Time is running out for Jamie Smith in the 2014-15 season.
With only six home games remaining for Hawaii, the hero of the Manoa student section is still in limbo as he awaits work visa clearance to return to the islands from Britain and take the vacant post of “performance analyst,” the successor to the director of operations position.
You may have noticed the student section has been less, shall we say, rambunctious since Smith’s been gone (he was here through the Rainbow Classic on vacation, officially, then had to go back home).
Smith said the job was approved by U.S. immigration last Monday and he now awaits documents in the mail.
The next home game might be a little optimistic for his return. That’s Jan. 22 against UC Davis, and UC Irvine is two days later.
And yes, this is becoming strangely similar to how the Jamie Smith saga played out last year.
After a light day of weights and shooting Monday coming off their 15-point win over CSUN, the Rainbow Warriors were back in for a normal practice on Tuesday.
Garrett Nevels did sprinting drills on the side with a brace on his right hand while the rest of the team worked in the halfcourt.
Taylor said Nevels is “day to day” and will travel to UC Riverside for Saturday’s game. The coach wouldn’t rule him out this time.
Shooting guard Brandon Jawato was back from the illness which had him away from the team for the last two games. But swingman Negus Webster-Chan was out with what Taylor said was a virus.
Aaron Valdes’ 34 points against the CSUN Matadors was impressive. It was also the most points by a ‘Bow in any game since Roderick Flemings put up 39 against Cal Poly on Feb. 20, 2010.
In the Stan Sheriff Center, only five ‘Bows have scored more than Valdes. Flemings did it twice (39 vs. Cal Poly, 37 vs. Eastern Washington in 2008), Tes Whitlock had 37 against Seton Hall back in 1994, Dwain Williams had his 36-point Christmas Day game vs. Saint Mary’s in the first Diamond Head Classic in 2009, and Matt Lojeski had his memorable 35-point senior night sendoff for Riley Wallace vs. Boise State in 2007.
Also, with Roderick Bobbitt‘s eight steals against CSUN, he now owns the single-game steals record (10 vs. UH Hilo in his triple-double) and is tied for the fourth-highest steals game at eight swipes. Tony Webster had nine against Air Force and eight vs. McNeese State.
And, as was noted during and immediately after the game, UH’s 20 steals tied the team record for most forced (Tennessee Tech, 1988). That also tied the Sheriff record for steals, by Bradley against Alcorn State in the 2002 Rainbow Classic.