Even half a world away, Yuval Katz can still hear the cheers. He remembers the mania that embraced Hawaii men’s volleyball during his two seasons with the Warriors, the sellouts in 1995 and ’96, the rock-star status enjoyed by the players, the celebrities that attended the matches.
He’s kept his collegiate success mostly to himself, according to his wife, Orna.
"He’s very modest about it," she said at yesterday’s UH Sports Circle of Honor induction luncheon. "Sometimes I hear things about his time here from his family, but mostly he talks about the fans and how crazy it was.
"There was one time I was watching television and there was a show about Hawaii. He walked by and said, ‘That’s Sam Choy.’ I asked how would he know that; men don’t pay attention to things like cooking. He said he knew him because he used to come to his games."
Katz, NBA player Anthony "AC" Carter and the late Richard Furtado were introduced at halftime of the men’s basketball game last night as the newest members of the Circle of Honor.
Only Katz, who made the 30-hour journey from his native Israel, could attend. Carter, traded to the New York Knicks from the Denver Nuggets this week, was represented by former Rainbows associate head coach Jackson Wheeler, and Furtado, who died in 2006, was represented by his son Dickie and other family members.
The induction of the 29th class brings the number of individuals honored to 93. Ten teams also have been inducted.
Katz is a senior investment manager for a financial firm in Tel Aviv and is finishing up his MBA. The two-time All-American and national co-player of the year in 1996 retired from volleyball after a nine-year pro career.
"I really miss Hawaii and I was very glad we could make this trip," said Katz, who also brought his 9-month-old daughter, Hili. "I consider it a big honor that people remember me after all this time."
Katz finished with 1,444 kills and 100 aces in helping the Warriors to their first final four in 1995 and to an NCAA runner-up finish in 1996.
Carter also made a huge impact in just two years at Hawaii. He averaged 18.9 points — second-best in program history — and set a school record with 6.9 assists per game as the ‘Bows had consecutive 21-win seasons and NIT appearances in 1997 and ’98.
"AC said he was excited about the honor and wished he could be here," Wheeler said.
In accepting the plaque for his father, Dickie Furtado said he never got to see his dad compete in football or track and field for UH. He did, however, caddie for his dad when Richard Furtado won the Hawaii amateur golf championship at age 42.
"His nickname was ‘Potato,’ so whenever anyone said to me, ‘Oh, you’re Potato’s son, I knew they were an old friend," Dickie Furtado said.
"My sister was still in high school at Punahou when he was competing in (AAU) meets and he threw the javelin in 1954 against Bob Mathias, the (1952) Olympic decathlon gold medalist."
Richard Furtado was called a one-man track team as he competed in broad jump, high jump, discus, javelin, high and low hurdles, and on relays. He played football for the Rainbows and was a member of the undefeated 1934 team that upset California in the New Year’s Day Classic.