According to people familiar with the situation, UH volleyball player JP Marks reached an agreement last week on a future contract with a team in Europe. Marks, we’re told, assumed because the arrangement would not activate until after his UH career ended — he does not plan on returning for his junior season — that it would not affect his eligibility. In fact, it appears to have jeopardized his amateur status.
Marks did not play in any matches after the agreement was reached. It appears the Warriors will not be required to forfeit any matches.
* * * * *
There were concerns when Charlie Wade was hired as the volleyball Warriors’ head coach in 2009.
To be sure, he had a grinder work ethic as Dave Shoji’s long-time assistant. He also had experience as a head coach. But those two jobs were in the women’s game. Would Wade be able to adjust to the economics of the men’s sport, which limits a team to dividing the equivalent of 4.5 scholarships among 18 or so players? Would he be able to recruit internationally and locally?
The scholarship cap proved to be tricky, especially after the 2011 season when outside hitter Joshua Walker and setter Nejc Zemljak completed their eligibility and opposite Jonas Umlauft decided to remain in Germany. In other sports, a team that loses three key players can replace them with three recruits. In men’s volleyball, if all of the money is put into replacements, there is little scholarship flexibility for the next couple of recruiting classes.
Wade invested in youth, further sub-dividing the scholarships. If you pay ’em, you have to play ’em, resulting in (to borrow from Lil Wayne) “young money” being on the court the past two seasons. The Warriors could not overcome injuries and inexperience in a disastrous 2012 season.
This season, with still the most inexperienced roster in the MPSF, Wade might have done his best coaching. He moved Brook Sedore from serving specialist to opposite, where he became a go-to hitter. He found a loophole that allowed Johann Timmer two serving turns in each set. His staff was key in developing Davis Holt and Taylor Averill as middles. He blended international players (JP Marks, Siki Zarkovic) with local players (Holt, Joby Ramos, Matthew Cheape, Kolby Kanetake).
The Warriors faced two must-win matches this weekend. They were on the road, and without two starting outside hitters. Between the third and fourth sets, Wade moved Sedore to the left side and Averill to opposite. Sedore finished with 31 kills, the most by a Warrior since the first-to-25-points rule was implemented in 2011.
The Warriors claimed the final playoff spot in the nation’s toughest conference. They are in the postseason for the third time in Wade’s four years. They redshirted six players, and have commitments for the next two recruiting classes, including one from the state’s best player. With a year remaining on Wade’s contract, talk of an extension might be underway soon.
* * * * *
Before the start of spring training, Jeremy Higgins was told most of the reps would go to two of last year’s redshirts — Taylor Graham and Ikaika Woolsey. Higgins, who is well-educated in the offense, offered tips.
During yesterday’s scrimmage, Higgins directed two scoring drives. As a coach noted of Higgins: “All he does is get touchdowns.”
Graham appears to be a lock as the starter. Woolsey has shown ability, including a strong arm. But Higgins, who will be a fourth-year junior in the fall, shouldn’t be counted out for playing time. He lost 15 pounds, and has improved his footwork. Throwing is as much about leg strength and hip flexibility as it about arm strength. Higgins, it appears, is throwing with more zip this spring.
* * * * *
Offensive tackle Leo Koloamatangi was initially diagnosed with a possible fractured ankle suffered during yesterday’s scrimmage. X-rays showed it was a bone bruise. That was a relief for the coaches, who are counting on Koloamatangi to be part of the rotation.
* * * * *
Three claps for Dr. Elizabeth Ignacio, a wonderful woman of faith and healing.
* * * * *
And happy birthday to America’s singer — (Jesse) James.