Sunday, November 28, 2010

Timeout with Nate Boogie: I'm back

On his surgery:

Being in this wheelchair has helped me appreciate life more and value opportunities people take for granted everyday. But hey no one or nothing will stop boogie cuz I'm still smiling babyyyyyy. The best is yet to come. I've gotten a chance to watch a lot of ball and I am learning so much of the game that I need to incorporate before heading to the next level.

On recent Gaucho games:

So since I've been gone we have been 1-1, moving our record to a whopping 2-3. Inconsistent play stands out looking at the record and it's becoming a major issue. From speaking to players we have some toughness issues that need to be addressed asap. We handled Fresno state at home, led by orlandos huge performance of 35 points. He scored in every way possible shooting at a high clip 13-18. I wasn't there in physical but there in spirit. Our defense made progress in that game forcing turnovers and sticking to the script our trademark defense. Big Greg caught a nasty lob, I see you big G. We were rolling, taking the momentum to Portland before being slapped in the face by a hot shooting pilot team. Scouting report on Portland, they can SHOOT, the whole world knows and they did just that knocking down 12 3pointers. We got off to a slow start and trailed at half 37-15. Being down on the road is tough and takes a total team effort to mount a comeback. We climbed back in but I don't know too many teams who can recover from more turnovers than points at halftime. We were led by James nunnaly who had a solid 22 and 11, Orlando right behind with 18. It's frustrating to see my team struggle like this, no leadership and no toughness will get you nowhere. We as a team must come together and shake this off to have a better December before heading into conference. I can most certainly gaurantee to provide that spark and leadership role as soon as I hit the floor. I will promise you gaucho fans that when I return next year with the help of coaches and my teammates, I will bring prestige and dominance back to sb. Now gaucho fans stay positive it's a long year, we will hit our stride. Come check us out this wednsday in the thunder dome at 7 as we take on Orlando's former LMU team.

Gauchos Can't Overcome Big Deficit, Fall at Portland, 75-63

Box Score

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Portland Pilots preview

Portland Briefly...
• The Pilots dropped an 84-68 decision to Washington State in Seattle on Tuesday.
• Jared Stohl had a team-high 21 points and Nemanja Mitrovic added 17 as Portland cut an early 21-point deficit down to one midway through the second half before losing at the end.
• Luke Sikma is leading the WCC and is fourth in the nation in rebounding (12.5).
• Stohl’s 22 three-pointers made led the nation as of Nov. 25. He led the nation in 3-point percentage last season (.478) and could become the first player in NCAA history to do it two years in a row. Stohl is already the UP record holder in threes made (267) and is second in school history in 3-point pct (.456).
• Portland is ranked No. 17 in the latest Mid-Major Top 25.
• Head coach Eric Reveno returns with his staff for their fifth season at Portland.
• The Pilots matched a school Division I record with 21 wins last season, following a 19-win 2008-09 campaign. Both years Portland was invited to the Postseason Tournament.
• The Pilots are 3-0 at the Chiles Center this season and 28-4 at the building since the beginning of the 2008-09 season.

About UC Santa Barbara I Stats I Schedule/Results
• Head coach Bob Williams is in his 13th year at UC Santa Barbara.
• The Gauchos have wins over Denver (65-49) and Fresno State (69-54), and losses to Oregon (72-70) and North Dakota State (68-60).
• Orlando Johnson had career-highs of 35 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Fresno State.
• The Gauchos return all five starters and 10 lettermen from a 2009-10 team that went 20-10 and made the NCAA Tournament after claiming the Big West Tournament title.
• UCSB owns a 5-4 all-time record against Portland. The Gauchos won the last two meetings, most recently a 75-67 decision on Dec. 2, 2006 in Portland.

Quick Gaucho Hoops preview on UCSB Gauchos vs. Portland Pilots

The following is a quick take on tomorrow's nonconference game between the Gauchos and the Pilots:

In the match up between Orlando Johnson ("OJ") and Jared Stohl, the leading scorers of their respective squads, OJ should win that battle, as one can write him in for at least 20 points.  The 6'5" Gaucho guard will get his points, no matter who is guarding him, even against double teams.  He can post up smaller guards, or shoot over and drive past slower, bigger forwards.  And he is also a good passer out of double teams.

Stohl led the nation in 3-point shooting last season with a 47.8%, and is a leading candidate to repeat.   Gaucho defenders must limit his touches, know where he is at all times when Portland is on offense, and constantly have a hand in his face so he gets no easy looks.

The key to the outcome of the game could be whether James Nunnally can knock down his 3-point shot. He led the Big West Conference in 3-point shooting percentage last year, shooting 45.5%, but is only shooting 21.7% from 3-pt. range this year so far. He's had ankle problems the last 2 games, which doesn't help the elevation on his jump shot as well as his mobility, but at least he's been getting to the free throw line, where he's shooting 87.5%. Expect his 17 point per game average to increase as he improves his perimeter shooting over the course of the season.  Hopefully the week off will allow his ankle to fully heal.

UCSB needs a 3rd scoring option, and that option could be Jaime Serna, who is also recovering from a leg injury (calf). He's only averaging 5.8 pps, but he should end up around 10 before the season is over.

Portland needs to have other scoring options as well, because UCSB's scrambling match up zone defense is athletic enough to contain Stohl. He's not as quick or tall as NDSU's shooters, even if his shot has good form. Luke Sikma will be a challenge for the Gauchos on the boards, but the Gauchos are much better in rebounding this year, mainly because Jon Pastorek (6'10") is now getting more minutes from Jordan Weiner (6'0").  The 7'3" Greg Somogyi should also help in neutralizing Sikma on the boards, as well as disrupting any shots from the Pilots in the interior.

The Gauchos' defense is vulnerable to smart, good passing and shooting teams, which Portland is, but if they can stay a step quicker on close outs, they should harass the Pilots' shooters enough to pull out a Gaucho win on the road, which is a tough task.  The other shooter on the Pilots squad to look out for is Nemanja Mitrovic.

Prediction: Gauchos 63 - Pilots 61. OJ gets 23, and Nunnally 19.

Orlando Johnson Named Big West Player of the Week

Gauchos vs. Portland Pilots preview

The UCSB Gauchos Men's basketball team head back up to Oregon to play the University of Portland Pilots this Saturday.  Orlando Johnson was the co-Big West Conference Player of the Week after posting career-highs of 35 points and 11 rebounds in a home opening win over the Fresno State Bulldogs 69 -54 last Saturday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Orlando Johnson scores a career-high 30 points against NDSU

Click on image to enlarge.

Orlando Johnson scores a bucket-and-1 on his way to a career-high 30 points against North Dakota State in the BTI Invitational on McArthur Court at the University of Oregon.

Daily Nexus: Scoring duo not enough at Oregon tourney

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 BTI Invitational in Eugene, Oregon Gaucho highlights

Gauchos host Fresno State in the Thunderdome Saturday

Fresno State team report

Gaucho Hoops take:

Preseason 1st Team All-WAC pick Greg Smith is the lone returning starter from last season. Thge 6'10" sophomore center was last season's WAC Freshman of the Year. He's a strong finisher inside and can also step out and hit the mid-range jumper. The other returning starter, 6'2" junior point guard Steven Shepp, is academically ineligible for Fresno State's first eight games and won't be available in Saturday's game against UCSB.

However, Shepp's replacement, 6'4" juco transfer Tim Steed, is a strong presence at the point guard position. FSU now has depth in the perimeter with transfers Bennie Rhodes and Jonathan Wills, freshmen Kevin Olekaibe and Tyler Johnson, and returnee Garrett Johnson.

Joining Smith in the frontcourt will be returnees Jerry Brown and Nedeljko Golubovic, along with newcomers Bracken Funk and John Ryan. While the Bulldogs will miss Paul George, the #10 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, head coach Steve Cleveland believes the new influx of talent will provide enough depth to make up for the attrition.

The Gauchos pulled off a 64 - 60 win in an ESPN BracketBuster game at Fresno State's Save Mart Center last season largely behind Greg Somogyi's record-breaking eight blocked shots.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oregon cheerleaders at UCSB vs. Oregon in BTI Invitational

Television broadcast of UCSB vs Oregon basketball game on 11/14/10

UCSB - Oregon highlights from the Ducks' website

Gauchos Complete Talented 2011 Recruiting Class as Four Sign Letters of Intent

John Green - G, 6-5, 180, Oakland, Calif. (Castlemont HS), Westwind Prep (Phoenix)
The 6-foot-5 Green averaged 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot per game as a senior at Castlemont High School. As a senior in 2010, he led Castlemont to the Oakland Athletic League Tournament championship and then into the second round of the Northern California playoffs. He was an All-Oakland Athletic League, All-Bay Area and All-Alameda County selection. Green is long and athletic and has range that extends out to the three-point line. He currently leads his Westwind Prep squad in scoring. In his AAU experience, Green played Team 94 and Bay Area Hoosiers.

"John is a powerful and athletic player with a tremendous work ethic," Williams said. "He is a natural scorer more than a shooter. He played the five (post) in high school and the three-four for his AAU teams. John will fit into the mold of our scoring wings like (Branduinn) Fullove, (Alex) Harris, (James) Nunnally and O.J. (Orlando Johnson."

T.J. Taylor - G, 5-9, 160, Oakland, Calif. (Oakland HS)
Taylor is a point guard who also has outstanding shooting range and the ability to score. As a junior at Oakland High School, Taylor averaged 18.6 points and 3.2 assists per game while leading his team to the Oakland Athletic League regular season title and to the second round of the Northern California championships. He made 59 three-point baskets and scored a high of 32 points against Miramonte High School. Taylor was named Oakland Athletic League Most Valuable Player, All-Oakland Athletic League and All-Alameda County. He was ranked 22nd on Cali High Sports' list of the top-25 high school seniors in California and ranks him seventh among point guards on the West Coast. Taylor played summer circuit with Oakland Rebels AAU.

"T.J. is very quick and very strong," Williams said. "He can get anywhere he wants to get on the floor and that ability will be very valuable to us. He shoots the ball with range and is very dynamic and quick."

Alan Williams - F, 6-7, 240, Phoenix, Ariz. (North HS)
Williams was a First Team 5A All-State player and led North High School to its second straight Arizona State championship in 2010. Williams averaged a double-double at 12.5 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. He also averaged 3.3 blocked shots per game and made 58% of his field goal attempts. He had a season-best 26 points against Mesa High School and 17 rebounds against Browne High School of Phoenix. Williams, who has a nearly 7-foot wingspan, blocked six or more shots eight times, including a career-best nine in the Arizona State championship game against Chavez High School of Laveen, Ariz. Entering his senior season, he is a preseason All-Metro and All-State selection.

"Alan is a big, strong 6-7 post player," Williams said. "He has great, great hands and when a game is on-the-line he finds ways to help his team win. When games get close he makes free throws, put-backs, blocks shots and gets big rebounds. Alan has a phenomenal upside and has the chance to be a special player."

Taran Brown - F, 6-8, 190, Gillette, Wyo. (Campbell County HS)
As a junior, Brown helped his Campbell County High School team to the Wyoming state championship game and a 27-1 record. He averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He also blocked 44 shots and he was the fourth player in school history to grab 200 or more rebounds in a season. Brown scored in double-figures in 23 of 28 games. A former high jumper, he has a 6-11 wingspan.

"Taran is long, athletic and he can really run," Williams said. "He is a good shooter and plays above the rim. He can defend the two and he will ultimately be strong enough to play the four. As a player, he is a lot like (former Gaucho) Mark Hull. He also has a great family and is very coachable."

UCSB vs. Oregon video highlights

UCSB vs. NDSU video highlights

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NDSU vs. UCSB Gaucho Hoops preview

The NDSU Bison are a tough team, tougher than Denver, in my opinion. Their best player Tveidt (#23) turned an ankle, got taped up, and toughed it out, even though he was having difficulty running. He ended up leading them in scoring with 27 points. If the Gauchos win, one of the biggest reasons may be because his ankle swelled up overnight. His shot was flat after the injury, based on first half of action. Braun (#24) and Carlson (#25) are also good players, VERY clever, and long. Felt (#3) is a gunner with unlimited range, and both point guards can shoot, but the Gauchos can pick their pockets, as Oregon's defenders were doing. NDSU's coach was positive on his players, unlike Denver's coach who kept yelling at this players, demanding perfection even when they were nowhere near the ball (I agree with his coaching concepts, but totally disagree with his Bobby Knight-like undressing of his players). Every time he would yell at them for doing something wrong, they would hang their heads. Thankfully, by the time the Gauchos were pulling away, he laid off of them, remaining on the bench.

Back to NDSU, Tveidt's ankle may blow up after a long, overtime night game, and they don't have the level of depth the Gauchos do, so I expect a Gaucho win. But the gap in talent between the two teams is marginal. Prediction: we win by 7, 69 - 62, in a close game until the end where we wear them out defensively. Their point guards are vulnerable to turnovers, even if they are good shooters.

Regarding the high-scoring affair with the Oregon Ducks, realize that Dana Altman's teams apply a full court press 40 minutes a game. They challenge the inbounds pass after a made bucket. He is liberal with his substitutions, because he prefers a faster tempo, even when his Creighton teams weren't the most athletic (see Kyle Korver). Oregon lacks depth this year, but Altman will deploy full line substitutions much like an ice hockey coach would--he's not afraid to use many different rotations. His teams force an uptempo game, so the scores are generally higher. I don't think NDSU is necessarily a fast-breaking team--they were just forced to play at a quicker pace, as the Gauchos will, when they play the Ducks on Sunday.

Denver vs. UCSB game summary

This is an exclusive Gaucho Hoops game summary From the Sidelines:

Major props are in order for Chris Geraghty, University of Oregon Asst. Director of Media Services for running an organized event, but the ushers take their jobs a bit too seriously. I'm here to take care of business and have no desire to get in anybody else's business--especially when the gym is almost entirely empty. They should take a chapter out of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Perhaps my UCSB sweatshirt had something to do with it. Or their #1 ranking in the BCS Football poll. But alas, this is a Gaucho Hoops report, so enough of Duck hospitality...Before I delve into the Denver / UCSB game report, I feel compelled to make one more comment: U of O cheerleaders live up to their reputation: stunningly beautiful and spirited.

The University of Denver Pioneers are were well-coached, and passed the ball well against our strange, malleable matchup zone, making the Gauchos work hard on defense, shifting from side to side on ball swings. The Denver offensive scheme worked in the first half, and some of our players were noticeably fatigued on offense. I was thinking let's just man up and out-athletic this Denver team of heady, patient shooters, instead of having to cover so much ground in the zone D, because they were hitting their 3 point shots in the first half and the start of the second half. Of course, eventually, the shots predictably stopped falling, and the Gauchos pulled away. BUT THAT WAS DUE TO THE GENIUS OF COACH WILLIAMS.

He inserted the all-defense team, short on height, but tons of hustle. Joyner, Brew, Weiner, Peterson, and Serna. With the exception of Serna, these players are not necessarily known for their offensive firepower among them, but they got many steals, even though they would turn the ball back over a couple times. It didn't matter, the hustle was rewarded, the damage was done, and Denver was clearly frazzled. It went from a tie of 37-all to a lead of 10 points in a few minutes midway through the 2nd half. Based on point differential, THIS WAS THE BEST LINEUP WE HAD ALL NIGHT. This scrambling defense team will be fun to watch. It will probably only work in 2nd halves of games, because players are juiced up with adrenaline in the 1st half. But as opponents tire, they will get careless with passes. The steals came more from intercepted passes than outright pick pockets.

When Coach Williams put in this lineup, I was thinking to myself, "What the hell is he doing? We won't be able to score." But I immediately I turned to a UCSB player's parent and I yelled out, "He's putting in this lineup to wear down the other team!" I was unsure if it would work at the time, but I'll be damned if that's EXACTLY what happened. We had the depth and the quickness--we used them to our advantage. The Denver coach was up to his usual antics, but even he succumbed to it, and eventually just sat listless on the bench, unable to turn around the assault. He must have felt like Napoleon at Waterloo.

Here are my observations on the Gauchos: to a man, we are definitely quicker than we were last year. OJ, Nunn, Somogyi, JJ (he was struggling with his ankle last year), Weiner, Brew, Pastorek, Serna, Devenny--all of them. They did something in the offseason to get quicker. Somogyi had a couple nifty post moves, but then committed an intentional foul out of frustration, and was rewarded with a visit on the bench.

Nunn and OJ didn't have their best shooting night, but we still got a decent win. Serna showed no ill effects from his injury, and Christian Peterson probably closes out on a shooter better than any defender we have, even if he is not the quickest player we have. He takes the short, choppy steps coaches preach when closing in on a shooter, as it reduces his chances on being head-faked out of position and leaving driving lanes open.

We also mixed up the defenses, going to a 1-3-1 zone occasionally, without too much trapping up top. Having Pastorek at the point was intimidating, all 6'10" and arms. Nunn also did a good job at the point in that defense. But the key to the success of the zone is to know when to cover the ball, or whether to back off and play the passing lanes. Gaucho defenders have to be somewhat smart to know who, when, and where to guard the ball. Basketball requires instincts and quick reaction. However, there's a cerebral aspect to the way the Gauchos defend, and I still can't figure out the rotations. Sometimes the wing covers the wing, but on the swing of the ball to the weak side, the defender under the basket may cover the potential shooter. Sometimes a wing defender ends up on the other side of the court. It looks haphazard, but it surely isn't. But it definitely takes communication and sharing of responsibilities--I'm sure it takes a lot of reps to make it 2nd nature for them. And I'm sure opponents will scout it during film sessions, but Denver's players appeared confused by it, despite preparations.

All in all, it was a good win, as the Gauchos didn't require our two stars to have outrageously outstanding shooting games to win decisively. It took hustle, grit, and execution. There's still gas in the Gaucho tank when they'll need to step on the accelerator.

Gauchos Go Small to Win Season Opener, 65-49 over Denver

Box Score

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taran Brown signs LOI to play for UCSB

Brown will make a switch to small forward after playing mainly center for the Camels. He believes he can easily make the switch while learning the position as a redshirt freshman with UCSB.

The question is, can he learn to play the three? He’s a lot better than he was last year. He’s going to have to learn to take people off the bounce.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

ESPN Live Chat with Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman

I got this off the NDSU message board. University of Oregon will be the Gauchos' opponent this Sunday at 6 pm on the Ducks' McArthur Court in Eugene, OR as part of the BTI Invitational.

This is ESPN LIVE CHAT about Oregon.

Next up is Oregon's Dana Altman!

Buzzmaster (11:55 AM)

Coach is here!

Dallas (Eugene, OR)

What can we expect from Joevan Catron after coming off a season ending injury?

Dana Altman (11:57 AM)

Joevan has been battling some injuries again this year. His back has been giving him some problems and he's been having some issues with his hamstring. He's going to have to battle and get himself in shape. He's spent a lot of time in the training room. With that said, he's working really hard and I hope by Dec. 1 that he's back to normal and healthy and ready to go.

James (Cleveland, OH)

Hey coach, this season looks to be a transition year for Oregon. What can we expect from the team in a tough Pac-10 conference?

Dana Altman (11:58 AM)

It will be a little bit of a transition year, for the guys and the coaching staff. Our numbers are not what we'd want them to be. We do have some obstacles to overcome. I like how the guys have worked. We have some injuries to overcome, but I hope by Dec. 1 that we'll be ready to go. It will be a matter of working through the early part of the season and then getting into the Pac-10 part of our schedule in January.

Kevin (Seattle)

how great is the new arena?

Dana Altman (12:00 PM)

Well, it's a wonderful facility. The fans will notice how fan friendly it is. They really worked hard at making it a college arena, with no suites to take the fans away from the action. All 12,000-plus seats are right on the court and they're very close. And it's very athlete friendly. The lockerrooms are really nice. The training facility is great. We have two practice facilities, which is great for the student-athletes. I think it's going to be a wonderful facility, not just for the university but for the state, with all kinds of activities.

Kev (FL)

You come into a conference with a rich basketball history. How are you going to go about making a niche for yourself?

Dana Altman (12:01 PM)

I think Oregon has had some success. I look at the success of those teams and I think we really have to recruit our area well. We have to get on the West Coast and get some players. If we're going to find our niche, we need to carve out a spot for us, recruiting. With the new facility and our new football team and other sports teams are doing very well, we have a number of athletic programs that have done well. We hope that strength will help us as a basketball program. We have a lot of things to sell at Oregon.

Tina (WSU)

IS Klay Thompson the best player in the league?

Dana Altman (12:02 PM)

I don't know. You're asking the wrong guy. This is my first year in the league. Without being able to go through and see all the players, it's hard to make that decision. He's a great player, but as a first year guy, it's hard for me to make a determination.

Abby (NE)

Coach - after being the veteran in a league for the last 16 years, what's it like to be the new guy on the block?

Dana Altman (12:04 PM)

Well, first of all, the coaches in the league are very professional and easy to work with. I've known most of them for a while. I've spent the majority of my career in the Midwest, so the location is different. The transition isn't as tough as it might of been because of the national attention we received at Creighton.

Randy (Orlando, FL)

Are you nervous about your first season as Oregon's head coach?

Dana Altman (12:05 PM)

Oh, I don't know if nervous is the right word. I'm excited. This is a different conference for myself and our assistants. We're excited about the challenges that lie ahead. It will be different for us in the arenas. The guys have been working awfully hard and gives us reason for hope. It will be exciting and a new challenge. We're going to go out and play as hard as we can and make some things happen.

Jeff (LA)

how much of a homecourt advantage do you think the new arena will give you?

Dana Altman (12:06 PM)

Well, if we can get it anywhere close to Mac Court, it would be great. Watching some film of some old games, the film starts to shake because the building was so loud. The building is set up really well. We'll have the students courtside on one side and in the endzone on another side. We'll be able to build that advantage. Will it be Mac Court? That's tough, because that building was old and noisy by nature. But I think this new building, if we produce the types of teams we're used to, we'll have a homecourt advantage also.

Brian (Dayton)

Coach, have you had to adjust your system at all as you have taken over a new program?

Dana Altman (12:08 PM)

We want to give our teams an opportunity to be successful. We're going to try and do some things that we've done over the course of our career. We're going to play a spread offense and drive to the basket. We'll press like we've always done. We're going to run a system that I'm most comfortable with, which is a lot of pressing and changing defenses. We don't have the numbers we've had in the past, but I think we'll be OK.

Peter (Los Angeles)

You lost 10 of 12 games down the stretch last season. What has to happen this year so that won't happen again?

Dana Altman (12:09 PM)

Well, first of all, we've got a lot of new players and a lot of players from the previous years are not with us. I think it will be important for our team to establish itself. Put our culture in. Win games down the stretch. But first of all we have to put ourselves in that situation. We have to play as a team. We have a lot of learning to do. It will be a growing process for our team and our coaching staff.

Matt (IN)

Coach, what kind of a transition is it for you to come to the Pac 10 after being in the MVC?

Dana Altman (12:11 PM)

The MVC has had some pretty good years here. Supposedly the Pac-10 was down last year. We have a lot of young players in our system and in those systems. The playing schedule will be a little different. We had more time to prepare for some games. But I think conference basketball is conference basketball. When you get into the league, everyone knows everyone a little bit better. The second time you play a team, you really get familiar with them. No matter what league you're in, there are adjustments made between the first and second games. All of those details become important.

Dana Altman (12:12 PM)

I appreciate the support we've received so far. Hopefully our recruiting efforts will continue to go well and we'll have success in the future.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NCAA Tournament or bust for the Gauchos

UCSB Basketball Highlights (11/5/10 vs Master's)

The Pit: University of Oregon's old McArthur Court

This is what the Gauchos have to look forward to against the University of Oregon Ducks next Sunday at 6 pm on their home court.

North Dakota State University Men's basketball preview

The North Dakota State Bison will be the Gauchos' second opponent in the BTI Invitational Tournament on University of Oregon's campus in Eugene, OR. Game time is 6:00 pm on November 13 at McArthur Court.

The NDSU Bison were picked to finish 4th in the Summit League in a preseason poll.

Here is a team preview:

The featured players are 6'7" senior forward Michael Tveidt, and 6'6" junior forward Eric Carlson. Tveidt was selected to the preseason all-league first team after averaging 15.7 points per game last season. Carlson made the preseason all-league second team after averaging 14.8 points per game last season.

This is their roster:

The University of Denver Men's basketball preview

The University of Denver Pioneers will be the Gauchos' first opponent in the BTI Invitational Tournament on University of Oregon's campus in Eugene, OR. Game time is 4:30 pm on November 12 at the venerable McArthur Court.

Here is a video of DU head coach Joe Scott describing his team at a press conference:

This is a Sun Belt Conference Media Day blog entry:

Brian Stafford, a 6'4" junior guard, and Chase Hallem, a 6'5" sophomore forward, are Denver's featured players. Stafford is their all-around leader, while Hallem is easing into his role as an impact player.

This is their roster:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Video highlights of 68 - 54 Gaucho win over The Master's College

Mark Massari interview on being a Loco: Wear Gold. Bleed Blue.

Gaucho hoops received some great quotes from Mark Massari, the current UCSB Athletics Director. In this exclusive interview, Massari discusses the success of the men's soccer program, the rising men's basketball program, the marketing initiatives, and what it means to be a Gaucho Loco.

He also provides an interesting perspective on the Civil War rivalry between Oregon State University (where he was Sr. Associate AD) and the University of Oregon (the Gauchos are playing in a tournament next week in Eugene, OR), and draws some parallels with the intensifying "Blue-Green" rivalry between UCSB and Cal Poly-SLO.

One can sense the passion which Massari brings to enhancing the Gaucholoco experience for students, the community, alumni, and all Gaucho fans. In just two short years, Massari has done a great job of elevating Gaucho pride, fund-raising, and increasing fan support. He deserves a big shout out from the Gaucholoco community.

Enjoy the interview, and Go Gauchos!

(GH): The Athletics Department has marketed UCSB and the surrounding SB community as "Soccer Heaven", and is a big reason for the success of the program and the surge in attendance. What marketing programs are being implemented for UCSB men's basketball, another major revenue-producing program?

(MWM): I love what we have here in soccer and our advertising agency (Citrus in Portland, Ore) who does a lot of our branding took the next step from our "Soccer Town" angle we did to get the College Cup and came up with "This is Soccer Heaven." And we're going to stay with it. It's as perfect a tag line as you can get to describe us, Santa Barbara and the love affair with our program. I've actually told our marketing guys I want a big "This is Soccer Heaven." sign to replace the face of the old scoreboard at Harder. I want that to be our Hollywood sign or better yet "The Swamp" like at Florida. I want it in the face of the opposing teams. But with all that said, UCSB is a basketball school first and foremost. What a successful hoops program can do for campus, our alumni and future is too important. This year our season ticket push is around come see these "Marked Men", they can't hide anymore, everyone knows how good they are, etc. We put out some strong print ads and radio spots around that theme and sales are up 15% over last year. And we've decided on a Big West mini-plan offer that will hit hard with some videos and tv along with radio soon. Another run at the title will push the buzz even higher and winning some big games against UNLV, SDSU and Oregon will help get attention outside of SB.

(GH): You also mentioned in a recent New York Times article that the atmosphere at Harder Stadium soccer matches as "electric," with thousands of scarves. How can that atmosphere be replicated in the Thunderdome, considering it is an indoor venue and can get even louder?

(MWM): On the student side, we revamped our student approach this year as establishing every student as a "Loco" and giving them a free tee shirt and other giveaways if they give us their email. Right now we have over 6,000 emails. I really like that angle. It's similar to Duke and the Cameroon Crazies, Utah has The MUSS. Its the entire student body together-type of thing. Because of what started in the 80's and 90's and now with soccer, the Locos are recognized nationally. We just need to tighten it up and give it more structure. We also re-assigned a marketing position to solely focus on rally and campus marketing. His team has some great ideas such as the "Unleash the Locos" theme for the students. Two years ago, we had zero emails and no real way of marketing to the students. Every good idea takes a little time to take hold, and we need to adjust the way we promote games and student involvement here. It will actually get really good in the next two years, but we've got a good start. We stole some of the ideas UC Davis did when they passed that landmark referendum ten years ago and created their strong Aggie Pack. We're different here at UCSB, but the goal is the same. Know the team, get to the game, its free, know the traditions, songs and wear GOLD. We actually averaged 200 additional students at games last year over the previous year. But what we learned was they where shy or maybe new to a game and would sit up high or not in the student section at all. At least we got them there, and they'll find their way, but we at least we need to get them in the right color shirt - Gold. That's why the Loco Pack t-shirt this year started with that slogan "Wear Gold. Bleed Blue". More gold in the student section looks good. The new students will get comfortable, learn the chants and songs and start to bring the energy. It starts at being there and wearing Gold. We also completely fund the Friday edition of the Nexus and in return we get front page ads and stories all about Gauchos that weekend. The thunder is returning to the Dome. I want it badly. I grew up on Big Monday's on ESPN and remember those games. Our fans, donors and season tix holders (75% of which are not our alumni, and just the community supporting us), want to be part of something big and see the students fired up. That's why we focus so much now on the students.

(GH): In light of budget cuts within the AD, what initiatives are being undertaken to raise funds for scholarships and other expenses?

(MWM): We tighten our belt on a lot of sports this year financially, but I didn't on several visual sports such as soccer, basketball and baseball. We need them funded and aggressively bringing success to the campus. We held steady on scholarships this year, didn't take any monies away and actually incurred the new Regents 15% fee hike. Donations through the Gaucho Fund which supports each program individually was strong and we have close to 800 donors right now. Winning and maintaining a successful overall program (which we are) is very delicate. We are fighting on two big fronts right now. We need more scholarship funds (which we get through the Gaucho Fund) and we need to upgrade our facilities badly. The ICA Building (athletics department home) which the students voted to build and fund several years ago, is perfect and puts us in a really good position. We have to recruit the best students and athletes. And lately basketball, both programs, along with swimming, water polo, both volleyballs and sometimes baseball have beat out some Pac-10 schools, UNLV, San Diego State, WCC schools and a few other BCS level schools. Very seldom in several sports do we compete for recruits with schools in our own conference. It's a good feeling and the ICA building has been mentioned by the recruits and coaches as leveling the playing field somewhat. But the facilities themselves are the next big attack. We need them enhanced, including the Thunderdome. We just did a very fast fundraising campaign on Harder Stadium for the College Cup. Almost two million went into it and it really puts our soccer programs on a national level to recruit the best. This spring we are asking the students to vote on a referendum to enhance seven athletics venues. If successful we'll kickoff another 10 million effort to our donors in what we're calling the "Walk of Champions" plan. We're also including some stronger marketing support for the students in the referendum such as stronger band, cheer and special events (i.e. bus rides to more games and free post season tickets). Student votes are tricky and an up hill climb. But a strong athletics program is worth investing in. Nationally we are there academically. Now that message can also be told through us playing in the NCAA tourney a lot more. We are a cause worth investing in and if we pass this one, we'll fix a lot of fields and venues and create a nice look to our facilities. And we will kick even more butt and win across the board - nationally. It's the only thing missing. We have every other asset a recruit would want.That's where "Dare to Be Great" comes from. It's what we aspire to be. What do we want the world to think of this place. Champions in every area. I truly believe that. It just takes one generation to do something for the next generation. Something they will be proud to see as alumni. I'm hoping today's students feel that way.

(GH): With last season's success in the men's basketball program, can you provide some color on what is being done to harness the momentum from the BW championship and NCAA appearance? Also, what challenges have emerged as a result of the success? Scheduling?

(MWM): I'll discuss scheduling in the next question. But the recruits we've been able to talk, who will look at us, are a different breed. This is from Bob. If just fundraised and completed a team lounge and film rooms for the players in the Thunderdome. We now have commitments to re-do the men's locker room, which hadn't been touched in almost 25 years. If we keep moving on our facilities the sky's the limit for us in terms on being on a good recruits short list.

(GH): Speaking of scheduling, as a rising mid-major, Coach Williams has expressed some frustration with scheduling BCS (high-major) programs. Can you comment on that?

(MWM): More tv games and bringing in some big name teams will help. Coach Willams has a really good plan. But he/and I admit its hard considering the success we've had and how the team looks good for several years to come. BCS level teams would rather play at home, pay for someone to come in and know they have a good shoot at beating them. With us, and other mid-major successes', they don't know that. UNLV is coming next year. We'll start with that great rivalry.

(GH): Also, while programs like Butler and Gonzaga have transcended the mid-major label, they appear to have overcome the scheduling issues. They have become the gold standard that other mid-majors aspire to basketball-wise. Is there anything UCSB can do to increase our chances of achieving that level of success (admittedly a high standard)?

(MWM): We must win against top 25 teams. Or crack top 25. That type of success is what will take us to that rare-air of Butler and Gonzaga. If/when we do that, you'll see a big boost in our fundraising and enhancing facilities even more. Until then, we are committed to building up every year. The ICA Building was step one. Upgrading T-Dome a little bit at a time is step two. I like where Bob and keeping the staff together can take us. I'm right there with him in the goal of taking the next big step.

(GH): Finally, as a former Sr. Associate AD at OSU, do you have any pre-game comments for UCSB's participation on McArthur Court in Eugene at the University of Oregon's tournament? Also, can you speak to the Civil War with U of O, and discuss the similarities with our brewing rivalry with Cal Poly-SLO?

(MWM): MAC court is crap. Now that quote just came from a guy who spent seven years as a Beaver and battling the Ducks. MAC court is just old and the Ducks, like they always do, did a great job of marketing it as this historic place, noisy loud, etc. They can get noisy in there and they have great support. My brother is a Duck and played football at UC Davis. He and I have some interesting talks when we go head to head. Actually the new AD at Oregon, Rob Mullins, and I worked together at Miami. So I'm rooting for them now a little. The Civil War is purely a divided house. Families across the state are split. Married a Duck, brothers a Beaver, etc. When I moved there, SI had a poll of Oregonians where 94% said the Civil War football game is the most important thing to happen in the state each year. Cal Poly and UCSB is intense too. CP's AD and I were just discussing that the other day the fact that both our students are starting to actually call it the "Blue-Green Rivalry" which is cool. I was at our soccer matches in SLO recently and they really wanted to beat us. And not just because we are a successful program nationally, I felt it was simply because we're their neighbor. They had a series of videos on the scoreboard before the game where their students where talking about beating the Gauchos. That's perfect. I love that. They have a nice set up up there. College town, good support and they are really competitive in a lot of sports, led by soccer. If they can get basketball up and running more and compete like we do against LB, the rivalry will become even more intense and take off even more.

Nunnally knows best for Gauchos

Gauchos Take Down Masters College in Exhibition

Basketball Plays Exhibition

Gauchos Use Big Second Half to Defeat Master's College in Exhibition, 68-54

Juniors James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson picked up where they left off last season as they helped UC Santa Barbara overcome a sluggish first half en route to a 68-54 exhibition win over The Master's College on Friday night at the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos were up just 30-28 at the half, but used a 22-6 run over the first nine minutes of the second half to take a commanding 52-34 advantage.

Nunnally finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while Johnson had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists. Nunnally scored 16 of his points and collected seven of his rebounds in 12 second half minutes.

Johnson, the Big West Player of the Year in 2009-10, and Nunnally are both preseason All-Big West choices. On Friday night, they combined for 43 of UCSB's 68 points.

"Those two are so dynamic," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "They have such a good feel for each other and they really feed off of each other."

The Nunnally-Johnson duo teamed-up for a trio of lob dunks that electrified the crowd of just over 2,000. Johnson assisted on two of the dunks.

"If they (defenders) are paying a lot of attention to Orlando then it opens things up for me," said Nunnally. "It works the other way round too, but we work really well together."

Center Greg Somogyi added eight points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Jon Pastorek had nine rebounds while Lucas Devenny added seven.

UCSB will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 12 when it travels to Eugene, Ore., for the BTI Invitational. The Gauchos play the University of Denver in the first round of the tournament with tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

The Gauchos first regular season home game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 p.m. when they play Fresno State in the Thunderdome.

Box Score

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Masters exhibition video preview by Coach Williams

Big West Conference preview

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: 1. UC Santa Barbara, 2. Pacific, 3. Long Beach State, 4. UC Davis, 5. Cal State Fullerton, 6. Cal Poly, 7. UC Irvine, 8. UC Riverside, 9. Cal State Northridge

UC SANTA BARBARA - The defending champion Gauchos are poised for another title run in 2010-11, as they return all five starters from last year's squad. The next win will be No. 200 in the career of UCSB head coach Bob Williams, who has guided the team to winning seasons in eight of the last nine years. After making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in eight years, Williams and the Gauchos are looking to make it back, and advance. With reigning Big West Player of the Year Orlando Johnson back in the fold, along with swing man and fellow First Team All-BWC selection James Nunnally, there's certainly a good chance for that to happen. Johnson led the conference with 18.0 ppg and reached double figures in all 30 contests the first Gaucho to do so since 1996-97. Meanwhile, Nunnally averaged 14.7 ppg while leading the team with 5.6 rebounds per contest. He also ranked second in the conference in three-point percentage by hitting 46-of-101 attempts (.455). Junior point guard Will Brew started every game last season and led the squad with 40 steals. Despite having a wealth of talent at his disposal, coach Williams knows his Gauchos will be marked men this year and has cautioned them against taking anything for granted.

Monday, November 1, 2010

UCSB ranked 12th in first 2010 - 2011 mid-major poll

Gaucho basketball media preview luncheon

The Gaucho men's team will be aiming to repeat as Big West regular season and tournament champions. Last year, UCSB made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002. In 2009-10, the team returns all but three players.

"For the most part, we've got the core back," said 2010 Big West Player of the Year and tournament MVP Orlando Johnson. "The work we've put in so far has put us in a good position. This team is very committed and has a chance to be successful."

Johnson averaged 18.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2009-10. He was joined on the All-Big West Team by James Nunnally, who averaged 14.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. UCSB also returns starting forward Jaimé Serna, guards Will Brew, Jordan Weiner and Justin Joyner, 7-foot-3 center Greg Somogyi, and reserve forwards Jon Pastorek and Lucas Devenny. The Gauchos also add freshmen guards Kyle Boswell (Edison High School in Huntington Beach) and Troy Leaf (Foothills Christian High School in El Cajon).

"We're deep at every position, so it just makes practice that much more competitive," Pastorek said. "Everyone's pushing each other and making each other that much better."

Bob Williams, the 2010 Big West Coach of the Year, admits that the expectations for his team are high in 2010-11.

"With five starters back on a team that achieved last year, the sights are obviously set higher this season," he said. "The expectations within our program are really high right now. We're challenging ourselves right now to be the best we can be."