October 28, 2010

UCSB Picked to Repeat as Big West Champs; Johnson, Nunnally Named Preseason All-League

Oct. 28, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara was picked to repeat as Big West Conference champions and juniors Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally were selected to the preseason all-league team in a poll of the league's regular media it was announced Thursday.

The Gauchos received 20 first-place votes from the 23-member voting panel for a total of 204 points. UCSB, which captured both the conference co-regular season and tournament championships in 2009-10, return all five starters from the team that finished 20-10 overall. Johnson led the Big West in scoring (18.0 ppg) to claim Big West Player of the Year and first team all-conference honors. Nunnally, an All-Big West Second Team pick, ranked ninth in scoring (14.7 ppg) and 11th in rebounding (5.6 rpg) on the league leaderboard. The Gauchos also feature junior point guard Will Brew facilitating the offense (2.6 apg, 9th in Big West) and junior forward Jaimé Serna anchoring the frontline. UCSB hopes to benefit from the experience of reaching the 2010 NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Ohio State in the first round.

"I think the recognition of being picked to win the league is good for our program," said three-time Big West Coach of the Year Bob Williams. "It kind of puts a target on our backs, but we know how good this league is and we know we'll have to bring it every night to be successful."

Long Beach State, the Gauchos' opponent in the last March's Big West Tournament championship game, earned 180 points and two first-place votes to claim the runner-up spot in the poll. Pacific, the other regular season co-champ in 2009-10, earned 161 points and one first-place vote to finish third in the poll. UC Davis, which reached the semifinals of the Big West Tournament in 2010, was picked to finish fourth with 126 points.

In fifth place was Cal Poly with 96 points. UC Irvine was right behind in sixth place with 93 tallies. Cal State Fullerton (81 points), Cal State Northridge (55) and UC Riverside (39) rounded out the media poll.

The media panel also selected a six-player preseason all-conference team comprised of five juniors and one senior. The six honorees included Joe Harden (UC Davis), Eric Wise (UC Irvine), Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally of UC Santa Barbara, and Long Beach State's T.J. Robinson and Casper Ware. Johnson and Robinson are 2009-10 first team all-conference performers. Harden, Nunnally, Ware and Wise garnered All-Big West Second Team selections last year.

Media Poll Results

1. UC Santa Barbara (20) 204 2. Long Beach State (2) 180 3. Pacific (1) 161 4. UC Davis 126 5. Cal Poly 96 6. UC Irvine 93 7. Cal State Fullerton 81 8. Cal State Northridge 55 9. UC Riverside 39

( ) First-place votes

Preseason Media All-Conference Team

Name                 School             Position      Year       Hometown
Orlando Johnson      UCSB               Guard         Junior     Seaside, Calif.
James Nunnally       UCSB               Forward       Junior     Stockton, Calif.
Joe Harden           UC Davis           Guard         Senior     Acampo, Calif.
T.J. Robinson        Long Beach State   Forward       Junior     West Haven, Conn.
Casper Ware          Long Beach State   Guard         Junior     Cerritos, Calif.
Eric Wise            UC Irvine          Forward       Junior     Riverside, Calif.

Season tickets for UCSB basketball remain on sale. Fans are encouraged to take advantage of several different and affordable packages. For more information or 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.

UCSB Athletics and Gaucho basketball are on Twitter. You can find the athletic department tweets at Twitter.com/UCSBgauchos and the men's basketball tweets at Twitter.com/UCSBbasketball.

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