Sports West Oahu
Campbell basketball boys prepare for upcoming preseason games
The senior players on Campbell boys basketball team didn’t wait until the official Nov. 15 starting date to display the sense of urgency coach Wyatt Tau has been looking for. Saber veterans C.J. Ramos, Allan Otanes, Christopher Crawford and Fouina Haskins know their eligibility clocks are ticking, to hear the coach tell it.
“Sometimes seniors come in thinking they’ve already made the team,” said Tau, who enters his second year as Campbell’s head coach after a successful stint at Aiea. “These four are really working hard. They know it’s their last year. They’ve also matured a lot. I remember them as freshmen, and I see a whole different player with each of them from their freshman year to now.”
The foursome logged valuable playing time last season for Campbell, which went 11-6 ( 9-4 in OIA games) and made the state tournament for the fifth time in six years. Last season also marked the fifth time in six years Campbell had a new coach. Although Tau is a Campbell graduate and a football assistant on Amosa Amosa’s staff, the 2009-10 basketball season was still not without transitions.
“There are a lot of differences between the two schools,” observed Tau, who led Aiea to OIA DII titles in 2008 and 2009. “At Aiea, my basketball players were also all football players. At Campbell, my basketball players are basketball players, I have only one (from the football team). It’s easier to coach at Campbell because their mind-frame is already on basketball.”
As in past years, the point guard position figures big in Tau’s plans, and he was buoyed by the play of Ramos during summer league.
“He’s had a great off-season. He’s worked hard on his game, and I see a lot more confidence in him. His thing last year was to think too much. We want him to think less and play the game, and he’s gotten better. He has to be our leader.”
Tau is also high on Otanes, who is projected to start at the off-guard spot opposite Ramos. “He should be dominant in the scoring department this year. This guy, from last season through summer league, looks more relaxed and he’s taken control like we want our guards to take control. He’s working really hard.”
Crawford played at center last season but will likely move to a forward spot. “If everything goes good, he’ll be at the four(-spot),” Tau said. “He played in outside leagues, and he’s been working hard at it.”
Haskins, who is 6 feet tall, will be a power forward and a three-guard in Tau’s terminology. “From last season through summer, he’s worked really hard, knowing it’s his last year. He’s a very competitive kid. He’s quiet, but he’s a kid who starts playing better when he gets mad.”
As always, Tau will be pushing defense in the early days of pre-season. “Our strength is going to be our confidence and our speed. I pride myself on defense, and we’ve been doing a lot of conditioning drills that are going to help us play defense. We have the athletes to score, offensively. We’re working a lot on our strength and speed.”
Tau sees a balanced race in the OIA Red West, which will include Pearl City and Waianae this season, in addition to Mililani, Leilehua and Radford. “Every team will be good in the West,” he said.
The Sabers expect to be tested in preseason as well. A game with Punahou in the first round of the Radford Pre-Season Tournament Dec. 2 highlights Campbell’s non-league slate. The school also will host the Saber Invitational Nov. 23, 24 and 26.
Contact Jack Danilewicz at firstname.lastname@example.org.