Monday, October 19, 2015

Countdown to 2015–16: Gabe Vincent is ready to usher in a new era at UC Santa Barbara

Upcoming 2015-16 Men's Basketball Season Previewed

• UC Santa Barbara appeared in the postseason for the seventh time in the 17-year head coaching tenure of Bob Williams, closing out the 2014-15 campaign at 19-14 overall after playing in the College Basketball Invitational.  The Gauchos return three starters, but must deal with the losses of Alan Williams, the Big West’s No. 2 all-time leading rebounder, and starting point guard Zalmico Harmon.

• Williams is in line to reach a career milestone with his 300th victory at UCSB.  He is 288-224 (.563) all-time at the school, and only two other coaches have achieved at least 300 wins in Big West history – Pacific’s Bob Thomason (436) and Long Beach State/UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian (405).

• Senior Michael Bryson was selected All-Big West First Team after emerging as one of the league’s top wings in 2014-15.  He was the ninth-leading scorer (13.9 ppg) in the Big West and his 1,043 career points is tops among active players.  He became the 27th player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points with 22 points at Hawai‘i on Mar. 4, 2015.

• Despite playing in a total of just four games during the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons due to an assortment of injuries, John Green had himself a productive, and healthy, junior campaign.  Competing in all 33 games (19 starts), Green finished as the third-leading scorer (11.3 ppg) on the Gauchos and received all-conference honorable mention recognition.

• UCSB also welcomes back the Big West Freshman of the Year in guard Gabe Vincent.  Draining 57 three-point baskets, second-most all-time by a UCSB freshman, Vincent ranked fourth on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg).  He was third in assists (60) against just 28 turnovers.  Vincent reserved two of his best games for the end of the season, collecting a career-high 25 points at Hawai‘i and 22 against Oral Roberts in the CBI First Round.

“Your job as a coach is to put the ball in the hands of the player that you gives you the best chance to win games.  Al (Williams) was the most productive player in the country the previous two years, so Al touched the ball more than any player in Division I basketball the last two years.  Now the players that give us the best chance to win games are going to be our twos, our threes and our fours.”

Big West Preview: UC Irvine looks to make national splash
Who’s the biggest threat to UC Irvine? One option is UCSB, even with the graduation of Alan Williams. Head coach Bob Williams welcomes back three of last season’s top four scorers led by senior guard Michael Bryson. The Gauchos will need junior Eric Childress to take a step forward at the point, and in sophomore guard Gabe Vincent they have a player who can be an All-Big West selection in the very near future. UCSB’s greatest question mark lies in the post, where it would be unfair to expect one player to “replace” Alan Williams. But if they can get a collective effort on the boards, UCSB can threaten for the Big West’s top spot.

UCSB Basketball Media Day

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Interview with UCSB Men's Basketball Coach Robert Williams

September 23, 2015, 11 AM
UCSB Thunderdome

UCSB Men's Basketball practice with Coach Robert Williams


Redshirt freshman center Ami Lakoju was the most vocal Gaucho when they were running 4-man weave drills and the jailbreak offense, with and without opposing defenders.  He also appeared to be hustling the most, showing surprising speed and athleticism, in addition to his strength.

Freshman forward Maxwell Kupchak also hustled, with speed and agility in his wiry 6'7" frame.  He dived for several loose balls.

Freshman wing Justin Burks is a natural athlete with an easy release on his jump shot, although it appears his release appears a touch slow.

The "first" team during these drills are:  TJ Taylor, Gabriel Vincent, Michael Bryson, John Green, and Sam Beeler.  The second team consisted of:  Eric Childress, Dejuan Smith, Mitch Brewe, Justin Burks, and Alex Hart.  The third team was:  Grant Troutt, Jarriesse Blackmon, Lakoju, and Kupchak.  Aside from Bryson, Green, and Vincent being sure starters, the other spots are up for grabs, with the battle for point guard duties being most intense with Childress and Taylor in the running.  The logjam at the 5 spot will include Beeler, Brewe, Lakoju and Tyler Jackson.

Jackson ran with the fourth team, and he seemed to labor a bit with his stride, which they are working to improve on.  John Green had to work on modifying his running stride over the years to prevent further injuries to his feet, to resounding success.

Gaucho Hoops ("GH"):  How will this team stack up this season, Coach Williams?

Coach Robert Williams ("BW"):  We will run more this season.  Right now, the guys are not in shape, so we're running conditioning drills to get in some cardio work.  Up to this point, we've been working on skills, but we are now working on their conditioning.

GH:  This team's make up is obviously different without Big Al [graduated center Alan Williams].  What changes do you foresee?

BW:  Without the big fella in the middle, the offense doesn't revolve around him getting maximum touches.  The Big 3 of Vincent, Bryson, and Green are so good that we have many options for them on offense.  They'll have more scoring opportunities as we open up the floor for them to penetrate, post up, or knock down the outside shot.

GH:  Will the offense look more like when OJ [Orlando Johnson] and Nunn [James Nunnally] were playing?

BW:  Yes, we took advantage of their dominance on the wings, too.  But OJ and Nunn were better at posting up than our wings on this team.  Although, John is very good at posting up his man.

GH:  You're looking to run more this season.  Will you apply more defensive pressure on the perimeter, too?

BW:  I'm not sure yet.  Every team has an identity, including on defense, so we'll have to see how this team plays defense.

GH:  So do you anticipate mixing up the defenses again, between the zone and man-to-man?

BW:  Yes.

GH:  What do you anticipate the starting line up to be?

BW:  Bryson, Vincent, and Green.  TJ and Eric will share point guard duties.  We'll probably rotate Sam and Mitch at the 5, depending on the matchups.  Sam, Mitch, and Ami will share the duties at the 5.  We're not looking to replace Big Al's numbers on offense, but we are looking for rebounding production and toughness on defense.

GH:  What about the newcomers and other returnees?

BW:  Jarriesse has a good outside shot.  Ami will get minutes.  We monitor his heart rate and he's been cleared to practice for months.  Tyler is working with the big men at times as we are limiting his running as we work on his running stride.  He has great hands for a kid his size, and is a very smart player.  Maxwell is fundamentally very sound and skilled.  We are very fortunate to recruit him here.  He was doing great in August due to his skill set, but with lack of conditioning, he is coming down to earth in September.  But he will be a good one as he improves his conditioning and gets stronger.

In fact, that's true with all the freshmen and even the veterans.  As the players get tired, they get sloppy and commit more mistakes, and make bad decisions.  That's why conditioning and why running the drills when they are tired is so important.

The jail break offense opens up the floor, especially for the wings.

GH:  How will the 2015-2016 team compare to the OJ and Nunn days?

BW:  Aside from the differences between OJ and Nunn already mentioned, Jaime Serna provided more offense and agility on those teams.  With the 5 spot on this team, we want defense and rebounding from the rotation of Beeler, Brewe, Lakoju, and Jackson.  With Big Al, we got scoring and rebounding in the low block, and passing out of the post.

This year's team will more resemble the teams of Mark Hull, Branduin Fullove, Nick Jones and of Alex Harris, Chris Devine, and James Powell.  The 2, 3, and 4 spots will be our strongest positions with Vincent, Bryson, and Green.

We will emphasize side posts, isolations in the post (with John Green) and double screens.  The goal is to open the floor and create driving lanes.

GH:  Who will be the best teams in the Big West?

BW:  Hawaii and UCI.

GH:  Thanks Coach.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Alan Williams to Play for Hornets in NBA Summer League

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Alan Williams - 2015 Pre-Draft Interview - DraftExpress

Tweet on Alan Williams at 2015 NBA Combine

Draft Combine: Alan Williams

Gaucho Boys Basketball Camp Set For June 15-19

UCSB Baseball Hosts Regionals at Lake Elsinore

UCSB's Regional Field At Lake Elsinore to Include USC, Virginia, San Diego State

UCSB Baseball to Host NCAA Regional at Lake Elsinore

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NBA Combine Competitive Action Recap: Day Two

Alan Williams, Center, UC Santa Barbara

11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 5-10 2P, 1-4 FT, 21 minutes FT

The UC Santa Barbara big man strung together back-to-back impressive performances, going for 12 points and 15 rebounds on Thursday and 11 points and 7 rebounds on Friday. As was the case in the college ranks, Williams dominated the glass on both ends of the floor, keeping plays alive and beating opponents to the ball, despite his lack of vertical explosiveness and average 8' 10.5” standing reach.

Williams has outstanding instincts on the glass and isn't afraid to throw his 261-pound body around. Williams snatched 9 offensive rebounds in 62 total minutes over the course of both games, including two put backs during Friday's session. Williams did more than just man the boards, however. The 6' 8.25” center proved to be extremely nimble on his feet for a player his size, regularly hedging and recovering in the pick and roll and sprinting into screens on the offensive end.

Although not the fastest-twitch player against elite athleticism, Williams showed that he had the footwork to at least keep power forwards in front as a space defender. As was the case on Thursday, Williams was a mixed bag offensively as he scored on the block and in the paint but struggled to get it going from 15 feet and out, which is one of the main aspects of his game limiting his ability to play the four at the NBA level.

Williams missed a handful of mid-range jumpers over the course of both sessions (and went 3-of-8 from the line) but was able to assert his dominance in the paint on a couple of occasions thanks to his strength, footwork, and touch. Williams pivoted spun back to his left shoulder and dropped in right handed jump hook from well outside of the right block on one occasion, and buried Rakeem Christmas with a deep seal and finished an And 1 jump hook on another possession. Williams' average size, limited leaping ability, and struggles playing outside of 15 feet hurt his NBA chances, but his strength, outstanding rebounding instincts, touch in the paint and agility for his size may him an attractive option to a team in the second round.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The 2015 Draft Combine: Day One Standouts
  • Team 3’s Alan Williams, a bruising big man out of UC Santa Barbara, pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with 12 points, two blocks, and two steals in an 82-77 loss; six of his boards came on the offensive end. At 6’8” and 261 pounds, Williams figures more as an energy four in the pros than as a center, the position he played throughout his four years in Southern California.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tyler Jackson is a 6'11 HS Freshman Center (Naperville, IL) 2015 Illinois Celtics AAU highlights

2015 Recruit Tyler Jackson Commits to UCSB

Backend or frontend, Tate sizzles

Coach Ciepierski on 2015 UCSB Recruit Tyler Jackson

Found your message board, and I'm excited to be a new member!  I am a coach with the Illinois Stars, and also the head of recruiting, so each and every time one of our student athletes commits to a program, I go out to various sites, such as these, and tell the fans what they are getting.  With that being said, I will go over who the Illinois Stars are, more on Tyler's skillset, Tyler Jackson as an individual, and what his recruitment was like.  If you have any questions, I'll be answering them on here, and also will give you my Twitter account and email address, for those who want to just email directly.

Illinois Stars - What Makes Us Different

The Illinois Stars are a Reebok-sponsored AAU team that definitely did things differently from other programs, while still having results that were even better than our peers in our state.  Want to go over some of the unique things that we focused on for our 2015 class:

We had a major focus on getting players that will play for us what they will play for college.  If we had a 6'5" player, we weren't putting him in the post, rather he would be playing a wing.  We wanted to show the college coach how they would perform at a given position.  For example, Brandon Hutton was playing with the Mac Irvin Fire, and EYBL team, and due to his athleticism and strength, he played their post, even though he was only 6'5".  We took Brandon, and showed his strength, which was his defense, and had him guard every point guard we faced.  While doing that, we had him play the wing on offense, but let his defense do the talking...which made him one of the most recruited players two summers ago in the country.

We ran multiple offenses, however we always spread it out, allowing our players to make "basketball plays".  For example, for our motion we played 4-out, 1-in.  This shows the abilities of our wings to break down a defense, read the defense, create their own shots, etc.  It allowed our power forwards to play a ton of pick-and-roll, spot up from the outside, etc.  And it allowed for a ton of 1-on-1 defense against our centers, Tyler Jackson and Christian Romine (UTEP).

We had grade requirements.  Just because it's AAU doesn't mean you can snooze.  If you didn't make the grades, you were suspended, or out.  We ended up kicking two players out, one of which committed to a D1 school, because of poor grades.  Our kids need to learn now, versus in college, the importance of staying eligible.

To prepare our kids for the future, we spent thousands on things such as media training.  Each and every one of our student athletes had to take a media training course, and they learned how to talk to adults, fans, in front of a crowd, how to answer questions, how to not answer a question, etc.  Our belief is that we want to give a college a finished product when it comes to things off the court, so that the coaches can focus on stuff on the court.

We were successful in what we did, as we had eight 2015 recruits, and seven of them have committed to D1 schools.  We have Aaron Jordan (Illinois), Brandon Hutton (Iowa), Christian Romine (UTEP), Karl Harris (LaSalle), Andre Statam (Jacksonville State), Cole Gentry (South Dakota State), and now Tyler Jackson.

Tyler Jackson - What's His Skillset

So many of you have been discussing "how big is he really?"  Let me give you this...he's HUGE.  I personally have done his measurements, and he is "officially" 7'2", 285lbs, he has a 9'3" standing reach, and has a 22" vertical leap.  His upper body looks that of David Robinson...he's sculped, and definitely looks older than his years.  And he is not injury prone.  Tyler had his knee drained ONCE, and that was because of pushing himself when he should have taken a week off.  Outside of that knee, Tyler has been 100% healthy throughout his career.

Tyler has many strengths, and the best one is his basketball IQ.  Many times a center will get the ball and assume he has the ball, so he needs to score.  Tyler is not a black hole in the post, and understands the ideas of passing it back out, as well as reposting, which is a lost art.  When playing with the Illinois Stars, Tyler saw the court extremely well, and was able to get the ball to our cutters, as well as our open shooters.  Tyler has advanced footwork for his size, and really has a "feel" from around the block.  Many kids these days are faceup type of centers, where Tyler is very comfortable with his back to the basket.  With Tyler's size, he sets a very good pick, and is even capable of popping and hitting a shot from 15 feet away.  Defensively he's able to alter a ton of shots with his size, and at times is very vocal to the defense (which is huge, because your post should be like a middle linebacker).

No kid is perfect, and every kid needs to work on things.  Tyler is working hard on his mobility, since being 7'2" has it's disadvantages, especially when defending the pick and roll.  Tyler is also working on his explosiveness, namely on his second hop.

What UCSB is getting is not a Shaq or David Robinson, but rather a Roy Hibbert.  He's extremely skilled for his size.

Tyler Jackson - The Young Man

Tyler Jackson is even a greater young man when you get to know him.  He's an extremely smart kid who is really artistic, and has a great sense of humor.  I've been fortunate to have known the Jacksons for years, being extremely close with his father, Darrell.  He comes from an outstanding family who values education and hard work above all else.  His father is a CEO of a Chicago-based bank, and his mother is an ex-eye surgeon who is now a consultant.  So you can imagine the focus Tyler has on education and hard work.

I want to end with this.  Most young men his size play basketball because they are huge, because it can get them something, etc.  Tyler loves the game.  Tyler will come back from a 3-hour AAU practice, then work out with another trainer, and then do yoga to strength his body and make it more limber....and he doesn't complain once.  He wants to get better...and that's what can make a great player!

More On Tyler's Recruitment

Education and fit were the two biggest factors when looking for the best program for Tyler.  Which school will give him the brightest future, and does the system/conference compliment a 7'2" center with Tyler's skillset?  Tyler was getting interest and/or offers from Jacksonville, American, Liberty, Hampton, North Texas, Charlotte, and Fairfield.  So how did UCSB come about?

Last summer we were going to Anaheim for the Pump Brother's tournament, and one of our players, Karl Harris (LaSalle) was very interested in playin in California.  I contacted Coach Bromley and told him about our squad and about Karl.  He watched our team, and when we talked the next time on the phone, 5 minutes was about Karl, and 45 minutes was about Tyler.  He absolutely loved him, and saw him as someone that can turn into a special player in the conference.  The problem was...UCSB didn't have a scholarship for a 2015 big.  With that being said, Tyler will be a preferred walk-on for his first year, and thereafter be a scholarship player.

UCSB 100% fulfilled everything the family wanted - great academics, a system that can utilize Tyler, a great location, and coaches that believe in him.  We are excited!

Follow or Questions

You can follow me on twitter @CoachCiepierski, and you can ask any question on here, or through email:

Excited for you guys, and excited for Tyler!  He won't let you down!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Conference Recruiting Update: Big West

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos

Grant Troutt | 6′-2″ | PG | Episcopal School (TX) Jarriesse Blackmon | 6′-6″ | PF | Layton (UT)
The Gauchos announced the signing of a duo of players during the early signing period, which accounts for the departure of two seniors from the 2014-2015 roster. Texas point guard Grant Troutt played on Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League circuit and should come to the UC Santa Barbara campus as battle tested. He has the size and shooting range to help him be a factor on the offense end of the floor. A 210-pound combo forward, Jarriesse Blackmon brings versatility and flexibility to the roster with his addition. Head coach Bob Williams stated Blackmon is a good rebounder and defender, and is the type of player who has found success in the program in the past.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Okla St's Nash takes coach's advice, shines in all-star game
"You just got to put in as much work as you can and at the end of the day you'll fall where you're supposed to fall," UC Santa Barbara forward Alan Williams said. "If that's in the NBA then great and if not and you're playing somewhere else it's another opportunity for you to continue to grow and get better."

UNI's Tuttle helps West defeat East at Reese's All-Star Game

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Meet Alan Williams, the Best College Basketball Player You've Never Heard Of

Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara to play in first round of Big West Basketball Tournament

UCSB Beats Cal Poly

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Cal Poly Prepares To Defend Big West Title

2015 Big West Tournament Championship

Get 2015 Big West Tournament Single-Session Tickets On Sale Now

Get Ready to Dream Big Again

Second-Seeded UCSB, No. 6 Cal Poly Clash in Big West Tournament Thursday at Honda Center

Saturday, February 28, 2015