Hawaii coach Gib Arnold announced the Rainbow Warriors team captains after today’s closed practice.
It’s a senior movement. As in, all three seniors on the team — Bill Amis, Hiram Thompson and Douglas Kurtz — receiving tri-captainship.
The first two were probably expected. Amis was captain as a junior in 2008-09 and Thompson filled that role last year with Amis hurt. Kurtz is a bit of a surprise, but who would argue with a 7-foot, 265-pound center who looks like he could transition smoothly to a career in the WWE?
It’s a good time to unleash the Amis Q&A transcript from earlier this preseason. After this, just one more day of regular practice until the Saturday exhibition vs. Chaminade.
Speaking of exhibitions vs. Chaminade, don’t forget about the UH women’s basketball team taking on the Silverswords tonight at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Bill Amis Q&A
Q: How did you get through last season, with the foot injury in the preseason and all the struggles the team went through?
A: Last season, getting hurt and everything, it was tough at the time but once I decided I was going to redshirt, I decided I was going to make the most out of it. Just treat it like it was a blessing in disguise. Worked hard all summer, and getting in here with the guys, everybody’s been working hard, Coach Arnold’s pushing us to our limits every day, he’s done a really good job of pushing us. Up to this point, I’m really excited for the season to start.
What did you work on while you were hurt?
I worked on my strength some, and I also worked in the pool, plyometrics and stuff. That’s actually helped coming out here, my vertical’s gone up since before my injury by 2 or 3 inches. It’s a 32 and a half straight vert, before my injury I was at 29 and a half.
What are some of the differences in your role under Arnold?
When the season was over and Coach Arnold got hired, he said he really wanted the 4 man to be able to step out and shoot 3s. He wanted it at the top of the key, so I got a lot of extra shots shooting from the top of the key, 3s. Pretty much the only spot I can hit them from (laughs). But that’s my shot. He also wanted me to work on getting fouled. In years past, I’ve faded away in the post. Now I’m trying to get contact and finish. Get to the free-throw line more.
Contrasting Arnold with the style of Bob Nash:
They’re two very different coaching styles in pretty much every aspect. It’s been new for all of us, in terms of learning how to guard differently, the way we run offense. More motion, having the option to create with other people instead of having the offense create it for you.
What are your thoughts on this new group of guys?
Everyone’s going to work really hard. We’re all eager to try to get on the floor and compete. Bo (Barnes) had a really good preseason. Joston (Thomas) had a good preseason. (Anthony) Salter’s been kind of a second vocal leader out there, helping me out and that’s gonna be good as well.
On being a team leader:
I need to do that. It was kind of weird coming back into it. I had to. I know it’s what I have to do. Be an example and lead the boys.
On the transition game:
We’re going to have to wait and see. I know he (Coach) wants to play an up-tempo game, and we all want to play an up-tempo game. But we’re going to see where we’re at after practices. I think we have the horses to do it, but we’ll see how it goes and turns out.
On Doug Kurtz:
Doug’s really a completely different player. I’m excited to play with him. He’s gotten stronger, he’s going through contact, not fading away from it. He’s always moved well, as far as getting up and down the court. He runs the floor really well. But it’s just a matter of controlling his body and controlling his mind. I’ve spent the summer back home, so when I got back, I noticed there was a change in him, mentally as well as physically. You can see that he knows it’s his last year and he’s really hungry to have a good year.
On his own summer:
Yeah I did (go home). I went to L.A. for a week, but other than that, I was in Oklahoma City training. My mom’s a teacher at a community college. So I would go lift there and get shots up. I would get in the pool, work on cardio and stuff. Plyos. I came back and did the (Pete Newell) Big Man Camp, that’s a really good camp — I recommend that to anybody. Great people, great coaches. It goes from high school to any level, and I think it’s good for anybody.