By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The University of Hawaii men’s basketball program has had its share of big-name opponents over the years, including North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, Syracuse, Arizona, UCLA and Louisville. But what about individual players? We’ve compiled a list of some of the greatest basketball players to ever play against the Rainbow Warriors. Our list includes future NBA champions, Hall of Fame inductees, and even members of the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic teams.
OUR STARTING FIVE:
F – TIM DUNCAN – A young Duncan recorded a double-double – 12 points, 12 rebounds – in helping Wake Forest trounce Hawaii in the 1993 Great Alaska Shootout.
F – KARL MALONE – “The Mailman” delivered 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Louisiana Tech to a 13-point win over UH in a December 1984 game at the Blaisdell.
C – ROBERT PARISH – The 7-foot future Hall of Famer tormented Hawaii in the mid-1970s. As a freshman, in his first game against the Rainbows, Parish scored 29 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked 12 shots.
G – PAUL GEORGE – Starred at Fresno State and frequently got the better of Hawaii, including a 21-point, 9-rebound and 6-assist game in January 2010.
G – TIM HARDAWAY – The originator of the “UTEP Two-Step” tormented WAC rivals in the late 1980s. He scored 22 points in his final game against Hawaii.
F – ELVIN HAYES – We couldn’t find the stats for this game, but we know the “Big E” played. Hawaii fell to the Cougars in Houston, 93-59.
F – TOM CHAMBERS – Hawaii shocked No. 6 Utah, 83-74, in 1981 WAC thriller. The Utes’ Tom Chambers, a future NBA All-Star, did his best to stop UH. The high-flying power forward scored 30 points and snared 9 rebounds for the visiting team.
F – WAYMAN TISDALE – As a freshman, the Oklahoma star made 20 field goals against UH in the 1982 Rainbow Classic. That is still the record for UH opposing players.
F – PAUL PIERCE – Hawaii’s 76-65 upset over No. 2-ranked Kansas is one of the great moments in program history. Still, Pierce did his part, scoring 22 points and pulling down 9 boards for the Jayhawks.
F – DANNY MANNING – Two years before he led Kansas to a national title, a young Manning showcased his talents in the 1986 Rainbow Classic. He scored 21 points and had 6 rebounds in an 81-80 win over UH despite limited playing time due to foul trouble.
F – XAVIER McDANIEL – The uncanny “X-Man” dominated Hawaii in a December 1984 game against the Rainbow Warriors, putting 18 points and 19 rebounds.
F – LEN BIAS – What could have been. Bias put up 15 points against UH in a 1984 Rainbow Classic semifinal.
C – BILL CARTWRIGHT – The future NBA All-Star and 3x NBA champion poured in 30 points in two games against UH in December 1975. The young center was part of San Francisco’s triumvirate of highly-recruited freshmen (along with guard Winfred Boynes and forward James Hardy).
C – DAVE COWENS – Before winning NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, Cowens was dominating the college game. He grabbed 26 rebounds against Hawaii in 1969, still a record for UH opponents.
C – CHRISTIAN LAETTNER – Regarded as one of the greatest college players of all time, Laettner had a pedestrian effort against Hawaii in the 1989 Rainbow Classic, scoring 12 points in the Duke win.
C – RASHEED WALLACE – Scored 6 points in a North Carolina home win over UH in December 1993.
G – DANNY AINGE – He was a player Hawaii loved to hate, and not just because he played for Hawaii’s WAC rival, the BYU Cougars. In his final game against UH,
Howdy Doody Ainge scored 17 points and grabbed 7 boards, helping the No. 17 Cougars prevail, 77-72. Percent
G – SIDNEY MONCRIEF – One of the greatest Arkansas players ever, the future NBA All-Star scored 51 points in two victories over Hawaii in December 1977.
G – JERRY STACKHOUSE – Led North Carolina with 17 points in the team’s 92-77 victory over Hawaii. (UH’s Jarinn Akana led all scorers in that contest, with 26 points.)
G – MICHAEL COOPER – He was primarily known for his defensive prowess in the NBA, but Cooper did score 18 points and snare 6 rebounds against UH in February 1978.
G – BOBBY HURLEY – One of the winningest point guards in NCAA history, Hurley had 13 points and 4 assists in Duke’s 1989 Rainbow Classic victory over Chris Gaines and the Rainbow Warriors.