April 23, 2014

Gauchos Ink Versatile JC Guard to National Letter of Intent

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team has added another weapon to its already outstanding arsenal with the signing to a National Letter of Intent of DaJuan Smith, a versatile 6-foot-3 guard from Mt. San Jacinto Junior College, head coach Bob Williams announced Wednesday.

"DaJuan is tough, physical player who can, and will, defend," said head coach Bob Williams. "He'll get into guys physically and that makes him an outstanding defensive player. He can also shoot it and take it off the dribble. He has a very tenacious approach and I think he'll fit in perfectly with this team."

As a sophomore at Mt. San Jacinto, Smith averaged 14.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He helped lead the Eagles to a 25-5 overall record and the quarterfinals of the California Community College State Tournament. Following the season, he was named First Team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

Smith was the only Mt. San Jacinto player to play in and start all 30 of the team's games. He averaged nearly 28 minutes per contest and made 48.1% of his field goal attempts, including 30-of-77 from three-point range, 39.0%. In league play he was even better, draining 12-of-20 threes, 60.0%. Smith scored a career-high 27 points while making 9-of-12 shots overall and all three of his three-point attempts in a win over San Diego Miramar. The win was the Eagles' 17th straight. 

As a freshman at Mt. San Jacinto, Smith averaged 6.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. That season, he made 19-of-45 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 42.2%.

A native of Abbeville, La., Smith was a First Team All-District and Second Team All-State selection as a senior at Abbeville High School. He was also selected as District Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith will join an outstanding core of players that the Gauchos will have in 2014-15. UCSB will return, among others, Big West Player of the Year and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American Alan Williams, Honorable Mention All-Big West swingman Michael Bryson, point guards Zalmico Harmon and Eric Childress, and forwards Mitch Brewe and Sam Beeler.

The Gauchos will also add a host of talented players to the mix. Swingman John Green, who missed the last six weeks of the season with a broken bone in his wrist, is expected to return, as is T.J. Taylor, a two-year starter at the point who missed last season after hip surgery. Canadian Alex Hart, a 6-foot-10 long-distance shooter, will be a redshirt freshman in 2014-15. Two new faces to the program next will be freshmen Gabe Vincent (6-foot-3/Stockton, Calif./St. Mary's HS) and Justin Burks (6-foot-6/Las Vegas, Nev./Arbor View HS).