Alex Delanian’s first road trip as Hawaii’s associate head coach will take him back to familiar surroundings.
Delanian graduated from USC and began his coaching progression with the Trojans. Now in his fourth season with the Rainbow Wahine basketball program, he’ll have the seat next to head coach Laura Beeman when UH opens the season Friday against USC.
Although returning to the Galen Center will surely bring back some memories, those thoughts have been largely blocked out by the task of preparing a young UH roster — particularly in the post — for the coming season.
“It’s kind of fun thinking about where I’m going to eat because I know all the places around campus,” said Delanian, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from USC. “But so much of the focus is on preparing this team for something a lot of them haven’t experienced yet, their first college game and all that comes along with that.
“When I’m packing my bag I kind of laugh at the fact that we’re going back, but day-to-day it’s really, really focused on us.”
As an undergraduate student at USC, Delanian was part of the male scout team that practiced against the Women of Troy. That rolled into a job as a graduate assistant for two years and he was director of operations for the next three years. He moved into the same role with the Rainbow Wahine in 2013, reuniting with Beeman, a USC assistant before taking over at UH in 2012. He served as a full-time assistant the last two years and was promoted to associate head coach in the offseason.
He was responsible for preparing the scouting report for Friday’s opener against a USC team that returns four starters and eight letterwinners off a team that went 19-13 overall and 6-12 in Pac-12 play last season.
“The first game is always a weird scouting eport because of personnel changes,” Delanian said. “They brought in a really good freshman class. I’ve seen those kids play in a high school setting just from being out recruiting. So I know they’re talented, I know a little bit of that they can do, but it’s always translating what they’re going to do on this team.”
While part of Delanian’s job is to alert the Wahine to what they could face on the floor on Friday, he also wants them to stay focused on execution.
“I just want them to come into the game confident, knowing that if we play our game we can have a really good showing. It’s really about doing stuff right on our end and not worrying about what they have,” he said.
>> The Rainbow Wahine are scheduled to depart for Los Angeles on Wednesday morning (the bus leaves campus at 6 a.m.) and will likely be in transit when incoming recruits send in their signed letters of intent.
Wednesday marks the opening day of the early signing period for basketball and UH has commitments from three recruits. The UH staff focused on replenishing the depth chart in the post and expects letters from a center, a forward and a wing player.
With Megan Huff and Dalayna Sampton leaving the program after last season, freshmen Taylor Donohue, Makenna Woodfolk and Keleah-Aiko Koloi, who has been limited in practice due to a knee injury, will rotate in the post early in the season. Adrienne Darden, another freshman, becomes eligible in December. Sophomore Lahni Salanoa, at 5-11, also figures to rotate to center at times.
“We need bigs. Losing Huff and Dalayna its shortened up our post rotation, so we’ll get Adrienne, which will be great, but we need to bring in more big in so that was one of our focuses,” Beeman said.