Friday, October 30, 2009

Gaucho preview: James Powell

James Powell ("JP") is entering his senior season as the Gauchos' leading returning scorer. The 6'2" sharpshooter averaged 9.0 per game last season, scoring in the double digits in 13 games. JP scored a season-high 22 points against USF last season, and had a career-high 25 points against UCR during the 2007-2008 season. He also made 46.7% of his 3-point field goals shots that year, setting a UCSB record.

JP also averaged 2.4 rebounds per game, and led the team in free throw percentage with 83.3% his junior year. He holds the distinction of being the returning player with the most career points in the Big West Conference, with 910. One of the most prolific 3-point shooters in Gaucho history, JP also has 179 career assists when opposing defenders focus on his outside jump shot. But shooting is JP's specialty, and with Justin Joyner returning as the point guard for the Gauchos, look for JP to have another banner year draining 3's from the perimeter.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gaucho preview: Orlando Johnson

Orlando Johnson ("OJ") redshirted last season after transferring in from Loyola Marymount University. The 6'5" wing enjoyed a stellar freshman season at LMU, setting freshman records in both points and rebounds. Johnson averaged 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game to lead his team in both categories. He also connected on 40 3-point field goals and tied for the team lead with 12 blocked shots.

Johnson, a sophomore, will be expected to be one of the emotional team leaders as well as stuffing the stat sheets. His versatility on offense enables him to score on the perimeter as well as finish in the post. His strength, athleticism, and quickness will cause match up problems for defenders, while his length will disrupt opposing offenses at the other end of the court.

Look for OJ to post up smaller defenders in the post when playing the wing, and shooting the perimeter jumper or driving around slower defenders when playing the 4. Along with fellow sophomore James Nunnally and senior sharp-shooting James Powell, the Gauchos will have one of the most potent backcourts in the Big West.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gaucho preview: Jon Pastorek

Jon Pastorek, a 6'10" junior forward, redshirted last season after transferring in from San Diego State. Pastorek averaged 1.9 points and 1.2 rebounds per game his sophomore season, shooting 50% from the field. He had a career-high 13 points in a game his freshman season as an Aztec.

With Jesse Byrd out for the season due to a knee injury, Pastorek will compete for one of the starting forward positions. Pastorek can step outside and hit the perimeter jumper, and is equally adept at setting up his teammates. His length and versatility will be a welcome addition to the Gaucho front court.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gaucho preview: Lucas Devenny

Lucas Devenny is a 6'9" freshman power forward from Santa Rosa, CA. He averaged 21 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocked shots a game his senior year at Piner High. Named to the Honorable Mention All-State and Second All-Bay Area teams, Devenny led Piner to three consecutive post-season berths, and a North Bay League title last season.

Devenny had career high games of 36 points, 26 rebounds, and 11 blocked shots in high school. Known for being a solid presence in the paint, Devenny can also step out and knock down the outside jumper with accuracy. His length and strength in the post will be valuable for the Gaucho front court, as will his ability to rebound and score from the perimeter and inside.

USA Today preview of UCSB Men's basketball

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gaucho preview: James Nunnally

James Nunnally had a stellar freshman season, averaging 7.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. But his overall season statistics are a bit misleading, as the sophomore wing really didn't come into his own until later in the season, when he scored double figures in six of the last seven games. Over the course of the season, Nunnally gradually improved, becoming acclimated to the faster pace and physical nature of Division 1 NCAA basketball.

The 6'5" Nunnally had a breakout game against the University of North Carolina Tarheels, the eventual NCAA champions. He scored 22 points and had 7 rebounds against the best team in the country, all within 26 minutes of play. Another highlight was the regular season finale against Long Beach State, when Nunnally made the winning basket--a running 3-point buzzer-beater, on his way to 20 points for the game. For the season, Nunnally made 36.1% of his 3-point shots, but made 66.7% over the last 4 games.

Nunnally has a well-rounded offensive game, with the ability to finish inside, shoot the outside jumper and find his open teammates. With improved strength, explosiveness, basketball IQ, handles, and defensive intensity, Nunnally could become one of the best perimeter players in the Big West Conference.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gaucho preview: Will Brew

Will Brew, Jr. is entering his second season as a Gaucho with a season of starting at the point guard position under his belt. The 6'3" sophomore started 23 of 31 games last year, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, while dishing out 54 assists and stealing the ball 30 times.

As Brew gained more experience, his shooting percentages improved through conference play. His fg% was .421, while his 3-pt. fg% was an outstanding .403. Besides being forced to handle point guard duties on offense due to a season-ending injury to Justin Joyner, Brew's biggest asset is his defensive intensity. Aside from being a tenacious rebounder on the perimeter, Brew forced numerous turnovers with defensive pressure. Brew's athleticism also allows him to finish strong at the rim, while his penetration skills open up scoring opportunities for his teammates.

With Joyner back, Brew will provide experienced depth at both guard positions, giving the Gauchos lineup a lock-down defender who can create at the offensive end, and shoot the 3-point shot.

Gaucho preview: Sam Phippen

Sam Phippen will provide much needed experience at the power forward position his junior season. Phippen played in 30 games last season, averaging 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds a game. With Jesse Byrd out for the season due to a knee injury, the 6'9" Phippen figures more prominently in the Gaucho frontcourt, and will be expected to pick up some of the void left by Byrd on the boards and on defense.

However, Phippen's greatest talent is his ability to knock down the outside jumper, an advantage for a post player, as he can draw his defender out to the perimeter. In fact, Phippen was so proficient from beyond the 3-point arc, that he led the Gauchos in 3-pt. shooting with an outstanding .563 fg percentage. The redshirt junior will be asked to play more minutes and carry more of the offensive load this season.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gaucho preview: Justin Joyner

Justin Joyner returns as the Gauchos starting point guard after sitting out last year due to a broken wrist. The six-foot redshirt junior will again run the Gaucho offense, as he did his freshman and sophomore seasons. Joyner started all 32 games his sophomore season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds despite playing through that injured wrist. More importantly, he dished out 116 assists and committed only 56 turnovers, giving him an assist/turnover ratio of 2.1/1.0, among the best in the Big West Conference.

A ball hawk on defense, Joyner also had 35 steals during that 2007/2008 season. He will provide proven, experienced leadership on both sides of the ball, with increased basketball knowledge from watching the action from the sidelines all last season. Another benefit from being sidelined with an injured right wrist is that Joyner has been able to increase his dexterity with his left-hand, making him even more dangerous with penetrations and finishes.

The play-maker will be able to provide leadership while on the court, and not just from the sidelines. The only people looking forward to the upcoming season more than Joyner may be his teammates, as they know he will provide them with plenty of scoring opportunities.

Gaucho preview: Paul Roemer

Paul Roemer, a 6-foot senior guard, returns for a 4th year in the Gaucho program. The scrappy combination guard started 18 games, averaging 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds a game last season. He was also second on the team in assists with 56 and contributed 30 steals.

In fact, that is where Roemer is at his best, usually checking the opponents' best perimeter player. Along with backcourt mate Justin Joyner, who was a high school teammate at De La Salle High School in Concord, CA, Roemer will be expected to provide senior leadership for the younger guns in the program. Whether it's handling the ball or taking a charge on defense, Roemer will lead by example as the Gauchos seek a Big West Conference title for the 2009 - 2010 season.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gaucho preview: Jordan Weiner

Jordan Weiner will continue his role as a designated 3-point shooter. The 6-foot junior averaged 3.5 points per game last season, and shot .382 from beyond the 3-point line. His 29 3-point field goals ranked second on the team, a remarkable feat considering his minutes played ranked 10th on the team.

Weiner also collected 12 steals on the defensive end. Look for the sharp-shooter to be a zone buster from the perimeter again, and scoring more 3-point buckets this season.

Gaucho preview: Chris Brew

Chris Brew is a highly-decorated true freshman from St. Mary's High in Berkeley, CA. The 6'3" guard averaged 26.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 steals, and 8.6 assists per game as a senior last year. As a junior, along with older brother Will Brew, Jr., Chris helped St. Mary's win the CIF championship and finish 2nd in the State tournament. Will, now a Gaucho sophomore, and Chris bring aggressive styles of play both on offense and defense.

Chris attacks the basket and finishes at the rim in traffic. Known for being extremely athletic, he excels in transition. Due to his length, he also causes havoc on the defensive end. With a developing outside jumper, Chris also needs work in the weight room to withstand the rigors of Division 1 play.

While a candidate to redshirt in order to adjust to NCAA basketball on and off the court, Chris may be too talented to redshirt, despite quality depth in the Gaucho backcourt. Whether he redshirts or not, Gaucho fans can expect plenty of excitement at the Thunderdome the next few years from both Brew brothers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gaucho preview: Jaime Serna

With practice starting next week, and the season a month away, it's about time to re-visit Gaucho returnees, and get acquainted with the newcomers. Up first is Jaime Serna, the 6'7" sophomore power forward / center for the Gauchos.

Serna averaged 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game as a true freshman last season, shooting .538 from the field, and .662 from the free throw line. Serna will be called on to play tough interior defense, and grab rebounds on both ends of the floor, especially with frontcourt mate Jesse Byrd out for the season due to a lingering knee injury. Serna will also be counted on to score more inside, expanding his repertoire of offensive moves in the post. His physical presence inside will be important for the Gauchos, as the Gauchos appear loaded on the perimeter.

Serna will probably start at one of the forward positions, which he did for the last 16 games last season. He is one of four returnees who were part of a vaunted freshman class from 2008, and if form holds true that the biggest improvement occurs between the first and second seasons, look for the Gauchos to have a much better team this season.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Byrd's Gaucho career ends

Jesse Byrd's career with the UCSB Men's basketball team has prematurely ended. A second injury to the senior center's left knee has resulted in his decision to no longer play for the Gauchos.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gaucho season tickets on sale

The UCSB Men's basketball program is now offering tickets for the 2009-2010 season at the Thunderdome.

Also, check out the newly painted floor in the Thunderdome:

The Gauchos return a lot firepower and add a talented corps of newcomers in their pursuit of a Big West Conference championship.

Justin Joyner

With the UCSB Men's basketball season just around the corner, it's time to get re-acquainted with returnees as well as introduce ourselves to incoming players. Here is an article from the UCSB official athletics site on two-year starting point guard Justin Joyner.

Justin redshirted last year to recover from a broken wrist and he looks ready to lead the Gauchos back to a Big West title. Good luck Justin!

All-time list of NCAA basketball programs

Based on subjective criteria, the UCSB men's basketball program is ranked #142 among Division 1 programs, in a survey created by ESPN/Sagarin.