By Stephen Tsai
In the late 1980s, Riley Wallace, then the UH basketball coach, had his version of the gray-shirt program. At the start of training, each player was issued a plain gray shirt. The reward of good practices was to be awarded a "Hawaii" basketball jersey. Chris Gaines always was one of the first to earn a promotion.
Back then, one of the drills was a one-on-one, no-rules, full-court game. Joe Hudson, a transfer from Alabama, was a quite confident guard. He once brought a league championship ring to practice. He also requested going one-on-one against Gaines. According to former UH basketball player David Hallums, Hudson told teammates that he would "bring the wood." But Gaines, an accurate outside shooter who also was quite athletic, dunked on Hudson.
And that was Gaines, who worked hard and hushed critics with deeds instead of words.
He was a nice guy who didn't fade in the spotlight. During games, he always finished fastbreaks with lay-ins. After games, whether a victory or a tough loss, he would be the first to answer questions.
Gaines died Christmas Day in Orlando.
When Hallums, now a police officer, learned of Gaines' death, he pulled his car to the side and "shed a tear."
He recalled "Goo," his former roommate who earned the nicknamed either because it rhymed with his hometown of Waterloo or from the Eddie Murphy skit "Goonie Goo Goo."
"He was a great friend," Hallums said. "He was one of the funniest guys. I shed a tear. That's how much he meant to me."
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The football season is over, but it's a busy time for now-former Warriors with pro aspirations. Slotback Greg Salas and his family met with three agents yesterday; they will select one this week.