Midnight Ohana just groovy
Newcomer Carter wows the hardcore fans
with hops, and then with court vision
By Paul Honda
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002
HONOLULU—Sure, all the madness equals a major amount of fluff.
But like whipped cream, fluff is good for the soul sometimes. Not every contest needs to be a BYU-UH football game, and not every challenge needs to be an SAT test, which, by the way, some of your kids, relatives and friends—maybe yourself—are taking right this minute.
No, Friday night's Midnight Ohana offered precisely what the wisest of fans realize about the start of basketball season: introductions, games of skill, a scrimmage, a slam dunk contest, and, uh, a fan free-throw contest that almost lasted for eternity.
The "Green" team in black jerseys won the scrimmage, 56-37, in 30 running minutes. Phil Martin, now an elder statesman, scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds as both teams operated fairly structured offenses and defenses in a pickup-game sense. No plays were called, and celebrity coaches graced the benches. But it wasn't a wild, any-open-shot-beyond-halfcourt-is-mine game, either.
Haim Shimonovich showed a willingness to go strong the bucket on the baseline. The 7-foot center scored 16 points and hauled in seven rebounds to lead the White. He shot 7 of 9 from the field and committed just one turnover. Carl English picked up where he left off from last season, scoring 15 points, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He also committed just one turnover.
The spotlight, as far as fans were concerned, was on junior college transfer Jason Carter. The explosive point guard wowed fans with the best dunk of the night during preliminaries—English won the contest with his "official" slams—but Carter showed something not entirely expected from a player with a lot of street flair.
Carter's court vision is what may separate him from a lot of high fliers, if he can be called that at 5-9 ½. "I know the media is gonna have attention on me, but I'm gonna be modest and just try to work my way in," said Carter, who had seven assists and three turnovers, along with a scrimmage-high four steals. He was 1 of 6 from the field and hustled after two rebounds.
Many new faces intrigued the half-filled Stan Sheriff Center at the midnight hour. Vaidotas Peciukas scored seven points, dished three assists and had just one turnover for the White. Ramsey Williams, the former Hawaii prep player of the year out of Moanalua, was rather quiet. He did, however, have a crossover move on the wing that had former Warrior Mike McIntyre jumping out of his seat on the Green bench.
Freshman walk-on Ikaika Alama-Francis was solid in his debut. Sporting a new jersey number—he wears No. 11 at UH after wearing 22 for Kalaheo—the 6-6 swingman scored seven points on 3 of 4 shooting, including a 3-pointer from the right corner on his first shot attempt. He played just nine minutes.
On the White side, Dane Dmitrovic played only nine minutes, as well, scoring a bucket. Michael Kuebler, who won the 3-point shootout, played 24 minutes but did not score. He attempted just one shot.
Returning starting point guard Mark Campbell showed several moments of offensive aggression, taking the ball to the hoop with nice control. He scored nine points and dished out three assists, and also picked up two steals.
Probably the best play of the night, aside from Carter's halfcourt bounce passes to teammates under the basket and English's shooting, came in the intros. Riley Wallace, looking nothing like a man who had brain surgery less than a month ago, shook the Stanley floor in his "Fat Bastard" full-body outfit. The whole "Austin Powers" theme of the intros certainly entertained, and no, Wallace has not gained weight.
He sure was calm Friday night, just having a good time while his assistants ran the show.