By JEFF LAW
UH-Hilo men’s basketball coach
Aloha, everyone! I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to the fans of Vulcan basketball. With the season right around the corner, this seems like the perfect time.
I just want everyone to know that this upcoming year we will be focusing on representing school and community. I think we lost that focus last year. Once we did lose that focus, there was just a massive snowball effect on what I call ugly and negative issues. We let those issue define who and what we were.
My promise to you as fans and supporters is that it will not happen again! I don’t want this to sound like a Tim Tebow sound bite when he was in college and Florida lost Mississippi State and he stood in front of the microphone and made all these promises of “no one will work harder or give more of themselves for the rest of the season,” but in a weird way the message is similar. There must be some adjustments to our focus and purpose.
As I begin my 15thyear as the UHH head coach, I look back to last year and I was not happy with our effort and actions. It was the most frustrating year I have been a part of in my 27 year coaching career.
I realize that there are some of you out there that had no problems walking away from continuing to support the program. If you were one of these people my apologies could not be more sincere. If you have stayed with us, thank you. Thank you very much!
What’s important here is for all of you to know that ever since the horn went off in that last game vs. Chaminade March 3, I have been working to make sure this upcoming season would not repeat itself.
All spring and summer, through recruiting, reading books and articles, asking peer’s questions and getting feedback from reputable coaches and leaders throughout the nation, I have been focused on improving the program and the young men who are a part of this program.
Now I am not naive enough to think that we will win every game we play. I hope you feel the same and understand that the schedule is just too difficult.
To be quite frank with you, my emphasis on this season is not the result, but the course. I am more concerned on “how” we play. If we play together, hard and as a team, the results will take care of themselves. The continued outbursts of both players and coaches can no longer be tolerated. Now please don’t get the idea that we will be a “Sunday school” team. There will be a select few moments of emotion I am sure. I feel it is very important to have emotion when you compete. I just want us to control it much better than we did last year.
I have informed those returning, of which there are 5, that this is priority one. It doesn’t matter how well you shoot the ball or how strong you are or high you can jump. Representing this school and community has to be the priority. I will have no hesitation in honoring a scholarship BUT I will drop them from the team if this continues. Rest assured that all 5 returners, who are very talented and can do many great things, have agreed and bought into our new focus. The 5 recruits have also been informed on what “we” are going to be about this season. Anyone on this roster will be accountable for themselves.
I can’t wait to get this started! As I have mentioned, the schedule is extremely demanding. It is filled with talented teams and more travel than ever before. I look forward to seeing everyone at the newly renovated gym, making noise, supporting the home team and enjoying their evenings. Win or lose, these kids will bust their butts for each other and for you this year. I hope you are getting excited as well. If you were one of those people who jumped off of our wagon last year, give us one more try. If you don’t see an improvement, then I don’t blame you for finding other ways to enjoy your time. We will work hard. We will work together. We will improve. I can’t wait!