Sunday, October 24, 2021

Interview with Coach Bonnie Henrickson

2021-2022 Preseason Interview with Women's Gaucho Hoops Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson on October 19, 2021.

Gaucho Hoops ("GH"):  Hi Coach, thanks for taking the interview.  Let's get started with the new players.

Bonnie Henrickson ("BH"):  There's Callie Cooper, a freshman from Richardson, Texas.  She's a good point guard and playmaker.  She's also a good on-ball defender, with speed and quickness, and she applies defensive pressure at the point.

Analillia Cabuena is long and lanky.  She's good on the glass and is a good athlete.  She's a freshman from Stockton, California.

Laurel Rockwood is a freshman from Henderson, Nevada.  She's a big physical 5.  She practices against Ila every day.  She's holding her own, but she needs a bit more confidence from playing against Ila.  She has improved because of her battles inside.

Kennedy Johnson is a freshman from Hayward, California, and right now is ahead of the other freshmen.  She plays the 3/4, is a big guard, and the game is starting to slow down for her.  She has a midrange game and can knock down the 3.  She can block shots, she's aggressive, is long, and springy.  She knows how to rotate on defense, and knows how to defend the passing lanes.  Her defense is good, while the other freshmen are mostly players who are good on offense (in high school, they didn't have to play as much defense).

We also have transfers.  Alexis Tucker transferred in from Texas Tech.  She will play more of a face up game at UCSB.  She had to play in the post with her back to the basket last year due to injuries.  She has a good midrange jumper, a turnaround jumper, and handles the ball on the perimeter.  She's learning to be ready to shoot the 3 without a dribble, learning how to handle the ball on the perimeter against pressure, and spacing the floor on offense (with Ila in the paint).  She can play the 2, 3, 4 positions, she's physical and defends the post.  She's improving her changing of hands against on-ball pressure.  She's originally from southern California.

Tatyana Modawar is a transfer from UTEP.  She's originally from northern California.  She's our back up at the 5.  She's 6'3", is long, rebounds and shoots the 3.  She's made tremendous strides with putting the ball on the floor.  In practice, Ila now has to guard the perimeter because Tatyana is a stretch 5.  And Tatyana has to guard Ila inside.  The match up is good for both players as they help each other improve.

It's a challenge for new players, because they all have to learn a new system.  We run a completely different motion offense.  It's a quick hit offense, with one or two  screens, a 4 out, 1 in offense.  The  continuous screening actions take advantage of mismatches on switches.  We will go through 8-12 seconds of screening action, and then if the shot is not there, we'll run flare screens.  And then everyone is in motion, while keep their eyes inside for Ila.  We'll move Ila around the floor; she'll be facing up more and dribbling this year.  We are a catch and shoot team, a flexible squad which will take advantage of mismatches.

GH:  What about the returning players?

BH:  Danae Miller gets an extra year due to covid.  She's a senior, and is really important for us to be better in early play.  She can shoot, is a playmaker, and has experience.  She understands how to play with Ila.

Johnni Gonzalez  opted out last year.  She's a playmaker, is quick, and pushes the pace.  She is a good onball defender, and understands defensive rotations in our system.  She came back last spring with Ila and Tatyana.
Of the 15 players on the roster, 6 were on the floor last year, and 3 the year before.

Kiana Vierra opted out due to injury.  She's a senior.

Lauren Lee will be a senior.  She had to play the post last year  She can play the 3 or 4 this year.  She covers up others' mistakes on defense, sets screens, and passes well.

Megan Anderson played 9 games, but really only 6 games due to injury.  She shoots the deep ball, is quick and athletic, and also rebounds.

Taylor Mole is Australian, made the honorable mention all-league team, and led the league in rebounding.  She has as great step and under move, makes good decisions off the dribble, and knows when to pull up or not.  She played a lot of motion offense over the summer, because it can get crowded underneath with Ila.

Alyssa Marin started at the 2 guard.  She gets to the free throw line, is a capable 3 point shooter, is strong, and pushes the pace.

Anya Choice had a good freshman year during covid.  The first year is tough on freshmen.  She was  dinged up in the fall, but she is back at full strength.  She has a good midrange game, and takes it to the rim.  She's physical, shoots the 3, and can drive and kick out the pass.

Ila Lane has great hands and feet.  She's physical and embraces being a post player.  She's very coachable and humble.  Out in transition, she finishes in traffic, rebounds like crazy, and pursues relentlessly.

GH:  Any comments on the team overall this year?

BH:  Overall, this team has the most depth and most competitive depth we've had since I've been here.  Players can multiple positions.  Laurel and Ila play the 5; everyone else plays 3 positions.  We can play big and long, or quick and fast.  Ila has to figure out:  what's my read?  Do I kick it out?  Others ask where do I space?  Where and when do I pass to Ila?  What happens when she gets double teamed?  This year we can be more aggressive defensively.  Last year we had to play fast and small.  We are bigger this year.  Last year, we didn't post up.

We've made a commitment to defense this year:  to protect the rim and rebound on defense.  Taylor led in defensive rebounding.  Ila led in rebounding the year before.  

GH:  What about the other teams in the Big West?

BH:  UCD is good.  UCI is good.  The Big West conference has a bunch of transfers.  There are also  significant returnees, so the conference is wide open.

GH:  Any other comments?

BH:  We're excited for the team.  We have a good culture, and we celebrate each other.  When we visit schools, the kids love our players.  The team is really good with children.

We only had 8 players last year.  This year we have a full and deep team.

GH:  Awesome, thanks for the interview Coach.  I'd love to get a midseason update, and perhaps even interview some of the players, if that's OK.

BH:  Sure, they enjoy the game, their teammates, the fans, and being Lady Gauchos!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Interview with Men's Gaucho Hoops Coach Joe Pasternack

September 30, 2021

This was the first official practice of the 2021-2022 Gaucho Hoops Men's Basketball season.

Gaucho Hoops ("GH"):  Let's start with the new players, do you have any comments on what they bring, because we kinda know what the returnees bring.

Joe Pasternack ("JP"):  Yes, we're excited.  Ajay Mitchell, is a freshman from Belgium.  He is an unbelievable decision-maker.  He can score the ball, he's a tough kid and he played at the highest levels in Belgium.  We're excited about him this year.

Cole Anderson is the third best shooter in the state of California  which says it all.  He is a prolific 3 point shooter  But he can do more, he can drive the ball and I'm excited about his development.

Ariel Bland is a young man that has tremendous potential.  He's athletic. He can drive the ball  He's a face up 4, and we're excited about his development.  Obviously, we've only had him for 8 weeks.

Calvin Wishart was not with us in games last year  He practiced last year and got hurt and had hip surgery  So he was out.  He didn't practice with us until January.  We were really excited about him until that point.  He's a really tough guy.  He really reminds me of a kid I coached at Arizona:  TJ McConnell.  Just a tough, hard nosed competitor.  He can shoot the ball;  he shot 38% from the 3 at Georgia Southern.  He's battle tested.  He started for a team that won over 20 games at Georgia Southern so we're excited about him.

GH:  He's good to go even if he had surgery?

JP:  Yeah, this was last year in January, his hip surgery.  Nope he's fine.  He's full strength ahead, he's practiced every single day.  He 's a really, really competitive, tough guard who I think is going to be really good for us.  

Zach Harvey is a young man from Cincinnati.  Zach played in the AAC conference.  He's a physical wing guard that we're really excited have.  In some really big games, he hit some tremendous shots and scored against some great competition, and I think Zach's going to get better and better.

GH:  He's a sophomore?

JP :  Yes.


GH:  And redshirts, you don't decided that yet, right?

JP:  No we don't decide those until November.

GH:  How about some of the returning players?  We lost some great players in Jaquori and Devearl.  Let's start with Amadou.

JP:  Amadou, this is a really big year for him.  The stakes are high.  We see him having a really great year, playing at the 4 and 5 this year for us.  And we see him at the 4 with Robinson at the 5, moving him around a bit.

GH:  He's playing the 4, so is he working on his 3 point shot?

JP:  Yep.


GH:  For the next level.

JP:  Well, for the team.  We're not worried about the next level yet.  We want to develop him so he can be the best player for his future.

GH:  Speaking of, what about Miles?

JP:  Miles, he's worked hard.   He didn't have a spring, summer and fall last year to develop.  We've had him for spring and summer this year.  Last hear he didn't have that.  He's bigger and working on improving his rebounding.  He really wants to rebound better.

GH:  He looks bulkier.

JP:  Yeah he's a lot stronger.


GH:  And of course there's Robinson.

JP:  Robinson, he's such an amazing young man.  He's getting his graduate degree this year.  What he does for this team is immeasurable, the rebounds and assists.   He's the culture of our team, every single day in practice.  He's the rock of our team, the leader of our team.  I'm excited about him having a great senior year.

GH:  When you say culture, what do you mean?

JP:  What we're about as an organization. Being accountable, doing the right thing on and off the court.

Jakov has done a great job of improving and getting better  He had a great practice two days ago and he's getting better every day.  Some of those bigs at Gonzaga, after their third, fourth, fifth years, they keep improving and then they take off.

GH:  I'm assuming Sanni is going to start?

JP:  I don't know.  I don't have a starting lineup yet.  Today is day 1.  Let's see what happens.  We have 7 perimeter players, and they're fighting for minutes every single day.  We keep stats every single day and let's see how it goes.  Ajare last year was our 6th man of the year in our conference.  He did a great job and got hurt in the conference tournament.  In the NCAA tournament, he was still hurt, and we were in the dance, and he still played so that tells you how tough he is.  And that's sort of how basketball goes, but Ajare has worked really, really hard and it's a big year for him.

GH:  What about Sekou?

JP:  Sekou Toure had a torn shoulder in the spring and had surgery  He's still not cleared.  We hope to have him cleared later this month, and actually have contact.  He has a lot of experience and he's had four years in the system.  Usually older guys in our system do better.  We're really excited about Sekou.

GH:  And JPL?

JP:  Josh is as good of an athlete as I've ever coached--at Arizona, Cal or Indiana.  I've never seen a faster north/south runner, a more explosive jumper, combined with more lateral quickness than Josh.  I think Josh is going to have a huge year for us.  He has an unbelievable motor, plays really hard, and can change the game with his energy.

Back to Zach, he has a lot of talent.  Today he got some offensive rebounds.  He scores in the paint, he's a physical wing, he's proven he can shoot the 3--he shot almost 40% from 3 last year for Cincinnati.

Stick around and you can get a tour of the two practice floors.

GH:  Any last comments?

JP:  We need to sell the Thunderdome out.  Gonzaga sells out their home games--it doesn't matter who they play.  We want to have a huge home court advantage.  Tickets are selling fast.  We need the community and the students to come out and support the team.  Paul Orfalea, the Kinkos founder, is sponsoring a contest for students to see who can sell the most season tickets.  We're also working with our sponsors in Isla Vista.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

UCSB Gauchos host ‘Meet and Greet’ at La Cumbre Country Club

Paul Orfalea gives assist to UCSB men’s basketball program

All-American Ila Lane is back with UCSB after opting out last season

First 2021-2022 Preseason Men's Gaucho Hoops Practice

These are contemporaneous observations I texted to Gaucho fans during their first official preseason practice on September 30, 2021.

Zach Harvey has a knee brace.  Looks fine.

Calvin Wishart looks fully recovered from hip injury.

Harvey looks like a bigger Jaquori McLaughlin.  He's built like a linebacker--very athletic.

JPL is fast and springy.

Ajay Mitchell is bigger and stronger than Ajare Sanni.  Sanni still has that sweep jumper.

Mitchell looks like a Gonzaga-type wing (Jalen Suggs?  Doesn't have the jumper yet).  He's a point guard?  Wow.  He's also very attentive on defense.  He's a pass-first pg.

Early practice focus is clearly on defense.

David Pickles is bigger and more athletic than his older brother.

The walkons are athletic.  Crazy.

Sekou Toure is practicing, although he is sitting out some drills.

JPL is having fun!  He's more vocal.

Comparisons to Destin Barnes and Zach Harvey are unwarranted.  Harvey is more talented offensively and athletic.

JPL is learning the 2 position as well.

We're missing a lot of free throws on the first break.  Better on later breaks.

I love how the staff coaches up the walkons just as hard as the starters.  No one gets the superstar treatment.

In 2 on 2 drills, Wishart is on JPL.  They're going hard at each other.

Drills are mostly for defense.  Makes sense--first practice.

Sanni is not doing full half court defensive drills?

Walkon Henry Hartwell just scored on a Miles Norris/JPL double team.  lol

Drill:  before 10 seconds on shot clock, no switch on defense.  At 10 seconds, switch.

Norris looks bigger.  Working on improved rebounding.

JPL with a steal.  Wishart on floor with a steal.

Hartwell looks like a tough and skilled walkon.

Ariel Bland is athletic, but freshman-tentative.

Redshirt decisions made in November.

Robinson Idehen is very vocal.  Just got a steal.

Mitchell pays attention to coaching instructions.  He's very defense-oriented.  Wow.

Cole Anderson drives into middle of lane, pulls up for 10 footer.  Bucket.  Twice.

There is very little drop off from starters and 2nd team of Mitchell, Harvey and Anderson.  Athletically, no drop off at all, with the exception of JPL, who's athleticism is off the charts.  Coach Pasternack says JPL is the most athletic player he's ever coached, including at Cal and Arizona.

Jay Nagle looks more confident.  Cans the baseline 3!  Nagle gets two offensive rebounds in a row.

Mitchell goes into the sidelines with a save.  You're going to love Mitchell.

If we lose 4 games I'd be surprised.  Damn.  Can't believe I said that.

Looked at a couple unnamed boosters.  We just nodded at each other.  We're good.  At least we should be as the season progresses.  The talent is there.

Washington State, St. Mary's, UCI.  Who else?  This team is different.

Some of our walkons start on Bob's teams.

We have high major depth.

Jakov Kukic takes baseline and scores on Idehen.

Harvey takes baseline.  Finishes.

We have more talent than last year, in my opinion.

Mitchell has game.  Needs to finish and shot is not stable yet.

JPL can turn a corner even when covered.  He's leans in to create a driving lane.

JPL is abusing defenders and talking smack.  Coach sidelines him.  lol

Wishart hits top of the key 3.

3 on 3 drills.  Some major battles.

Players get along with each other and even team managers.  Good chemistry.

Harvey strong arms against double team, including Idehen.  And 1.

JPL scores the other way.  In 8 seconds.

Sanni gets bloody nose from an inadvertent elbow.  Stuffs in bandage.  Back at it.  lol

Harvey with offensive rebound.  Finishes.

JPL finds Robinson.  Turns it over.

JPL turnover.  Bland steals.  Tomahawk dunk.  Wow.  Bland is third string and he just did that.

Harvey is warming up.

Sanni to Idehen.  Finish.

Phoenix fast break drill.  Harvey finishes.  Harvey will be fine.

Amadou Sow is more vocal on defense.

Harvey assists.  Kukic finishes--against 1st team.

JPL is fastest running lines.  Norris is 2nd fastest.  He's 6'10".  lol

Harvey will be in the rotation.

Sow playing some at the 4.  Adding perimeter shot.  He will play with Idehen and Kukic at the 5 sometimes.

Anderson is not just a 3 point shooter.   He has a midrange jumper too.

I enjoy watching this.  D'Antonio offense?

Anderson cans 17 footer.  lol

Catch and shoot drill.

Toure back in.

Chicago 4 man drill.

Coach Pasternack is not yelling as much on screw ups.

Thumb up Magic.

I've never seen this pace before.  Ever.

Sow And 1 over Kukic.

Norris in the right lane take.  Just like against Creighton.

Wishart cans corner 3 with feed from Sanni.

Mitchell with steal and left hand layup.

The second team is winning this pseudo scrimmage.  lol

Norris with the fade away jumper.  Count it.

No full court pressure.  Pick up at halfcourt.

Wow.  Mitchell dumps to Kukic finish.  Against first team.

Sow to Robinson high-low.  Mitchell blocks attempted dunk!  Foul, but damn.

Hartwell is decent.

Sow pushes.  Then receives in paint.  Cans midrange jumper in the lane.

Sow turnover.  2nd team is good.

Talking to University of North Texas coach.  Says Joe is a good guy and nice to let him watch.  He's from the Baylor coaching tree.  Says they are good also, and central Texas teams won't play them.  He says UCSB looks really good.  lol  Pace is at a different level he says.

Coach Pimm is there also.

Kukic is playing the 5.

Second unit includes Kukic, Bland and Idehen sometimes.  Every player has to defend multiple positions.

Now working full court press. of the coaches says it's just for show.  lol  Goal is to trap on inbound baseline.

Our 4 man is at point on the full court trap.  Looks like a 1-2-2, even tho there are man defense principles.  Norris at the point will be a problem for opponents.