November 3, 2010

Basketball Opens Season with Exhibition vs. CSU Maritime Friday

The Santa Clara basketball team opens the 2010-11 season with an exhibition at the Leavey Center vs. CSU Maritime on Fri., Nov. 5 at 6 pm. SCU plays 19 home games this season, including the exhibition vs. CSU Maritime and 28 of its 32 games are in the state of California. The Broncos welcome five freshmen this season (photo to the right with Coach Keating).

Click here to buy tickets for the CSUM game or call the Santa Clara Ticket Office at 408-554-4660.  The Ticket Office is also open 9-5 Monday-Friday.

CSU Maritime was the California Pacific Conference Champion in 2010.  It will be the Keelhaulers fourth game this season, all road games, and its first-ever meeting with the Broncos.

The Broncos open the regular season on Fri., Nov. 12 with a 6 pm contest vs. CSU Bakersfield.  The Broncos defeated CSUB 84-81, in Bakersfield, to open last season.

All games will be broadcast live on KDOW 1220 AM and can also be heard on 

In the 2010 WCC preseason coaches poll, the young, talented and athletic Santa Clara squad was picked to finish fourth. In addition, junior Marc Trasolini and sophomore-redshirt Kevin Foster were named to the preseason All-WCC team.

Trasolini led Santa Clara in points, rebounds and blocks last year, averaging 13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 1.6 bpg, playing 29.3 mpg. Trasolini's 50 blocked shots last season were No. 5 on the single season list.  His 87 career blocks are No. 5 on the career blocks list; and he is on pace to break John Bryant's school record (246, 2005-09).  Bryant's 246 blocks are No. 2 on the WCC all-time career list.

Trasolini was named all-league last year with Foster missing most of the season due to a broken foot in early December.  Prior to breaking his foot in the closing minutes of Santa Clara's 71-68 win at UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 1, Foster was leading the league with 19.8 ppg.

Trasolini and Foster were both named to the 2008 WCC All-Freshman team.  That same year, Foster was named the WCC Newcomer of the Year and a Freshman All-American team when he broke Steve Nash's single season for three pointers with 85.  Foster was also named to the preseason all-league team in 2009. 

Santa Clara, who had no seniors last year, has four seniors and two juniors on the roster with 11 underclassmen this season. Last season its top five scorers were underclassmen, with those players scoring 70% of the Broncos points.  The Broncos featured the seventh-youngest team in the country and the youngest team in the WCC last year ( Of the nine active players on scholarship last year, Santa Clara had zero seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen.

It was only fourth time in 61 years (starting line-ups were kept beginning in 1949-50) that Santa Clara does not have a senior starter. The last time there wasn't a senior starter: Steve Nash's junior year (1994-95). Nash, a two-time WCC Player of the Year for the Broncos, has gone on to win two NBA MVP awards.

"We're young again this season, but we have decent experience," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating, who is in his fourth year at the helm.  "We have guys that have played a lot of minutes at an early age and hopefully that can translate into them growing up a little bit quicker. Our team has done a good job of helping with our recruiting.  We are also working hard to put ourselves in a position to finally have good depth and we're looking forward to taking advantage of that depth by having guys compete in practice everyday."

This year the Bronco senior class is made up of Ben Dowdell (6.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg last season), Michael Santos (6.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.3 apg), Troy Payne (4.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.6 spg) and Nate Mensah

The junior class includes Trasolini (13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg) and Phillip Bach (1.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg).

The sophomore class, with Foster working as a sophomore-redshirt this season (19.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.2 spg), also includes Raymond Cowels III (7.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.3 apg), second-leading scorer Robert Smith (12.1, 3.1 rpg, 3.0 apg), Chris Cunningham (2.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg), Niyi Harrison (7.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Kyle Perricone.

Smith played in a Bronco freshman-record 1,049 minutes last season, starting 30 games and playing 32.8 mpg. His minutes tally was good for No. 4 on the Broncos single season list and set the SCU freshman record.  All told, Smith finished in 11 of the top 10 categories in the Bronco freshman records.  Cowels and Harrison both started 11 games, playing in all 32.  Harrison collected 21 blocks (No. 5 on the SCU freshman list) and Cowels finished last season as the No. 2 freshman all-time in three-pointers attempted and No. 5 in three pointers made.  Cunningham started four games, playing in 30, with a career-high eight points at Gonzaga and a career-high eight rebounds vs. San Diego.

Bronco fans will have a chance to see five Santa Clara freshmen in the exhibition as well. The freshmen newcomers who will look to see their first action Friday include: Evan Roquemore (Henderson, Nev.), Beau Gamble (Boulder, Colo.), Julian Clarke (Toronto, Canada) and John McArthur (Danville, Calif.) and Yannick Atanga (Yaounde, Cameroon).

The Bronco head coach had high praise for the freshman class.  "They're great kids, great students, and great teammates, willing to do whatever they can to help us win.  Obviously being freshmen they have a lot to learn but they also have a lot of energy and experience coming in from high school success," said Keating.  "They're also willing to accept their role right now because they want to help us win and get the program to a level where they can make an impact in that matter."

Santa Clara has 17 players entering this season, including 13 scholarship players and four walk-ons, one in each class. The walk-ons this season are Nate Mensah (senior), Phillip Bach (junior), Kyle Perricone (sophomore) and Beau Gamble (freshman).

"We are happy we have a walk-on from each class on our roster. They are always a valuable part of our team from our daily to game preparation.  Like their teammates, they are very competitive and driven to do well," said Keating.  "The walk-ons are respected members of the squad. It's hard to be a walk-on because sometimes more is expected of you, with less return, but we hope their biggest return is being a part of something special with a great team and a great group of guys."