Nov. 6, 2008
Led by seniors Calvin Johnson and John Bryant, a preseason West Coast Conference player of the year candidate, Santa Clara will open the 2008-09 basketball season with an exhibition vs. CSU Monterey Bay on Fri., Nov. 7 at 7 pm at the Leavey Center. Santa Clara was victorious the last time the two teams tangled, coming away with a 66-49 victory on Nov. 9, 2007.
Kerry Keating beings his second season at the Bronco helm, having won 15 games last season. In the WCC preseason coaches poll last month, the talented Santa Clara squad was picked to finish fourth behind three 2008 NCAA Tournament teams (Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and San Diego).
"The guys are definitely at the point where they want to see other faces and another uniform to play against. They are tired of suffering the consequences in practice when they don't win and the other half of their team does," said Keating. "Every guy on our roster, in his own way, has shown improvement in school and in workouts since the first day, but we all understand we are by no means anywhere ready to play yet. The exhibition will be a good test to see where we are at as we continue to get ready to play CSU East Bay on Nov. 14."
First-year head coach Rob Bishop leads the Otters. Bishop came to CSUMB after spending the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University. Playing in Division II, the Otters won 10 of their last 11 regular season conference games last year; and they were 13th nationally beyond the arc, shooting 40.4%.
Bryant, who led the WCC in rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage and was second in points, was recently named to the 2008 pre-season COLLEGEHOOPS.NET Mid-Major All-America second team. Starting 18 games last season, Johnson averaged 4.6 ppg.
Also returning this year is sophomore Ben Dowdell. Dowdell started 29 of 30 games last year, scoring 8.1 ppg and adding 3.8 rpg. He set the freshman school record for minutes played last season, clocking 890 minutes on the hardwood for the Broncos.
Bronco fans will have a chance to see five of the seven Santa Clara newcomers in the exhibition. The newcomers who will see their first action Friday include: freshman Troy Alexander, a guard from Dallas, Texas; freshman Kevin Foster, a guard from Katy, Texas; junior Perry Petty, a guard from Milwaukee, Wisc., freshman James Rahon, a guard from Encinitas, Calif. and freshman Marc Trasolini, a forward from Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Freshmen-redshirt Scott Thompson is sidelined currently with a sprained ankle and junior transfer Decensae White (Texas Tech) will be eligible for play after the fall quarter due to NCAA transfer rules.