UH-Hilo Men’s Hoops Adds Five
University of Hawai’i at Hilo men’s basketball coach GE Coleman knows that building a winning tradition starts with strong off-season recruiting.
Coleman, entering his third year at the helm of the Vulcans’ basketball program, is bringing in five players for the upcoming 2015-2016 season, each of them with collegiate experience that he hopes will turn into quick results for his squad.
Outside shooting is a priority for Coleman in his fast-paced, uptempo offense. To address that, he’s bringing in 6-foot-4 guard Parker Farris, who comes over from Santa Rosa Junior College. The stat that jumps out is his 42 percent three-point shooting, but the most important stat comes from the free throw line.
“Parker’s an absolutely outstanding free throw shooter,” Coleman said. “He led the state of California in free throw percentage last year at 95 percent.”
Why does that stat jump out? As a team last year, the Vulcans shot just 70.6 percent from the charity stripe, good for eighth in the 13-team PacWest Conference.
Farris’ experience is also a plus. Prior to his year at Santa Rosa, he made 21 starts as a freshman at Humboldt State University, a Division II school in Arcata, Calif.
Another incoming student-athlete with Division II experience is Jordan Russell, a 5-foot-10 guard who spent two seasons at Central Washington University, where Colman was an Associate Head Coach prior to coming to Hilo.
“He is really athletic, probably one of the fastest players with the ball that I’ve ever recruited or had the opportunity to coach,” Coleman explained. “He can get from one end to the other in a hurry. Most importantly, I think he will give us the ball pressure defensively that we wanted that we haven’t been able to do in my first two years.”
In 16 games off of the bench last season, Russell scored 10.6 points per night and hit 40 percent of his shots from outside of the arc. He started his collegiate career at Cochise College.
Two other Central Washington transfers, Chris Holmes and Nate Walker, will join the Vulcans this year. Both will have one year of eligibility after completing their junior seasons two years ago.
Holmes, a 6-foot-2 guard shot 55 percent from the field during the 2012-2013 season. Walker, a 6-foot-5 versatile player, led his team in rebounding two years ago while shooting 46 percent from the field.
Rounding out the current recruit list is Cameron Howell, who will be reunited with current Vulcan Darius Johnson-Wilson. He spent the last two seasons at Lower Columbia College, located in Longview, Wash.
The recruiting job isn’t done for Coleman, who is currently on the road looking to fill out his roster and look ahead to the years ahead. “We’re not looking so much at a position, but more talent-wise and a good fit for our program and the community and the university. If we could add one more piece for depth to get us where we need to go in the PacWest, that would be great.”
Fans of Vulcan basketball will have an easier time figuring out where the team will play its home games this season. All games, with the exception of one, will be held at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. The full schedule has not been released, as some non-conference games are still being finalized.