Ryan Freeberg/Nevada Sagebrush. Gabe Bansuelo and Zachary Williams are the only two Reno locals on this years Pack sqaud. The two are both new to the program, coming to Nevada during the offseason.

For Gabe Bansuelo and Zachary Williams, Reno is more than just the town they play college ball in—it’s their hometown.

Bansuelo was born and raised in Reno, Nev. A twin, he was a varsity member all four years at Bishop Manogue High School and a one-year varsity member for the track and field team. 

In his senior year at Bishop Manogue, Bansuelo averaged 16 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in the 2018-19 season. Additionally, he helped lead his team to the Northern Nevada 4A Regional Championship. While at Bishop Manogue, Bansuelo also received All-Sierra League honors twice, first-team all-region once and third-team all-state once. 

Newly hired head coach Steve Alford is ultimately what drew Bansuelo in.

“I just thought it would be a really good opportunity, especially with the new coaching staff, you know just like a whole new system,” Bansuelo said. “I thought for me I could show what I could do and they pretty much have a new picture of everything.”

The jump from high school basketball to college ball is a huge one, one that Bansuelo has taken in stride.

“Well I think it’s pretty obvious, it’s just the skill level and intensity you play at. Because obviously, each player that comes here is pretty much the best on their team or in high school,” Bansuelo said. “Everyone is good and everyone can play. The intensity is always high because you need that to get to this level.”

Williams was also both born and raised in Reno, Nev. He attended Galena High School where he was a member of the varsity basketball team for three years. While at Galena, Williams earned both all-state and all-region honors. His junior season, he helped lead his team to a regional championship. 

After high school, Williams went and played at Feather River College, a junior college in Quincy, Calif. During his freshman season, Williams averaged 7.4 points and four rebounds per game, helping lead the Golden Eagles to a conference championship. 

Following his freshman season, Williams transferred to South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Ariz. While there, he started 29 of the 30 games he appeared in and averaged 9.9 points and four rebounds while playing on average 24 minutes per game. 

Williams transferred to Nevada following his season in Phoenix. 

“I’ve been already in 65 college basketball games, I learned the transition from high school to college is a lot different. The game is a lot quicker, and every play everyone is going 100 percent,” Williams said. “In high school, you got one or two good guys, in college you got ten.”

Williams came to Nevada not only for the hometown ties but for a chance to have that “big-time college basketball experience.”

“I really just want the big-time college basketball experience, and if I could work into a scholarship that would be ideal. But if it doesn’t work out I will still end up with a degree and a great experience.”

Jory Richardson can be reached at rfreeberg@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.