aren’t enough to complete contracts for UH coaches in a timely manner.

You can call them the ultimate reality shows. hey meet the criteria of not having anything to do with OUR reality. One is about guys most of us will never meet getting their first jobs out of college. The other is about a couple none of us know, getting married in a faraway land.

OK, those of you thinking it but afraid to say it, come on.
Repeat after me: Pink stinks.
Too much of it does, that is.

My favorite book when I was a kid was "The Baseball Encyclopedia." It was mostly a 20-pound compilation of the stats of everyone who ever played in the majors.

When I told a friend I was covering Punahou baseball yesterday, he got very excited about the prospect of the Buffanblu losing, and losing by a lot.

At least they made it interesting, sort of. That's about all you can say regarding the University of Hawaii baseball team's 3-0 loss yesterday at the hands of Louisiana Tech and the left arm of its starting pitcher, Mike Jefferson.

The Warrior Bowl ended and most of the players gathered with family and friends to begin their weekend. For Jordan Monico, however, it was time to go to work.

Dave Aranda doesn't get the erase part of dry erase. he board on his office wall overflows with X's and O's, and it's hard to tell where one play begins and another ends.

Mufi Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor, says he’s “seriously looking at” a run at the United States senate when retiring Daniel Akaka’s seat opens up next year.

My original plan for yesterday had nothing to do with the Masters, except to periodically check on how my fantasy golf lineup was doing. Generally, I view watching golf on TV the same way George Carlin did, including a sentiment that can't be printed here.

Since everything's about budgets and expenses these days, let's get right to the first question Tommy Taxpayer will have about the University of Hawaii football team's day trip to the Big Island yesterday.

Secrets to Garrett Champion’s success? One is home cookin’. What’s on the plate at dinner time helps Champion in his work behind it at gametime. The University of Hawaii junior catcher prepares his own healthy meals.

Dwight Toyama deserves a happy, peaceful retirement. After all, here is a man who literally gave of himself to a stranger. In 2002, Toyama donated a kidney ... not to a family member or friend, but to the person needing it most.

Kaniela Tuipulotu wincing in pain, pulling off his pads, receiving treatment. Vaughn Meatoga limping around the field, also out of the action. Relax, University of Hawaii football fans, no one's trying to scare you. Neither of the stellar starting defensive tackles is seriously injured or expected to be out of spring practice for long.

It was a classic college baseball series — meaning plenty of runs, 54 in four games to be exact. And since many more of them were scored by Hawaii than Wichita State, the Rainbows can head into the start of conference play next week with a full tank of confidence.

What’s not to like for isle basketball fans about this Final Four? Three of the teams played in Hawaii last November and December, and the one that didn’t is coached by a fellow named Shaka.

He was on the eighth floor and the building kept shaking. Kevin Jackson, 29, had a lot of time to ponder if he was going to get out alive, or if this was going to be "like 9/11."

Somebody brushed off the old "Who's on First?" routine and it blared through the Les Murakami Stadium speakers.

It didn't take long. Just 1 second from utter frustration to sincere appreciation. Quickly after the realization that it was over — the final opportunity frittered, the dream extinguished — the Brigham Young-Hawaii fans broke into long, steady clapping.

In his job, Wes Pratt puts out blazes. In his hobby, he fans the flames.

Hawaii baseball finally got over the .500 hump with its 5-0 win over Centenary yesterday. A victory today for a four-game sweep would be huge as the Rainbows (10-9) prepare to host No. 13 Cal State Fullerton (11-7) and No. 26 Wichita State (13-6) in back-to-back series before the WAC schedule starts.

With about 5 minutes left in last night’s game, I started to really think about how much I’d miss watching Bill Amis play basketball. Sure, Hawaii was up by seven, and then by nine when the senior forward scored with 4:11 left.

My March Madness brackets have been so bad in recent years I figured it was time to lower expectations. So I picked a bunch of underdogs in the office pool with the idea that my chance of winning it all anyway was the same as Alabama State's: slim and none. And Slim left town Wednesday, town being Dayton, Ohio, home of what they now call the First Four.

Was the Stan Sheriff Center half full or half empty last night?
All depends on how you want to look at it.

Remember that movie "Fever Pitch?" Maybe not. It was pretty lame. It's not cool to disguise a romantic comedy as a sports flick. There were only a couple of things I liked about it.

University of Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso greeted me with a smile after yesterday's game. Not a happy smile. "You'll have fun with this one," he said. I tried to explain I take no joy in documenting his team losing, especially an implosion like the one yesterday.

Let's face it. MMA in Hawaii is dead on its legs.

Come closer, because I have to whisper this. Go ahead and make your plans to be at the Stan Sheriff Center next Tuesday. But do it quietly, please. Don't distract the University of Hawaii men's basketball team. If the Rainbows even know that they're a lock to play in the postseason (that is, if the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament counts), they aren't talking about it.

When Lenn Sakata watched the San Francisco Giants win the World Series last fall it was with mixed emotions. A lot of the Giants were his guys, players he'd helped to the major leagues when he managed the high Class A San Jose Giants.

There's no threat of a lockout here. It's early March, and this year that means it's football season in Manoa. Fall camp is in the summer, so there's no reason why University of Hawaii spring practice can't start in winter, right?

A key figure from the 1980 College World Series was recently voted into the College Baseball Foundation Hall of Fame. However, in what has to be disappointing for University of Hawaii fans, it's not Les Murakami, who coached the Rainbows to a runner-up finish in Omaha that year.

Americans hated him for being Japanese and Japanese hated him for being American. Death threats from the yakuza and rocks from the stands were an exotic and dangerous twist. Lonely status as an unwanted outsider was nothing new; if anything, it was a recurring theme of the early years for Wally Yonamine, who died Monday at 85.

It's one of those confounding things about baseball. In the short term, it would have been better if Conner George did anything other than what he did with the bases loaded and one out. Even if he'd struck out.

What a doubleheader for University of Hawaii sports fans, even those who didn't get to see the conclusion of the baseball team's 5-4, 15-inning victory over Texas.

Don't worry too much about all those zeroes next to "RAINBOWS" on the Les Murakami Stadium scoreboard last night.

All fans of the NFL certainly agree it's a big positive that representatives of the owners and players have finally found themselves in the same room the past few days, negotiating to avoid a lockout, work stoppage or whatever you want to call it.

Hawaii was full of energy and spirit and fight and all those other good things you like in a team the first two games of its opening series with Oregon.

The chants came from the students behind the Kamehameha bench as Micah Christenson went to the free-throw line. Warriors leading by more than enough, 22 seconds left to a state basketball championship.

A sleeker Kolten Wong than the one who hit 18 home runs in his first two seasons at the University of Hawaii greeted us before practice at Les Murakami Stadium this week, as the preseason All-American and his fellow Rainbows completed preparations for tonight's season opener against Oregon.

Two days ago we weren't even sure Hawaii would make it to the men's basketball conference tournament. After the stirring overtime win against Nevada on Monday it still hasn't technically punched its ticket to Las Vegas.

Those bye weeks in football can cut either way. A hot team can cool off and lose its sharpness. But, generally, especially late in the season as injuries and other stresses pile up, extra time between games is considered heaven-sent.

Chad Owens is a bright guy, always has been. And with a recent important career decision he finds himself in the company of another intelligent young man, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

The doubters had to love that first time around the lineup. The Michele Smiths of the world and all the other softball traditionalists who want to go back to the 11-inning, 1-0 snoozefests would have been overjoyed.

Check out the fence. It's the one that the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine knocked so many softballs over last year that UH broke the NCAA record for home runs.


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