Arizona Wildcats basketball


HONOLULU - During his entire college career, Zane Johnson kept playing for coaches other than the ones he actually committed to.

First, he committed to Lute Olson out of Phoenix's Thunderbird High School, but played for interim coaches Kevin O'Neill (2007-08) and Russ Pennell (2008-09). Then, after he opted to transfer from Arizona in the spring of 2009, he opted to play for Hawaii's Bob Nash - only to see Nash get fired after Johnson's redshirt season.

Johnson was all but stuck at Hawaii for his final two years of eligibility, having already used his redshirt season.

Fortunately, he and new Rainbow Warriors coach Gib Arnold had already hit it off. Arnold had recruited Johnson when he was an assistant at USC.

"He was the only guy I knew on this team," Arnold said. "I had a good relationship with him."

Arnold ended up getting two productive seasons from the Phoenix wing, who averaged 34.3 minutes a game as a junior and senior at Hawaii. Johnson averaged 15.8 points per game as a junior in 2010-11 and 14.0 points last season, shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range as a junior.

"Zane had two really good years for us and was a big part of us winning 35 games in two years and turning this program around," Arnold said. "They had had three straight losing seasons (before Arnold took over), and Zane was part of the group that turned it around. Zane hit a lot of big shots for us and was our captain his senior year."

Among other highlights, Johnson had 14 points and five assists when Hawaii beat then-No. 14 Xavier in last season's Diamond Head Classic, the Warriors' first win over a ranked team in six seasons.

Johnson began playing professionally this season in Japan but is heading next week to begin playing in Spain, UA trainer Justin Kokoskie said after speaking with Johnson this week.

Banged up

Arizona spent the off day Monday getting some much-needed rest for three players who suffered minor injuries over the weekend. Kokoskie said guard Mark Lyons sprained an ankle, forward Grant Jerrett sprained a wrist and wing Kevin Parrom suffered a hip pointer.

"It was good we had the extra day so we could get the guys ready for this game," Kokoskie said before UA played San Diego State.

Consolation prize

San Francisco and Amphitheater High grad Tim Derksen won their final game of the Diamond Head Classic, beating East Tennessee State 67-49 in the seventh-place game Tuesday morning.

The Dons held ETSU to 5-for-20 three-point shooting and had a 38-21 rebounding edge. Cole Dickerson led USF with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Derksen added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Derksen, a 6-foot-3-inch freshman, averaged 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in three Diamond Head Classic games while starting at small forward for the Dons (6-6).

Too much aloha

Mississippi finally found its old ways Tuesday, scoring 26 points off turnovers while beating Hawaii 81-66 in the fifth place game.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said the Rebels hadn't quite been themselves in a first-round loss to Indiana State and a second-round win over San Francisco.

"Defensively, we've been pretty good until we got on that plane heading west," Kennedy said. "For whatever reason - maybe that laid-back Hawaiian air - we were a little bit passive."

The Rebels figured it out just in time. They led by just two points with 3:40 to go before two steals led to easy baskets and put Ole Miss up 73-63 with 1:25 to go.

"We kind of broke down mentally," Hawaii guard Jace Tavita said. "We weren't mentally tough like we need to be to finish games."

Wild finish

Indiana State's Jake Odum hit a 12-foot leaning jumper with two seconds left to give the Sycamores a 57-55 overtime win over Miami in the third-place game. They beat Ole Miss and lost to San Diego State before the consolation contest.