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Rainbows not lacking enthusiasm, just depth

Brian McInnis
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UH basketball player Zane Johnson.
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UH's three seniors, from left, Douglas Kurtz, Hiram Thompson and Bill Amis, provided a light moment during yesterday's media day at Stan Sheriff Center. The Rainbows open their season Friday.

The Hawaii men’s basketball team should get plenty of fan support this weekend, but the Rainbow Warriors themselves won’t be rolling very deep.

Entering the 47th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, held Friday, Saturday and Monday at the Stan Sheriff Center, the Rainbows are expected to have just 10 active players to tip off Gib Arnold’s Division I coaching career.

UH opens the season against Montana State at 7 p.m. on Friday. Judging by the 83-55 hurting those 10 Rainbows put on Chaminade in an exhibition contest, they’re ready for action. But sustained action? Depth could be an issue as UH faces three teams in four days.

Junior point guard Anthony Salter was pegged as a possible return for the Classic after suffering a partial tear in his left heel two weeks ago. He put up dozens of jump shots yesterday in his first hoops activity of any kind since getting a boot cast removed. However, his status is doubtful for the games against the MSU Bobcats, Cal State Fullerton and Central Michigan.


» When: Friday, Saturday and Monday

» Where: Stan Sheriff Center

» Schedule: Friday: Montana State vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.; Cal State Fullerton vs. Central Michigan, 9:30 p.m. Saturday: Cal State Fullerton vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.; Central Michigan vs. Montana State, 9:30 p.m. Monday: Cal State Fullerton vs. Montana State, 5 p.m.; Central Michigan vs. Hawaii, 11 p.m.

» TV: Friday and Saturday: Oceanic Digital PPV Ch. 255; Monday: ESPN for UH game

» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM, all UH games

"His calf atrophied enough to where it’s an issue, but again with rehab and some hard work by his part, he’ll get himself back in," Arnold said. "Whether it’s this week or next week, I’m not sure. I’m not planning on him (for games) this week. But we’re going to try to get him to where he can maybe jump into some drills by the end of this week."

Salter, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, radiated enthusiasm as he worked to get back into competition. He was drenched with sweat from shooting on the side throughout the team’s practice. It was a treat; he’d been limited to riding an exercise bike over the last two weeks.

"I couldn’t do anything but ride that bike, basically," Salter said. "As you could see I got real winded when I was doing the shooting and stuff. Just to be able to get back on the court and do some basketball things, that’s what I’m really happy about."

Sophomore forward Dominick Brumfield still isn’t close to a return coming off a fractured kneecap. Arnold said the latest Brumfield estimate is two to four more weeks before a return to full contact.


Signatures expected soon

Today marks the first day of the fall (early) signing period, which runs through next Wednesday.

UH is expected to receive signed national letters of intent from two California high school players over that span: Morningside point guard Gerry Blakes and Serra power forward Ronnie Stevens.

The 6-foot-9 Stevens, a highly rated prospect, initially wanted to sign in the spring among friends but decided to bump that up to today.

"(Hawaii) is where I want to go," Stevens said. "I talked with my parents. It’s my No. 1 pick, so I want to get it over with."

The 6-foot-4 Blakes was under the radar a bit after suffering an ankle injury as a junior, but he’s expected to have a big senior year.

"I am looking forward to signing," Blakes said. "I’ll probably handle it sometime in the next week or after I speak with (Arnold) on it."

A possible third recruit, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) forward Damiene Cain, is reportedly going to make his decision between UH and four other schools on Friday.


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