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Bob Nash will be honored with jersey retirement on Saturday

The first University of Hawai’i basketball player to make it in the NBA. The first UH basketball player to garner All-America attention. The only UH basketball player from the NCAA Division I era to return as a head coach for the Rainbow Warriors.

Bob Nash is the only person who can stake a claim to all of those significant achievements. And there are many, many more attached to his name.

It is thus quite fitting that Nash will become the first player in 100 seasons of UH basketball to have his jersey retired. He and his No. 33 jersey will be honored on Saturday, when the current Warriors host UC Irvine in a Big West Conference game.

The game, which will be televised on ESPN2, is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. It is also being promoted as a “White-Out” and the first 3,000 fans to arrive will receive a white shirt with No. 33 on it.

As a player, Nash was a member of UH’s still famous “Fabulous Five” teams of 1970-71 and 1971-72. Those teams brought national recognition to Hawai’i, and was ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation in 1972.

Nash was a 6-foot-8 power forward who set rebounding records that may never be broken.

Photos courtesy www.hawaiiathletics.com

As a junior, he set UH records with 360 total rebounds and an average of 12.9 per game. As a senior, he did even better. He grabbed a UH single-game record 30 rebounds against Arizona State, then finished the season with records of 361 total rebounds and an average of 14.4 per game. All of those records remain atop the UH rebounding lists.

He was the first player in UH basketball history to receive votes for All-America honors, earning Third Team status by Basketball News, and honorable mention from the Associated Press.

For his two-year career at UH, Nash averaged 16.8 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. He grabbed 20 or more rebounds in a game seven different times over the course of his two seasons.

After his senior season, Nash was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft (ninth overall) by the Detroit Pistons. He played four seasons in the NBA, one in the ABA, and two in Europe.

He returned to the UH program as a graduate assistant coach under Larry Little in 1981. He remained on staff as an assistant/associate coach for the Warriors through 2007, including all 20 seasons of Riley Wallace’s tenure as head coach. He was the UH head coach for three seasons, 2007-10.

All told, Nash was an official member of the UH basketball program for 31 years – two as a player, 26 as an assistant/associate coach, and three as a head coach. It is another record that may never be touched.

Interestingly enough, more than a dozen players have worn jersey number 33 for Hawai’i after Nash, including his own son, Bobby Nash. The younger Nash played his senior season during his father’s first season as head coach (2007-08).

Other players to wear No. 33 for Hawai’i include: Melton Werts (1972-76), who ranks second to Nash in career rebounding average; Gavin Smith, who holds the UH single-season record for scoring average at 23.4 per game; Stefan Jankovic, who was named the Big West Conference Player of the Year in 2016.

HAWAI’I (14-9, 5-4 Big West) vs. UC IRVINE (16-10, 8-2 Big West)
When: Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:00 p.m.  HT
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: ESPN2 – Channels 224 (SD) and 1224 (HD).
Streaming Video: ESPN3.com / WatchESPN app
Radio: Live on ESPN Honolulu (1420 AM/92.7 FM), KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i.
Audio Webcast: ESPNHonolulu.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Ticket Information: Lower level – $32; Upper level (prices vary by section) – $22 or $15 for adults, $18 or $13 for senior citizens, $8 or $5 for students. UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $7.

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