Swish prepare for launch

The Hawaii Swish held their media day on Monday in the Blaisdell.
The Hawaii Swish held their media day on Monday in the Blaisdell.

Will the Hawaii Swish be the American Basketball Association franchise that finally lasts more than a couple games — or couple months — in the islands?

Friday’s Swish debut against Yuba City (7-3) at the Neal Blaisdell Arena (tipoff 7:30 p.m.) could well determine the team’s staying power. If the Geremy Robinson-owned/Artie Wilson-coached Swish play some competitive, exciting basketball, and a decent crowd shows up for it, word of mouth could be a great asset.

If not — well, we’ve seen what happens.

It should be noted that none of the previous ABA iterations here ever played at a venue as big as the Blaisdell, with the kind of promotional cachet that goes with it. The closest thing was the Hawaii Mega Force in BYU-Hawaii’s Cannon Activities Center circa 2004, and that drew very slightly before they folded after two games. Robinson said he’s been encouraged by early ticket sales (they go $10 each for adults).

There are a number of different and quirky rules in ABA basketball, most notably the “3D” feature, which awards teams an extra point on field goals if they score immediately after the opposing team turns it over in the backcourt. There’s four 12-minute quarters, a 24-second shot clock, a 7-second backcourt violation, and 4-point shots from beyond halfcourt. There’s a concise summary of them here.

From what the team was saying, not all of these rules will be in effect for the first game. In particular, the 3D rule, which requires a light operator courtside to indicate when the 3D bonus is in effect, will be a no-go.

Unfortunately, two big bodies Robinson initially hoped to include, former ‘Bows Julian Sensley and Phil Martin, are not on the roster. Sensley is coming off a recent hernia injury and Martin could not break away from a busy work schedule. The team’s primary big man is former Navy center Mark Veazey, who like many of the team’s faces is recognizable from the Manoa College Summer League.

Check out Thursday’s print edition for a write-up on the Swish, including comments from Robinson, Wilson and point guard Miah Ostrowski.

Robinson has promised promotional events to go with his games. For this one, there’s a youth clinic from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. at the Blaisdell. Pre-game entertainment begins at 6 p.m., he said.

Here are the team’s “player cards,” courtesy of the Swish.

Swish Artie Wilson coach

Swish Geremy Robinson

Swish Miah Ostrowski

Swish Jason Carter

Swish Pii Minns

Swish Leon Ballard

John Avila Swish

Swish Oscar Pedroso

Swish Mark Veazey

Swish Sean Caddell

Swish Derrick Braziel

Swish Dionte Chappell

Jimmy Lefebvre Swish