Islands a nice spot for local hoopsters
Riley Luettgerodt takes note of the day's clear skies and 80-degree temperature and says playing basketball for the University of Hawaii didn't take all that much getting used to.
'It's not that hard a transition,' the 6-5 junior small forward from Putnam High says. 'Every day you know what the weather's going to be like. It's a pretty good place to be.'
Dominic Waters says the temptations of a tropical paradise haven't been a distraction for him.
'I don't do too much,' the 6-1 sophomore point guard from Grant High says. 'I play video games and play ball and go to school. That's pretty much it.'
Luettgerodt and Waters are the first two players off the bench for coach Riley Wallace's Rainbow Warriors.
Luettgerodt transferred after two seasons at Chemeketa Community College, where he led the conference in scoring with a 26.7-point average last year. The Milwaukie native is averaging 5.7 points in 14.1 minutes in Hawaii's first seven games.
'Riley has done well,' Wallace says. 'It's a learning process in the step up to Division I ball, and he's not scoring like he did in Oregon. But he's getting a feel for what we want to do and making a good contribution.'
Waters has received even more playing time after being named Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year last season. The former all-state selection is shooting well (.455 from the field, .429 from 3-point range, .857 at the line) while averaging 6.9 points and 3.0 assists in 20.3 minutes.
'Dominic's right in the thick of things for us,' Wallace says. 'He and the starting point guard (Matt Gibson) pretty much divide minutes. (Waters) runs the club, shoots the ball well and shows strong leadership.'
Luettgerodt and Waters have the same goal - to help the team win as many games as possible and to break into the starting lineup.
'But that's coach's decision,' Waters says. 'I think Riley and I feel the same way. We want to play, but we have to do what's best for the team.'
• From the too-good-to-be-true department: Joe Giansante, the TV voice of University of Oregon football and basketball since 1999, once was the Ducks' mascot.
'It was a fun thing to do,' says Giansante, 40, a Forest Grove native who wore the Duck suit at football and basketball games from 1986-88. 'My father (Ray) had played football at Oregon,. and I was always a big Duck fan. I wanted to be involved. I got to do a lot of different things. Who wouldn't want to be on the field or court for every game?'
Giansante, who counted among his roommates ex-UO quarterback Bill Musgrave, sometimes got in a fowl mood with referees.
'I got called into (Athletic Director) Bill Byrne's office one time and told I couldn't yell at the officials anymore,' Giansante says. 'Funny thing was, (the refs) didn't know where it was coming from. It was a secret probation moment.'
Giansante once quipped the mascot gig was 'a good way to meet girls.' You wouldn't think so, but it worked - Giansante's wife of 14 years, Kim, was a UO cheerleader whom he met at a game.
'I've spent 20 years trying to impress on people that (mascot duty) isn't what defines me today,' he says. 'But it was a lot of fun for a college kid.'
• Former University of Portland tennis great Travis Parrott married Glencoe High grad Kristin DeVita here last Saturday. Parrott, ranked 58th in the world in doubles, was flanked by sometimes doubles partner Jordan Kerr, ranked 80th in doubles, in the wedding party.
nAnother ex-Pilot net sensation, Roman Borvanov, has climbed to No. 400 in the world in singles.
'He's the highest-ranked singles player ever from our program,' UP coach Aaron Gross says. 'Nobody would have guessed Roman would have gotten this high. He is a late bloomer, which is rare in tennis. We'd all hoped he'd go out and earn a few points and see the world. But to be moving up like he is, it's pretty remarkable.'
Borvanov, 24, is a native of the Republic of Moldova in Eastern Europe and played Davis Cup for his country last year. He earned 12 Association of Tennis Professionals points by reaching the quarterfinals of a Challenger event in Puebla, Mexico, last month.
• Canby High's Clint Chapman, a 6-11, 245-pound center bound for Texas next year, is on the cover of Rise magazine's Portland issue this month.