||McKeon Pavilion now sports chair-back seating behind team benches, leather seats in the VIP section (oooh), and a new sound system (better to hear the mellifluous tones of long-time announcer Dick Callahan).
||Paul Thomas, whose teams have won two Division II national titles, was wooed from Cal Poly-Pomona to lead the Saint Mary's women's hoops program.
||Fans can catch three basketball tournaments this season at McKeon: the Shamrock Invitational (November 10-12) and Shamrock Office Solutions Classic (December 28-29) for the men, and the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic (November 24-25) for the women.
||Men's basketball will host 22 (yes, 22) basketball games, 17 of them involving the Gaels (the other five involve tournament invitees). It's the busiest home schedule in the West Coast Conference.
||Four recruits join Randy Bennett's men's squad: Tron Smith, Yusef Smith, Omar Samhan and Dubois Williams. Smith, a shooting guard, was California's No. 2 junior college scorer last season, averaging 25 points per game at Citrus Community College.
||Five 2005 All-WCC honorees return: Diamon Simpson (all-freshman, men); Jontelle Smith (all-freshman, women), and Serena Benavante, Maija Lahde and Monica Mertle (honorable mention, women).
||Three newcomers and one familiar face join first-year coach Paul Thomas' women's team. The newbies are Kira Kojola (from Finland), 6-foot-6 Lindsey Ellis and Mattianna Thalley. Former Gael Lauren Shaughnessy returns to the squad after sitting out 2005-06.
||The men's team will play schools that advanced to postseason tournaments in 2006: UConn, Nevada, Seton Hall, San Diego State, Murray State, Gonzaga, Belmont, Southern Illinois, and Saint Joseph's.
||The women's non-conference slate includes contests against major-conference foes California, Miami (FL), Oregon, San Diego State, Missouri, and Alabama.
||And, if you can't be there in person you can watch two men's home games on ESPN: the Jan. 15, 2007 tilt against Gonzaga and the Feb. 19, 2007 game against USF. At least a dozen men's games will be televised locally; check www.smcgaels.com for schedules.