A Buzz Is Back For UH Hoops

Bobby Curran
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Friday - November 24, 2010
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Auburn’s Cam Newton

The excitement is back at Stan Sheriff Center for University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior basketball! UH won the 47th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic by beating three teams with distinctly disparate styles. The only constant was the passion and intensity of the Hawaii team.

“I thought we’d play really hard and we’d play together,” says first-year head coach Gib Arnold. “And I think we did that. We’ve got a long way to go to get where we need to be. If we work hard, we can continue to grow.”

Arnold makes it very clear that this is just the first step in a long process.

“I’m not looking to just assemble a team, I’m building a program,” he says. “We are laying the foundation.”

With senior leaders Hiram Thompson and Bill Amis teaming up with a couple of holdovers and eight newcomers, including four freshmen, the team has a ton of energy and enough of a rudder to keep it together. So far they’ve seen quick and athletic (Cal State Fullerton, which played a lot of zone), a three-ball attack (Montana State) and pressure man-toman applied by strong athletes (Central Michigan). The Rainbow Warriors managed to fight them off for wins in each case. The improvement and effort have not been lost on Hawaii fans.

“These guys never give up and they shoot with confidence,” said one caller to my morning radio show. “We haven’t seen that in a long time around here.”

The crowds were good, and should get bigger as we inch closer to the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. UH has been picked to finish dead last in the WAC by both coaches and media, but will better that by a good margin if they continue to build on what they’ve shown so far.

* The FBI is now investigating the Cam Newton play-for-pay allegations. The Auburn QB two weeks ago was considered a shooin for the Heisman Trophy, but some voters say they’ve been put off by numerous reports that he was for sale during the recruiting process. Meanwhile, Auburn is headed for a showdown with Alabama, and the Tigers are spending a lot of time denying impropriety in the Newton affair.

The FBI is terrific at following the money trail, so if Newton was paid, unless it’s in a shoe-box under the bed, it’s likely that the truth will come out. If Auburn loses to either Alabama or to South Carolina in the SEC championship, it could open the door for an unbeaten Boise State, which will leapfrog TCU because of its remaining schedule.

I believe that the Broncos will win the national championship if they get to the title game. With a month to prepare, BSU head coach Chris Peterson is the best in the business. They will score on anybody, and the Bronco defense is way better than most realize.

You can only wonder what the BCS will do next if its worst nightmare comes to pass.

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