6-11 center would punctuate recruiting
By Ferd Lewis
At 6 feet 11 and 300 pounds or so Andre Almeida looks a lot like a human exclamation point.
Which is fitting because, attired in a green and white uniform, that's what the Brazilian-born center could be for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team.
Coaches who have seen Almeida play in junior college, where he was a second-team All-American at Arizona Western College after averaging 13.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and leading the nation in field-goal percentage (71 percent), describe him as "the real deal" and "a force."
All of which the 'Bows could use this season. Or, frankly, any year.
If not for a slight problem, that is. And we'll let you decide how slight.
Because officially, on paper and promise, Almeida is Cornhusker chattel. He committed to Nebraska, where the news of his signing a national letter of intent was met with much fanfare, five months ago.
An NU spokesman said via e-mail, "Andre is not asking for a release and is committed to the University of Nebraska."
So he is, apparently, signed and sealed, though yet to be delivered until summer.
Still, speculation about where Almeida might end up by the time the basketball season tips off persists. It has buzzed Cornhusker message boards and elsewhere. Enough, apparently, that we're told, NU head coach Doc Sadler was in Yuma, Ariz., late last week to meet with Almeida.
And, it isn't hard to grasp the hop-on-a-plane urgency.
Almeida was recruited out of Arizona Western by then-Nebraska assistant Walter Roese, who was his coach on Brazilian national teams in 2006 and 2009 and might coach him again this summer. The same Roese (pronounced Row-eez) who was announced as the new UH associate head coach last week. Three days later Sadler was in Yuma.
Officially, UH isn't allowed to even contact, much less recruit, Almeida by both NCAA rule and gentlemen's convention. And UH coach Gib Arnold has refused to discuss him or the prospects of Almeida landing here.
But if Almeida expressed a wish to change addresses, as rumors have it, it wouldn't be the first time a high profile signee changed his mind when the coach who recruited him went elsewhere.
Not that the Cornhuskers would be compelled to grant him such a wish. Without a release, Almeida would have to sit out before he could play for UH or, indeed, anybody but the Cornhuskers. With a release in hand, however, he could be eligible to play this season.
If Almeida somehow ended up at UH, he could be that exclamation point for the 'Bows.