UCSB is Popular Choice to Repeat as Big West Champions

UCSB is Popular Choice to Repeat as Big West Champions

Sept. 30, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In 2010, the UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team won the Big West Conference regular season and tournament championships, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight years. With the vast majority of their key players returning in 2010-11, the Gauchos are a popular choice to repeat, according to several college basketball preseason publications.

UCSB has been chosen to win its second straight Big West crown by Blue Ribbon Yearbook, The Sporting News, Athlon Sports and Lindy's Magazine. Each publication has also selected junior guard Orlando Johnson as the conference's Player of the Year and both he and junior forward James Nunnally as First Team All-Big West choices.

"The notoriety is good for our program," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams, "but we still have to do it on the court and that will be a challenge. In a way, we'll be marked-men this year because people will be gunning for us."

As a sophomore in 2009-10, Johnson was named Big West Player of the Year, Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player, First Team All-Big West, First Team All-District, First Team Mid-Major All-American and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American. He averaged 18.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and he became the first UCSB player in nearly 15 years to score in double-figures in every game. Nunnally, a Second Team All-Big West choice, averaged 14.7 points and a team-leading 5.6 rebounds per game. He also made a team-best 45.5% of his 3-point shots.

In addition to Johnson and Nunnally, the Gauchos return junior forward Jaimé Serna (7.8 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game and 52.4% of his field goal attempts), junior guard Will Brew (4.8 points and a team-leading 79 assists), 7-foot-3 junior center Greg Somogyi (38 blocked shots, including school record eight vs. Fresno State), senior guard Jordan Weiner (3.0 points per game and 20 3-point baskets), senior forward Jon Pastorek (2.3 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game), senior guard Justin Joyner (46 assists and just 22 turnovers) and sophomore forward Lucas Devenny (1.3 points per game and 1.7 rebounds per game).

UCSB will also add a pair of talented freshmen to the backcourt. Troy Leaf (Foothills Christian HS/El Cajon, Calif.), who set a San Diego County record for points during his decorated four-year career, was named First Team All-State following his senior season at Foothills Christian. Kyle Boswell (Edison HS/Huntington Beach, Calif.) had his senior season at Edison cut short because of a wrist injury, but he is an outstanding 3-point shooting threat. Both freshmen will be given an opportunity to earn playing time.

While the Gauchos are the favorites to win the Big West, the four publications varied on who they believed would finish second and third. Blue Ribbon and Lindy's pick Pacific to finish second and Long Beach State to finish third. The Sporting News and Athlon Sports reverse the order, picking Long Beach second and Pacific third.

Season tickets for UCSB basketball are on sale now and the deadline to renew has been extended to Oct. 15.

Men's season tickets start for as low as $125 and women's for as low as $100. A special "Double-up" combo plan is available for $200 and includes tickets for every men's and women's game. Gold Zone tickets, which include special Founders Room at the Thunderdome events, require a $300 per seat donation to the Gaucho Fund in addition to the cost of the season ticket. Gold Zone season ticket holders also receive complimentary parking and entrance to the Gold Hospitality Room pregame and halftime.

With the One Donation is Gold program, all current season ticket holders in the Gold Zone for soccer have made the required donations for basketball and need only to pay for the cost of the basketball season ticket.

To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To view the entire men's basketball schedule, click here

To View the entire women's basketball schedule, click here