SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara center Greg Somogyi will play for the Hungarian National Team at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China from Aug. 12-22, it was announced on Monday. Somogyi's participation in the event means that there could be two Gaucho players taking part. Guard Orlando Johnson is one of 22 players invited to tryout for the U.S. National Team that will make the trip to China.
"The opportunity to represent my country is a huge honor," Somogyi said. "It's been a long time since we (Hungary) were invited to play in the University Games so this is very exciting. I am also excited for the chance to play against the U.S. and, hopefully, Orlando."
The 7-foot-3 Somogyi will be a senior in 2011-12. As a junior in 2010-11, he averaged 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. His 61 blocked shots led the Big West. In fact, Somgyi's 136 career blocked shots rank third in school history. He also holds UCSB's single-game record of eight blocks, set during the 2009-10 season in a win at Fresno State.
"This is a really good thing for Greg," said head coach Bob Williams. "He is already doing extra and pushing himself hard to get ready for next year. The opportunity to play on the international stage is just another way to help him grow."
Somogyi, who has played for Hungary's Junior National teams for several years, could be joined in China by Johnson, who will attend the U.S. National Team training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. beginning on July 29.
While several Gauchos played in U.S. Olympic Sports Festivals throughout the years, the last UCSB player to be involved with a national team at a major world competition was Brian Shaw. Prior to his junior season, Shaw was a member of the Gold Medal-winning U.S. team at the FIBA World Championships in Spain. After his senior campaign in 1988, he was the last player cut from the U.S. team that competed at the Olympics in Seoul.