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At first glance, Hawaii’s two centers certainly look good. The goal of Gib Arnold is to get them to play that way.

Douglas Kurtz is aiming to make an impact after a disappointing junior year and Vander Joaquim, a junior college transfer, hopes for a good first impression in Manoa.

"I like both those guys. We’ve got basically 14 feet of center down there, between those two, and almost 500, 550 pounds," Arnold said. "We’ve got a couple bigs who at least will look good in the airport. Guys who look like you’re supposed to."

Kurtz, a senior, certainly looks the part of a bruising behemoth after shedding 15 pounds in a vigorous offseason. He’s in the best shape of his college career and, though lighter, still can lay the wood on opponents with screens or power moves in the paint.

When Kurtz managed to get on the court for Bob Nash — and those instances were few — the flex motion offense would regularly carry Kurtz out to the 3-point line and back.

15 Vander Joaquim

Height 6-10 * Weight 245 * Sophomore

Raw talent has effective baby hook and mid-range jumper. Posted 8.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg with 31 blocks at College of Eastern Utah. Shows flashes of great potential.
Hometown: Luanda, Angola

40 Davis Rozitis

Height 7-0 * Weight 220 * Sophomore

Transfer from USC will sit out 2010-11 season, but shows versatility in practices. Appeared sparingly in eight games for Trojans. Has 3-point range.
Hometown: Cesis, Latvia

34 Douglas Kurtz

Height 7-0 * Weight 265 * Senior

Bruising behemoth should make an impact after disappointing junior season at UH. Averaged 1.4 ppg and 1.0 rpg in 5.7 minutes last year. Work ethic much improved.
Hometown: Pelotas, Brazil

Don’t expect to see him drift out of the paint much this season. Arnold wants to make use of his strengths, namely that he’s a potential force down low.

Arnold challenged Kurtz on his motivation shortly after the new coach’s hire in March.

"I jumped him really hard at the end of last year, really hard, and he responded in a positive way," Arnold said. "And got serious about basketball again. I didn’t think he was very serious when I got here."

Joaquim possesses a deft shooter’s touch, but Arnold would still like him to hang out closer to the rim. The Angolan has a fairly reliable baby hook shot he will go to within about 7 feet of the basket. He can also step out to hit a mid-range jumper.

As a sophomore, Joaquim has plenty of time to develop. But Kurtz, in his final year, is anxious to make an impact now.

"I’m not playing around this year, man. I’m giving it my all and my best and all I have this year," Kurtz said. "I’ve been three years in college now and haven’t got a championship yet. This is it, man."

Staying out of foul trouble, a problem last year, will be a must for Kurtz to remain on the floor. Arnold may look to go without either Kurtz or Joaquim depending on matchups. In that case, 6-foot-9 forward Bill Amis would slide over as center in a smaller lineup.

A third center, USC transfer Davis Rozitis, can practice with the team but will sit out games this season per NCAA rules.

 

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