Gauchos Sign Frontcourt Duo to National Letters of Intent

April 27, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara has signed 6-foot-8 forwards Ivan Elliott and Emmanuel Bidias a Moute to National Letters of Intent, head coach Bob Williams announced Thursday.

Elliott, a native of San Francisco, played two seasons at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. At 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, he can play either the small forward or power forward position. As a sophomore at West Valley, he started all 37 games, averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 54.2% overall, 41.3% from three-point range and 79.1% from the free throw line.

Elliott, who will be a junior at UCSB, was selected All-Coast Conference after helping his team to a 33-4 overall record and a spot in the California State Community College Championship Game. In his two seasons at the school, West Valley posted a 58-9 overall record, won consecutive Coast Conference titles and made back-to-back appearances in the State Elite Eight.

"Ivan is not only 6-foot-8, but he has a 7-foot-2 wingspan and he is a very, very active defender and a good rebounder," Williams said. "He is also a good spot-up shooter and I think he has the makeup and personality to be a great teammate. One of the things I like best about Ivan is that he is so young for his year in school. He is just 19 and only getting better."

West Valley College is coached by Danny Yoshikawa who played two seasons for Williams at UC Davis, helping to lead the Aggies to a pair of Northern California Athletic Conference championships and two NCAA appearances.

The 6-foot-8, 240 pound Bidias a Moute will be a freshman at UCSB. He is a native of Yaounde, Cameroon and attended Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla. He injured his knee before the start of the 2005-06 season and missed the entire year. In 2004-05, Bidias a Moute expected to play high school basketball in Albuquerque, but he did not meet all of the transfer requirements and was ruled ineligible by the New Mexico High School Association. Although he remained in school, he did not play. Following the year, Bidias a Moute transferred to Montverde Academy. His twin brother, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who was named Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year following his freshman season at UCLA in 2006, also attended Montverde.

"I watched Emmanuel go through a workout and while he lacks experience, I think he has an opportunity to be a very good player," assessed Williams. "He has a nice perimeter shot and good skills bouncing the ball. Emmanuel is not a pure back-to-the-basket guy, but he has a big, strong body and can be very athletic.

"He hasn't played much in two years because of his eligibility situation in New Mexico and then the knee injury this year," Williams continued. "What [Montverde Academy head coach] Kevin Sutton has done for him is amazing. Even though Emmanuel couldn't play, Coach Sutton worked with him to rehab his knee, to make sure his academics were in order and to improve his game after the season. I am very impressed by that."

Elliott and Bidias a Moute are the third and fourth players signed to National Letters of Intent for the 2006-07 season. Justin Joyner, a point guard from De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., and Sam Phippen, a forward from Durango (Colo.) High School, previously signed letters.