Men's Hoops Opens Practice Saturday

Men's Hoops Opens Practice Saturday

Oct. 13, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After losing six players who collectively logged more than 186 hours of playing time during their careers, the Santa Clara University men's basketball team will have a new look as it begins preseason drills this weekend.

The Broncos welcome four freshmen and two transfers to the program bright and early Saturday morning for the team's first official practice. NCAA rules dictate that Division I teams may begin practice for the upcoming season beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

Santa Clara will conduct a total of 25 practice sessions, three scrimmages and an exhibition against Holy Names University prior to its season opener against Cal State Stanislaus on Nov. 19.

Season tickets are available by clicking here or by calling the SCU Athletic Ticket Office at 408/554-4660. A number of reserved, general admission and family plan options are available.

Season Basketball Tickets and Family Plans are on sale now by calling 408/554-4660 or by clicking here.

With just six scholarship letterwinners returning from last season's team that went 15-16 on the season, but defeated North Carolina and Stanford during the preseason, SCU coach Dick Davey will be taking a little different approach heading into next month's season opener.

"We have a brand new team with a lot of new faces, that's for sure," said Davey, who enters his 14th season at Santa Clara with a 217-164 career record. "This group is going to require a lot more teaching than our teams have the last few years. We're going to spend more time getting them acclimated to the college game and getting them used to each other.

"They all have a great attitude and they are all very demanding of themselves, which is a very positive trait. We have a nice mix of players from different backgrounds and that lends itself to everyone working hard to pull together toward a common goal."

Leading the list of returning letterwinners is senior forward Travis Niesen (Mission Viejo, Calif.). An honorable mention all-WCC selection as a junior, Niesen is the team's leading returning scorer and rebounder after averaging 15.1 points and 4.5 boards per game last season. He scored 31 points in SCU's win over Stanford and 26 in the victory over then number one-ranked North Carolina.

At the point, sophomore Brody Angley (Redding, Calif.) is expected to maintain his starting role to lead the SCU offense while junior sharpshooter Brandon Rohe (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) returns after missing last season due to a back injury. Junior Scott Dougherty was expected to fill a significant role at the guard spot but will miss the season due to injury.

In the middle, junior Sean Denison (Nelson, B.C.) spent his first offseason in three years away from the Canadian Junior National Team and should enter the season at full strength. He led the San Francisco Pro-Am summer league in field goal percentage and is expected to shoulder the load for SCU at the center position.

Junior forward Tristan Parham (Chicago, Ill.), along with Angley, was a member of the East Bay squad that won the championship in the San Francisco summer league and will add a year of experience and athleticism to the SCU front line. Sophomore Mitch Henke (Minnetonka, Minn.) also benefited from his first year at SCU in 2004-05 and should break into a prominent role with the Broncos. Also, look for Okechukwu Mbanugo (Fremont, Calif.), a redshirt freshman forward, to earn playing time.

Entering into the mix this season are four freshmen who could all make immediate contributions to the program. Guard Calvin Johnson (Morton, Texas) is the most heralded of the group, having earned first-team all-state honors and being selected the MVP of the Texas Class A-AAA All-Star Game. Athletic Domineek Daniel (Barstow, Calif.) will also get a look at the off guard spot.

Forward Cliff Sammet (Santa Cruz, Calif.) is a high-flying freshman who lost just four games in his last two prep seasons and was coached as a prep by Pete Newell, Jr. At the center position, 6-11 John Bryant will be adjusting to a higher level of competition but could make an impact in his first season.

Santa Clara also welcomes two transfers who will be eligible to participate next season. Josh Higgins, a 7-0 center from Western Kentucky, and Danny Pariseau, a 5-11 point guard from Eastern Washington, will bring experience and maturity to the SCU practice sessions this season.

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