This is the first installment of an update on the Gauchos' men's basketball program for the 2011 offseason.
Gaucho Hoops (GH): Coach, thanks for taking this interview. First off: OJ [Orlando Johnson] is returning....great news.
Coach Bob Williams (BW): Yes, he is returning and that is great news.
GH: So what are the returning players doing during this offseason?
BW: The offseason program includes shooting drills, one-on-one drills, ball-handling, weight training, and conditioning.
GH: Let's cover the new incoming players. When do the freshmen arrive on campus?
BW: July 29 is when the freshmen arrive on campus. They will take part in the Head Start program. This includes academic preparation, testing, taking two classes, and getting acclimated to campus life.
GH: When will freshman recruit [Lewis] Thomas arrive?
BW: He will also arrive July 29. He is currently playing with the Australian U-19 national team.
GH: When will redshirt decisions be made on the freshmen?
BW: In November.
GH: Back to returning players: how are offseason workouts going?
BW: The workouts have been phenomenal, as good as any in my 13 years of being a coach here. I'm talking about the work ethic, commitment, progress, and improvement.
GH: What about the redshirts?
BW: Nate [Garth] is doing well. His hip is good. He has gained weight, is stronger, and healthier. He is producing on the court, shooting well, working hard, and displaying leadership.
GH: How is Keegan [Hornbuckle] doing?
BW: Keegan is still getting healthy, and experiencing setbacks. It's three steps forward, and two steps back. His latest setback was last month, probably due to pushing his knee too hard. He is nowhere near ready.
GH: Can you give us any updates on the freshmen?
BW: Obviously, their [high school and prep] seasons are over, but Coaches Bromley and Stock are staying in touch with them once a week regarding their offseason workouts. Coach Campbell is contact with them every other week making sure their academics are in order, and that issues on housing, admissions, and scholarship papers are taken care of.
GH: How is the assistant coach search going?
BW: I'm interviewing people now and hope to have someone in place by June.
GH: Any other comments you'd like to add regarding the freshmen, Coach?
BW: The coaches are very excited about the seven new players coming in, including redshirts Garth and Hornbuckle, and the five freshmen. This team will have the most depth and competition for roster spots since I've been a coach here at UCSB the last 13 years.
GH: That's great to hear. Gaucho fans are excited, too. We can go over the rest of the roster in the next segment. Thanks again, Coach.
BW: Thanks for your support.