HONOLULU – University of Hawai’i men’s basketball coach Riley Wallace announced the hiring of former Rainbow Alika Smith as the team’s new assistant coach. Smith, a four-year letterman from 1994-98, fills the vacancy left by Bob Burke, who accepted a position on the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers staff during the summer.
Smith served as an assistant coach at Hawai`i-Hilo from 2001-03 under former UH assistant Jeff Law. Smith helped lead the Vulcans to the NCAA Division II West Regionals in 2003. In his two seasons, the Vulcans compiled a 39-16 record (.709).
“Alika is a great fit because he knows our offense,” Wallace said. “He was a part of one of our greatest teams in school history and coached on Jeff Law’s staff. He graduated within the UH system and is well-respected within the local basketball community.”
Smith will start immediately and work with the guards. He joins associate coaches Bob Nash and Jackson Wheeler on Wallace’s coaching staff.
As a Rainbow, Smith was one-half of the school’s “Dynamic Duo” with guard Anthony Carter. The two led UH to back-to-back 21-win seasons and appearances in the National Invitation Tournament in 1997 and ’98. Smith was a two-time all-Western Athletic Conference pick and was named to the WAC’s all-defensive team in 1997. The Kailua, O’ahu native ranks third all-time in scoring (1,415), second in steals (152), sixth in assists (344), sixth in field goals (484), fourth in free throws (286), and fifth in free throw percentage (.797) and at the end of his career was the school’s threepoint leader (161).
Following his collegiate career, Smith was a member of the Continental Basketball Association’s Dakota Wizards during the 1998-99 season, in which he was named the league’s offensive player of the year.
Smith earned four varsity letters for his father, Pete, at Kalaheo High School. A three-time state player of the year, Smith made headlines throughout the state by signing with the hometown Rainbows.
Smith, 29, most recently was employed with Nurse-finders, Inc., as a skills trainer. In addition, Smith has served as a camp coach at Pete Newell’s Big Man Camp since 2000. From 1994-2003, Smith was a camp coach for Pete Smith’s Basketball Camp.