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‘Second season’ starts for Rainbows

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Hawaii's Bill Amis drove past Chaminade's Mamadou Diarra in the first half at Stan Sheriff Center.
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The shift in season was made clear the moment Gib Arnold walked into the Stan Sheriff Center.

Arnold, the first-year Hawaii men’s basketball coach, wore a shirt emblazoned with the longstanding logo of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

"Coach (Brandyn) Akana brought one in, he found it in the storage room," Arnold said. "I figured I’d put it on, get (the team) excited about playing in it."

Some savoring of Hawaii’s exhibition Saturday night against Chaminade, an 83-55 UH win, would have been understandable. It was a success for the Rainbow Warriors in both style and result, capping weeks of preseason education of the new coach’s style and sets.

Arnold’s message to his team yesterday: big deal.

He has a mind on larger things. Namely, this weekend’s round-robin-style Rainbow Classic, which will test the Rainbows with three games in four days to start the season.

"We talked to the team this morning about, there’s four seasons. We just finished the first season on Saturday night. That was your preseason conditioning," Arnold said. "Now, the preseason (nonconference) games start this week. That’s the second season, which leads us to the WAC season. Which leads us to the postseason. All four are extremely valuable and we can’t have a day back, an hour back from the first season."

UH opens on Friday against Montana State at 7 p.m., and follows with Cal State Fullerton on Saturday and Central Michigan in an ESPN-televised late-night game on Monday.

Arnold is still tinkering with potential starting lineups. Several Rainbows gave him something to think about against the Division II Silverswords, most notably sophomore forward Joston Thomas (25 points, seven rebounds) and freshman guard Bo Barnes (11 points, 4-for-4 shooting, three steals).

Seniors Hiram Thompson (six assists, no turnovers) and Bill Amis (14 points, seven rebounds, three blocks) were solid, as was junior Zane Johnson (13 points, 2-for-4 on 3s).

Other positives were a 10-for-10 effort on free throws, 48.5 percent shooting on field goals and just nine turnovers committed against 20 forced.

Thomas, who showed his versatility with two 3-pointers, a power dunk, and some swooping layups, put all that out of his mind. Quickly.

"Soon as the clock went ‘EHHHHH’ and everybody went back to the locker room," said Thomas, imitating the sound of the final horn. "It was an exhibition, it was a D-II school. I mean, we D-I, so we gotta move past that. Everybody wins their exhibition games by 30. North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, UConn. You name ’em. So we gotta move past that. That’s that."

Barnes was happy with his performance off the bench and appreciated the exhibition crowd of about 3,500. He likewise was focused on the task ahead.

"I was a little nervous before (tip-off), but I just wanted to go out in my mind’s eye and just try not to play as nervous as possible, just go out and just do what I do," Barnes said.

"The exhibition game doesn’t mean anything. The real season starts on Friday, so we gotta make sure we’re ready for it."

Salter’s cast removed

Junior point guard Anthony Salter took a step toward a return to action by getting his boot cast on his left foot removed yesterday.

Salter suffered a tear in his heel about two weeks ago. He will be re-evaluated on a return to the court; the initial projection was sometime during the Rainbow Classic.

"They’re not putting another one (cast) on me," Salter said.

Sophomore forward Dominick Brumfield still can’t take part in full-contact drills as he recovers from a fractured kneecap. He’s been in on partial-contact drills.

 

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