Coach Bob Williams mentioned at the banquet yesterday that 26-30 NBA teams, represented by 170 executives and scouts will look at 72 underclassmen who declared for the draft. The players will be seeking feedback from these NBA managers. The implication is if Orlando Johnson receives positive feedback he will get drafted, he will stay in the draft. In Williams' 13 years as UCSB head coach, he's never had NBA teams contact one of his underclassman to participate in these combine camps; Coach was not soliciting NBA interest on behalf of OJ, so the interest is real.
Gaucho Hoops take: OJ definitely has a shot at getting drafted in the NBA this year. How much of a shot is yet to be determined and we'll know more in another week.
Gaucho seniors Seth Kamphoefner, Jon Pastorek, Jordan Weiner, and Justin Joyner gave great speeches and represented themselves, their coaches, their parents, the staff, teammates, and the program well. Coach Williams called them the most competitive group of seniors he's coached, sacrificing their game to the benefit of the team.
James Nunnally got props from JJ for stepping up his mental approach and physical aspects of his game which keyed their late season run, and of course, OJ received all his deserved props, including Most Outstanding Player. His importance to the team isn't just about his stupendous stats, but the fact that he quietly leads and challenges all his teammates, giving them confidence even when they may not be playing their best.
Weiner was the first Williams player to receive the Golden Eagle academic award. He not only won academic awards for the men's basketball team and for the Big West, but he won that award for top academic achiever among all male Gaucho athletes.
Assistant coaches David Campbell, Jono Metzger-Jones, Matt Stock, and Kevin Bromley presented the awards to the players. Coach Williams also announced Jono was leaving to take an assistant coaching job at Montana, who will be leaving UCSB along with his fiancee Alison Keck, who was in charge of ticket sales. Both will be missed.
Two graduating team manager seniors got to speak also: Brian Yam and Jason Levy. It really is a team effort and Coach Williams leaves no one out when giving credit to the success of the program. JJ and JW spoke like how they played: from the heart.