Bump, set and spike with Shoji

July 30th, 2014
By

A few quotes from UH volleyball coach Dave Shoji that didn't make it into Sunday's column

Q: Do you consider 2014 to be a rebuilding season?
A: I wouldn't classify it as rebuilding. We have five solid players who have played quite a bit. We do need help from one, two or three more. We have some excellent players already in the program. We just have to find who is going to supplement them.

Q: How do you replace a great player like Emily Hartong?
A: We think Nikki Taylor is the one who takes a lot of swings. We saw a bit of it last year, more and more as the season progressed. I think she's one that we look to step up. Tai Olevao, with two seasons of experience, she'll need to step up her game. Physically she has the things we need. Great vertcal, fast, quick. She just needs to be more consistent offensively.

Q: Other keys for the season?
A: Of course our setting position is, I wouldn't call it a question mark but we will have a new setter. With taylor Higgins based on what we know and what she did last year we think she has a lot of what it takes.
We lost (middle) Jade Vorster but replaced her with Olivia McGill, an Arizona transfer. With Olivia, there won't be any drop off.

Q: Your sons, Kawika and Erik, are both performing well on the U.S. men's national volleyball team. How gratifying is that, two sons doing it at their sport's highest level?
A. In my mind, we just never knew what level they would eventually get to. As a high school player you never know if they will make the jump to college, next the jump to pro volleyball. In that respect they're at the highest level now. It's pretty unbelievable for any of these kids. We're just counting our blessings that they're taking it this far.
They were in the gym all the time, played a bunch of sports, which I think helped their volleyball. So it's not that surprising that brothers would be about the same in athletic ability, of course their volleyball IQ helps."

Q. Your book, written with Ann Miller, is scheduled for release during the season. Any thoughts on it?
A. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about it. The people at UH press have been marvelous.

Readers weigh in on Arnold's contract extension

July 23rd, 2014
By

Howzit, Dave! I liked your editorial about the pay package for U.H. basketball coach.
Did you see the old movie “The Gauntlet” starring Clint Eastwood? I like comparing the main character (Clint) to Ben Cayetano who ran against Caldwell to stop the rail and corruption. The floodgates to uncontrolled development has been opened.
Ooops!
Anyway,I’m starting to compare you to Ben. Kinda like the Ben Cayetano of U.H. sports.
Keep up the good work!

Name withheld by request

Thank you for speaking out on what many of us out here are also scratching our collective heads about re. our basketball coach's new contract and extension. We should all have such powerful, influential and, apparently, well-heeled friends. For all the reasons you so aptly listed, the reasons for the contract are highly questionable, especially in light of the ongoing NCAA investigation of the program. And if the finding of the investigation are negative, are we put in the position (again!) of having to buy yet another coach or administrator's contract out or do we just suffer the embarrassment of yet another UH black eye?
Is it little wonder that we as taxpayers and sports fans are worn out by the ongoing saga of our University's debacles and apparent lack of judgment? Enough already!

Douglas Miki

Dave,
Your commentary on Coach Arnold seems correct to me. It’s sort of a mystery to me why he has “downtown” support. The only thing I can think of is that he went to Punahou. But I don’t see how that particularly relates to basketball.
As a true mid major yet being considered the flagship campus of the state, the University of Hawaii is limited by the size and resources of us being small state. The financial crunch looms ahead, and I don’t know how it will play out.

Hank Chapin

(NOTE: The following letter was addressed to athletic director Ben Jay and chancellor Tom Apple and I was cc'd)

There is much criticism about Gib Arnold’s extension…I think people forget how badly the program was doing prior to Gib coming on…yes, I think Gib can do better but that is a topic for another day.

In order to have teams that are competitive, the coaches make a difference (I like the new hire’s resume’ under Arnold) but I think being competitive starts from the top…what are goals?...how do we get there?...where are we?...how do we get to where we want to go?...I think you are working hard to elevate UH to a place of excellence and for that I salute you!...thank you for coming to Hawaii to assist us….and I know that there are substantial road blocks to overcome when someone wishes to upgrade our culture…there is so much good about Hawaii that why change?..so anyone that wants to improve has an attitude to overcome…I think you will succeed, at least I hope so since you are here battling.

Improvement starts at the top with the Regents but at EVERY level some improvement can be made. Keep at it requesting the $’s to make improvements…it is a development syndrome…will you increase revenue before you can make improvements or do you have to make improvements in order to increase revenue?!...I think it is a boot strap effort where you ratchet up a bit here which allows upgrades there…you need good committed people in order to achieve this and hopefully the community will come along.

In order to have a first class university, a first class athletic program is necessary (athletics provide education and some of the esprit de corps of the school which bring the school together on a consistent basis and allows the community at large to participate…if we are to keep athletics and wish to be a first class institution, we should remain in division I…I do not think division 2 or 3 will reduce “losses”, and losses are against budget which if we want to be where we are, we have to change the budget and then find the resources within our community to fund the budget.

Change the budget and then assign various parts of the community to fund our share.

Aloha,
Leroy Y Uyehara

My Mountain West football predictions

July 22nd, 2014
By

Here's how I filled out my ballot for the Mountain West football media predictions. I'm with the majority in picking Boise State to win the Mountain Division and one of three voters taking a flyer on Nevada in the West. The numbers in parentheses are the place the panel voted the teams.
The list of players that follows are my choices for the preseason all-conference team (chosen from a short list provided by the Mountain West).

MOUNTAIN DIVISION
1 Boise State (1)
2 Utah State (2)
3 Colorado State (3)
4 Wyoming (4)
5 Air Force (6)
6 New Mexico (5)
WEST DIVISION
1 Nevada (3)
2 Fresno State (1)
3 San Diego State (2)
4 San José State (5)
5 Hawai'i (6)
6 UNLV (4)
QUARTERBACK
1 #16 Chuckie Keeton - QB - Utah State
RUNNING BACK
1 #27 Jay Ajayi - RB - Boise State
2 #7 Joey Iosefa - RB - Hawai'i
WIDE RECEIVER
1 #81 Devante Davis - WR - UNLV
2 #3 Josh Harper - WR - Fresno State
TIGHT END
1 #86 Kivon Cartwright - TE - Colorado State
OFFENSIVE LINE
1 #74 Kevin Whimpey - OL - Utah State
2 #73 Cody Wichmann - OL - Fresno State
3 #66 LaMar Bratton - OL - New Mexico
4 #71 Ben Clarke - OL - Hawai'i
5 #51 Ty Sambrailo - OL - Colorado State
DEFENSIVE LINE
1 #53 Brock Hekking - DE - Nevada
2 #55 Eddie Yarbrough - DE - Wyoming
3 #3 Travis Raciti - DL - San José State
4 #90 Kennedy Tulimasealii - DE - Hawai'i
LINEBACKER
1 #1 Jordan Stanton - LB - Wyoming
2 #40 Max Morgan - LB - Colorado State
3 #31 Ejiro Ederaine - LB - Fresno State
DEFENSIVE BACK
1 #13 Derron Smith - DB - Fresno State
2 #5 Donte Deayon - DB - Boise State
3 #21 Brian Suite - DB - Utah State
4 #17 Kenneth Penny - DB - UNLV
PLACEKICKER
1 #47 Jared Roberts - PK - Colorado State
PUNTER
1 #29 Scott Harding - P/RS - Hawai'i
RETURN SPECIALIST
1 #24 Carlos Wiggins - RS - New Mexico
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1 #16 Chuckie Keeton - QB - Utah State
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1 #53 Brock Hekking - DE - Nevada
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1 #24 Carlos Wiggins - RS - New Mexico


Reader suggests stricter pitch limits

July 12th, 2014
By

Hi Mr. Reardon,

I have a 14 year old grandson who pitches for a Pony league team.
Like you, I am very concerned about youth Tommy John injuries and therefore very much appreciate your reports on the subject.
In my opinion only being concerned adults is not adequate responsibility for our youths and we need to as you mentioned: "err on the side of caution" to protect future sports prospects.
Therefore, if I may suggest, all youth baseball teams should abide by what the National Little League does. That is to limit the number of pitches per game and set a minimum number of no pitch days between games. Over zealous coaches might not like such a ruling mostly  because of the must win attitude in spite of the risks involved.
Admittedly it might be an impossible task  to get all leagues to adopt such a rule.
Therefore in seeking a solution, may I propose that perhaps The State of Hawaii should pass a law that is identical to the Little League Rules regarding number of pitches per game and rest days between games for various ages.
All of this is a suggestion and I hope you would agree and push it to fruition.
Myself and many others I know read your articles religiously, so thank you for that and look forward to more of the best.

Aloha,

Masa Nakamura

Reader response on downsizing stadium

July 2nd, 2014
By

Dave,

Today's column on Aloha Stadium is especially interesting because it's a prominent facility, important to our State and all in our Honolulu community.
 I'd like to share some food for thought:
1) Our current stadium is fine when it's full and embarrassing when it's not. I'd love to see UH football, Pro Bowl and other events at our stadium filling it to capacity.
That said, that's seldom the case.
Like many others, I experienced first hand the feeling of putting on an event at Aloha Stadium that falls short of great vision and intention.
In 2005, we put a group together for our "Aloha Soccer Cup" with the Los Angeles Galaxy & DC United (Freddie Adu).
We had great support organizing the event and selling tickets, as well as volunteers putting on the practice sessions we hosted for both teams.
Despite all of our support, our best efforts resulted in a approximately 15,000 people enjoying the event.
Those that were there had a great time but our small team of organizers were left with an empty feeling because our results fell short of our expectations and our venue was too big.
Waipio was not an option; our old Honolulu Stadium would have been perfect.
 2) The 30,000+ option being considered might be good but is its location ideal?
Maybe, if the rail has a transit stop nearby.
Since the rail isn't scheduled to reach UH-Manoa, how about a new stadium at UH-West Oahu?
Regardless of size, the location might be good for those willing to use the rail and the site has loads of potential.
 3) Aloha Stadium is still a great site but may be best as an alternate use.
Thanks & Aloha,

Paul Shinkawa