Gauchos Debut With Saturday Exhibition Against San Francisco State

James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson (Photo by Mike Janes)

• The Schedule 
Exhibition Game 
Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. San Francisco State Gators
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com

Game No. 1
Friday, November 11, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Chapman University Panthers

at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Livestats available on UCSBgauchos.com

• Tickets Available
Season and single game tickets for UCSB basketball are available now.  In addition, the Big West +1 Plan is available for $99.  The plan enables fans to purchase a ticket for all eight Big West Conference games plus one for either the Nov. 26 showdown against San Diego State or the Nov. 30 rivalry renewal against UNLV.  For more information, please call 805-893-UCSB (8272), stop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or online by clicking here.  Also, the ICA Ticket Office is open on Saturdays from 10am-1pm. 

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB and will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com and NewsPress.com. Gerry Fall is in his seventh year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford  and Santa Barbara News-Press legend Mark Patton handle the color commentary.

• UCSB Opens With A Different Breed Of Gators 
UC Santa Barbara will open the 2011-12 season with an exhibition game against the Gators.  The Gauchos also ended the 2010-11 season against the Gators.  It is likely, however, that the similarity will end with the nickname.  Last year, UCSB dropped a 79-51 decision in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to the University of Florida Gators.  On Nov. 5, the season opens with an exhibition game against the San Francisco State Gators. 

• Oddball Schedule Opens For Real Nov. 11
The Gauchos will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11 when they host Chapman University in a 7:00 p.m. game.  The game will also open one of the most oddball schedules in school history.  If the exhibition is included, the first seven games are at home.  UCSB does not play a road game in November and, in fact, will not play its first road game until Dec. 13 at the University of San Diego.  At that point, things take an even stranger turn.  The game at USD will open what is more a road odyssey than road trip.  Following the game against the Toreros, the Gauchos will play at Washington on Dec. 16, at Cal on Dec. 19 and at BYU on Dec. 22.  When all is said and done, they will have spent 12 days on the road.  After taking Christmas off, UCSB opens league play at Cal Poly on Jan. 2.  They will host Cal State Fullerton at the Thunderdome on Jan. 5, their first home game in 37 days. 

• Gauchos Picked To Finish Second In Big West
UCSB has been picked to finish second in the Big West Conference's regular season standings in a poll of the league's media.  The Gauchos received four first-place votes and totaled 196 points.  Long Beach State, the 2011 regular season champion, earned 20 first-place votes and tallied 212 points.  Cal Poly (158 points), Cal State Fullerton (131 points) and UC Riverside (114 points) rounded out the top-five.

• Gaucho Duo Named Preseason All-Big West
Senior guards Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally were named to the Big West's Preseason All-Conference Team, also in a poll of the media.  Johnson is a two-time First Team All-Big West selection.  He has also been named the Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player twice and in 2010, he was chosen Big West Player of the Year.  Nunnally was an honorable mention All-Big West selection in 2011 and a second team all-league choice in 2010.

• The Gaucho Record
The Gauchos enter Saturday night's game against San Francisco State with an overall record of 0-0 and a league mark of 0-0.  But seriously folks, UCSB finished with an 18-14 overall record in 2010-11 and an 8-8 league mark.  The Gauchos did, however, go 3-0 in the Big West Tournament to win their second straight league crown and advance to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament.

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Averaged 7.7 ppg and 4.3 rpg in regular season, 12.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg in BWC Tourney.
G - 1 - Nate Garth - Will be seeing his first game action since transferring from New Mexico.
F - 21 - James Nunnally - Selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team.
F - 24 - Christian Peterson - Had 25 rebounds and seven points in 2010-11.
G - 33 - Orlando Johnson- John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top-50, Lute Olson Preseason All-America.

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F - 5 - Keegan Hornbuckle- Couple 'o nagging injuries will limit Colorado transfer early.
G - 10 - Kyle Boswell- Made 11-of-25 three-pointers as a freshman in 2010-11.
G - 11 - T.J. Taylor - Freshman expected to be backup point guard for the Gauchos.
F - 12 - Lewis Thomas -First Aussie to play for UCSB since Tom Garlepp (2005-07).
F - 15 - Alan Williams - Arizona prep Player of the Year will be in the rotation.
F - 20 - Shawn Moore - Walk-on from Butte College. 
F - 32 - John Green - Getting back in shape after foot injury sidelined him for more than two months.
F - 35 - Taran Brown - Wyoming state Player of the Year in 2011.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Has 135 career blocked shots ranking him third in school history.

• Johnson Not Likely To Play
While we are listing him as a starter two sections up, Orlando Johnson is not likely to play against San Francisco State.  He has been resting a sore Achilles and will most likely be held out until the regular season.

• Williams Seeks UCSB Wins Record
Bob Williams will be entering his 14th season at the helm of the UCSB basketball program.  In his 23 seasons overall, Williams has led three schools to a 406-270 overall record.  In his first 13 years in Santa Barbara, his teams have gone 217-170.  He has the second highest win total in school history and needs just six to move into first all-time.  Jerry Pimm, who guided the Gauchos for 15 seasons, is the current record holder with 222 career wins.

• Johnson's Honor Roll
Orlando Johnson has compiled his share of postseason and preseason honors.  He has a bevy of Big West awards, everything from Player of the Year and tournament MVP, to numerous Player of the Week awards and a pair of first team all-league honors.  He's also earned two NABC All-District and Mid-Major All-American recognitions.  In the last few weeks, Johnson's status has been elevated to national.  In early October, he became the first Gaucho named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top-50 and on Nov. 1, he was named to the Lute Olson Preseason All-American Team.  He is one of just 21 players across the nation to be recognized on the team.  Others on the list include Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina and Terrence Jones of Kentucky.

• Dynamic Duo Back For More
Seniors Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally are the most prolific scoring combination in UCSB history.  In their two years of playing together, the duo has piled-up 2,159 points over 62 games, an average of 34.8 per game.  In 2010-11, Johnson and Nunnally scored 1,194 points, a combined average of 37.3 per game.  Both figures were one-two punch records for the Gauchos.  Last season, also marked the first time in school history that two players scored more than 500 points in the same season.  Johnson finished with a school record 674, while Nunnally's 520 were good enough for eighth on the all-time list.

• Johnson's Busy Offseason 
Orlando Johnson didn't get a whole lot of rest between the end of last season and the beginning of this season.  First, he made himself available for the NBA Draft, went to New Jersey for a workout and then decided to take his name out of consideration.  Early in the summer, he was a counselor at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Chicago.  From there, he was invited to be a counselor at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron.  Later in the summer, Johnson tried out for Team USA.  After a few days of tryouts, he learned he had made the team so he took part in training camp for August's World University Games in China.  At the games, he played in all eight games, starting four, and averaged about 20 minutes.  He also found time to lead the U.S. delegation in the opening ceremonies as the flag bearer.  A few days after returning from China, he took part in UCSB practices as the team prepared for a 10-day, five-game tour of eastern Canada and then he played in all five games on the trip.  No wonder he's tuckered out.

• A Key To Success 
Jaimé Serna battled a groin injury for much of the 2010-11 season.  When he was at his healthiest, in the Big West Tournament, his impact was obvious.  Serna was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 12.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 68.4% from the field and making all of his free throws.  To say the least, he had a lot to do with UCSB's second straight Big West Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament berth.  Early in the Gauchos' tourney game against Florida, Serna broke a bone in his wrist and didn't return.  As he enters his senior season, Serna is in the best shape of his career.  He is bigger, stronger and (knock wood) healthier than he's ever been.  If he can stay that way, expect him to improve significantly on his averages of 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game from last season. 

• Tall Tales 
Senior center Greg Somogyi is expected to assume a bigger role for UCSB in 2011-12.  Last year, he averaged 4.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and a Big West-leading 1.9 blocked shots per game.  In the off season, the 7-foot-3 Somogyi worked hard on his offensive game and, at times on the Gauchos five-game tour of eastern Canada, the difference was obvious.  His shooting range has increased and he has become very good around the basketball.  The two biggest keys for Somogyi, however, are probably foul trouble and stamina.  The UCSB coaching staff would, ideally, like to get 20-25 minutes a game from him.  They would also like to see he and Serna in the game at the same time.  Somogyi enters the season with 135 career blocked shots, third on the school's all-time list.  He needs just 20 swats to move past Doug Muse and into second on the list.  He would need 115 to pass Eric McArthur and become the new record holder.  Somogyi does hold the record for blocks in a game with eight.     

• Seeing Red
UCSB will welcome a pair of transfers into active status in 2011-12.  Point guard Nate Garth, who played two seasons at New Mexico, and forward Keegan Hornbuckle, who spent his freshman season at Colorado, are both eligible after sitting out the 2010-11 season as redshirts.  Garth is expected to begin the season as the team's starting point guard.  Hornbuckle, on the other hand, will be limited early in the year because of a couple of nagging injuries.  When he does get healthy, he should contend for a starting position. 

• A Fresh Approach
UCSB's 2011-12 roster will sport five freshmen, the highest figure of Bob Williams' tenure.  While a decision has yet to be made about which of the five will redshirt, it is fairly certain that at least three will not redshirt.  The three players who are expected to be active are 6-foot-5 wing John Green (Oakland, Calif./Westwind (Ariz.) Prep), 5-foot-9 point guard T.J. Taylor (Oakland, Calif./Oakland HS) and 6-foot-7 forward Alan Williams (Phoenix, Ariz./North HS).  The latter two were impressive at times and gained valuable experience on the Gauchos trip to Canada in September.  Green, who was in a walking boot on the trip is rounding into shape and will see his role evolve during the season.  Taran Brown (Gillette, Wyo./Campbell County HS) and Lewis Thomas (Perth, Australia/The Australian Institute of Sport) are two more freshmen who may or may not redshirt.  Brown is a lanky, athletic 6-foot-8 forward while Thomas is a slightly less lanky 6-foot-7 forward.

The Bob Williams File
2011-12 is Bob Williams' 14th season at UC Santa Barbara.

In 2010-11, Williams guided the Gauchos to their second straight Big West Tournament championship and, as a result, their second straight NCAA Tournament berth.  It marked the third NCAA Tournament bid under Williams, the fifth overall for the school and it was the first time the program had gone to the tourney in consecutive seasons.  In his 13 years, UCSB has won four regular season league titles, three tournament titles and advanced to five post-seasons.

On Feb. 5, 2011, he recorded his 400th career win when his team defeated UC Davis in overtime, 93-86.   In 2009-10, he guided the Gauchos to a 20-10 overall record, a Big West regular season championship, their second Big West Tournament title, and an NCAA Tournament berth.  Following the season, Williams was named Big West Coach of the Year for the third time.

Last year also marked the third Williams-coached Gaucho team to win 20 or more games and the 10th overall in program history.  It was the second time in a three-year span that UCSB won 20 or more contests.

In 2008-09, Williams coached the Gauchos to a 16-15 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the Big West Conference.  The record, however, doesn't tell the entire story.  UCSB was forced to overcome a myriad of injuries and at one point stood at 8-13 overall and 2-7 in league play.  

In 2007-08, Williams led the Gauchos to a 23-9 overall record.  The 23 wins were a school record, and UCSB also won its second Big West regular season title with a 12-4 conference record.  Following the campaign, the Gauchos were awarded a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.  It was the third time that a Williams team advanced to postseason play.  

The 2002 Gauchos won the school's first Big West Tournament title, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and in 2003, they won the league's regular season title and played in the NIT.    

In 1998-99, Williams took over a UCSB program that had not recorded a winning season in five years, and after seeing his team lose its first eight games that year - extending a two-season losing streak to 16 straight games - the Gauchos turned things around, winning 15 of their final 20 games and finishing on top in the Big West's Western Division.  

Williams has a UCSB record of 217-170.  He guided the program to 11 winning seasons in his first 13 years – including the last six in a row – and three 20 win seasons.  He has a career record of 128-84 in Big West games and his .606 winning percentage in league games is tops among the league's active coaches.  

Prior to his arrival at UCSB, Williams spent eight years at UC Davis and in those eight years, his teams recorded 20 or more wins five times and a 158-76 record.  In Williams' final season, the Aggies went 31-2, won the NCAA Division II National Championship and he was named NABC Division II Coach of the Year.  Including two seasons at Menlo College, Williams has an overall career record of 406-270 (.601) at four-year schools.