SJSU has had a few Pacific-Islanders play for them, including the great George Puou. Can you name the last Pacific-Islander to play for the Spartans before Puou?
Hint: He also played football.
Hawaii coming to the Event Center:
San Jose State men's basketball team opened the WAC season on the road against one of the better WAC teams, now they come home to face one of the teams trying to avoid the cellar—the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (4-9).
This is a very dangerous game for the young Spartans; Hawaii is a veteran team and should have large contingent of Rainbow fans at Event Center.
They start four 6-5 wings and one 6-8 post player—and they can just flat-out run and shoot. First year head coach Bob Nash plays up-tempo and has really shortened his bench. However, they lost their starting center and best post player Stephen Verwers to a broken leg.
Nevertheless, Hawaii is a very good team and might be the most athletic team in the WAC. They had a chance to win all of their games and have not be blown out (except for a 19 point loss to a very good New Mexico team at the Pit).
They are not as good as Boise, but they are certainly better than Portland State and South Dakota State.
So which Spartan team will answer the bell on Saturday night? And, what time will they show up? The last three games, the Spartans have started slow, got behind by a large amount, only to rally in the second half.
This worked against Portland State and South Dakota State, but it caught up with them against Boise. If they do the same with sharp-shooting Hawaii, they will get burned. The Rainbows will not fold at the end.
Hawaii has never played well on the road, but the Spartans have not beaten them at the Event Center in five years. The Rainbows will try to take advantage of their speed and great shooting to get a lead, and then shut down the Spartans with great, on-the-ball defense. They are not tall, but they are interchangeable and play extremely well together.
Hawaii is coming off a close loss on the road against the WAC's best team, Utah State, where they were in it until the very end. They will be looking to turn around their season against the Spartans.
Their starters play no less the 34 minutes each; in fact, three of the five starters are always on the floor.
• PF Bobby Nash (SR, 6-6, 200, 18.0 pts, 5.8 rbs): head coach Bob Nash's son. A natural wing that plays more of a power position. Can get contact and is an exceptional rebounder for his size. Tough as nails and quick to the ball, he will battle anyone – no matter their size – for position in the paint.
• PG Matt Gibson (SR, 6-5, 180, 14.4, 3.5. rbs, 4.4 asts): missed the first part of the year with a knee injury, "little Matt Gibson" is starting to get his basketball legs under him. Probably the most versatile player on the team, he is their point guard, but he can post up and rebounds well. Can create and is great at the drive-and-dish. Works well with Nash… Nash can hurt you individually, but this guy can hurt you in so many different ways.
• SF Riley Luettgerodt (SR, 6-5, 210, 13.4, 4.8 rbs, 2.2 asts): first year starter could be their most accurate outside shooter and with the best range. A proven scorer at JC, where he scored 26 per game in Oregon. Great team player, we works extremely well within the Rainbow system.
• SG Jared Dillinger (SR, 6-5, 200, 9.8, 3.2 rbs, Assists 2.5): second-year player, first-year starter after transferring from Air Force. Probably would be more affective coming off the bench, but has really settled into a nice role as their secondary option. Smart player, who finds open spots on the floor and drains the shot.
• P.J. Owsley (SR 6-8, 250, 2.8 pts Rebounds 2.8): starting center last year, he regained his spot when Verwers' went down; however, he has always played starter minutes. Probably more of a natural power forward, and not necessarily your ideal pivot. A real warrior in the paint—he keeps the ball alive, has a good nose for the ball and he will battle. Big body, so you really need to keep your head on a swivel or run into a mean pick…
Off the bench:
• Bill Amis (So, 6-9, 220): former starter – coach Nash is using this versatile player to fill in and give any of the starters rest. He can play 4 positions on the floor – he has a good handle, can shoot and is an enforcer inside. Plays starter minutes…
• Kareem Nitoto (FR, 6-2, 185): this east bay (San Leandro High) native is really the only guard Hawaii has coming off the bench. Good ball handler and can shoot a little.
• Adhar Mayen (Sophomore 1V, 6-8, 195): in and out of the lineup all year; however, I expect him to get a lot of minutes against the taller Spartans. In a bit of a shooting slump…
• Paul Campbell (Sophomore, 6-10, 215): not going to hurt you (either team)—athletic and long, this JC transfer makes his money in the paint.
• Alex Veit (Senior, 6-8, 225): not as versatile as the other pieces, so he has not seen much time of the pine.
Still, could see some action against the Spartans.
The great Frank Manumaleuna played for coach Ivan Guevara in 1979—coach Guevara's last year coaching.
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