October 31, 2006

New-Look Gauchos Open Exhibition Season at Home Wednesday Against UC San Diego

Oct. 31, 2006

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The Schedule
Exhibition Game No. 1
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC San Diego Tritons
UCSB's Thunderdome

Exhibition Game No. 2
Monday, November 6, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Westmont College Warriors
UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara finished the 2005-06 season with an overall record of 15-14 and a Big West mark of 6-8. The Gauchos finished in fifth-place in the league. UCSB won eight of its final 11 games in 2005-06 to finish over the .500 mark.

On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KTMS, 990-AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his third year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Laker and UCSB star Don Ford handles the color commentary for the majority of games, home and road. When Ford is not available for road games, Bill Mahoney, yours truly, will handle the task. Steve Wendt, the voice of the UCSB women's basketball team, will handle the play-by-play for a handful of men's games this season.

The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams show will be aired each Tuesday night from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on KTMS 990 AM in Santa Barbara. Coach Williams will talk about past and upcoming games, interview Gaucho players and welcome guests from the Santa Barbara sports community.

UCSB Picked To Finish Fifth In Big West By Media And Coaches
UCSB was picked to finish in fifth-place in the Big West by both the coaches and the media at the league's annual media day last week. The Gauchos, who finished fifth in 2005-06, finished narrowly behind Cal Poly in the media poll and behind UC Irvine in the coaches poll. The Big West coaches selected Pacific and Long Beach State to finish in first, but the Tigers received five of eight first-place votes. Long Beach had three. Cal State Fullerton was picked third, UCI fourth, UCSB fifth and Cal Poly sixth. The media, on the other hand, picked Long Beach State to win by a significant margin over Pacific. The 49ers totaled 157 points and 18 first-place votes, while UOP had 124 points and a pair of first-place votes. Fullerton was again picked third. Cal Poly and UC Irvine traded places in the media poll with the Mustangs picked fourth and the Anteaters picked sixth. UCSB was once again picked to finish in fifth-place.

2006-07 Big West Coaches Poll
1.  Pacific (5)             45
    Long Beach State (3)    45
3.  Cal State Fullerton     37
4.  UC Irvine               28
5.  UCSB                    26
6.  Cal Poly                20
7.  Cal State Northridge    16
8.  UC Riverside             7

2006-07 Big West Media Poll 1. Long Beach State (18) 157 2. Pacific (2) 124 3. Cal State Fullerton 110 4. Cal Poly 91 5. UCSB 87 6. UC Irvine 82 7. Cal State Northridge 46 8. UC Riverside 23

Devine Chosen To Preseason All-Big West Team
Junior forward Chris Devine, a Second Team All-Big West choice in 2005-06 and the league's Hustle Award honoree, was one of six players selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team by the media. Devine averaged 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He also led the league in field goal shooting at 55.3% and he had 31 steals, tops on the team. The Eagle River, Alaska native was joined on the Preseason All-Conference Team by Bobby Brown of Cal State Fullerton, Derek Stockalper of Cal Poly, Darren Fells of UC Irvine and two players from Long Beach State, Kejuan Johnson and Aaron Nixon.

Exhibitions Get Things Started
UCSB will open the season with exhibition games against UC San Diego and Westmont College. Against the same opponents, the Gauchos won both of their exhibitions in 2005-06. UCSB will host San Jose State on Nov. 10 in a return game for last year's Bracket Buster contest.

Health Again A Question As Season Opens
As is often the case, health is a question as UCSB enters the new season. Senior guard Cecil Brown, the Gauchos' top returning scorer at 13.1 points per game, will miss both exhibition games and likely the first three to four regular season games with a stress fracture in his right foot. Senior forward Glenn Turner is out indefinitely with a groin injury. A handful of other players are hampered with minor injuries, but they are expected to play on Wednesday.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his ninth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team overcame a slow start to finish over the .500 mark for the fourth time in five seasons. UCSB was 15-14 overall and 6-8 in the Big West. Prior to the 2004-05 season, when an injury-ravaged Gaucho team finished below .500, Williams had guided the program to three straight winning seasons for the first time since the late 1980s. In 2002-03, Williams' Gauchos went 18-14 overall and 14-4 in league. The 2002-03 Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever Big West regular season championship along with a trip to the postseason National Invitation Tournament. Additionally, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campaign. In 2001-02, Williams guided UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 122-111 (.524) overall record and a 79-55 (.590) record in Big West games. Prior to his arrival at UCSB, he spent eight years at UC Davis and in those eight years, his teams recorded 20 or more wins five times and a 158-76 record. In Williams' final season, the Aggies went 31-2, won the NCAA Division II National Championship and he was named NABC Division II Coach of the Year. Including two seasons at Menlo College, Williams has a record of 311-211 (.596) at four-year schools.

Devine Gives Gauchos Strong Foundation
Junior forward Chris Devine is an important piece of UCSB's puzzle this season. A Second Team All-Big West pick in 2005-06 and a Preseason All-Big West selection this season, Devine was the only Gaucho to start all 29 games last year. He was the most consistent scorer and rebounder on the team, finishing second on the team at 12.2 points per game and first at 5.9 rebounds per outing. In 14 Big West games, Devine was even better as he averaged 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Overall, he shot 55.3% from the field, best on the team and, in fact, best in the conference. Devine also had four of UCSB's six double-doubles on the year, including a 25-point, 14-rebound effort in a come-from-behind overtime win at Cal State Northridge. In 2006-07, the 6-foot-8 Eagle River, Alaska native will once again be one of UCSB's primary options. Last year, Devine did almost all of his damage as the starter at the four spot, this season he is expected to split time between the four spot and the three spot. His occasional move to a wing spot will give the Gauchos a much bigger lineup. Devine's quickness and his court awareness make the move a viable one for the Gaucho coaches. However, whether at the four or the three, he is again expected to be UCSB's workhorse.

Brown Gets Off On The Wrong Foot
Senior guard Cecil Brown has gotten off on the wrong foot in 2006-07. Awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in the spring, Brown and Chris Devine were expected to give the Gauchos a potent one-two punch in 2006-07, but that combination will have to wait a while. Brown, who led UCSB in scoring at 13.1 points per game in 2005-06, suffered a stress fracture in his right foot before the start of practice and he will be out at least until mid-November, probably late-November. Like Devine, Brown was a Second Team All-Big West selection in 2005-06 after experiencing the best season of his career. In addition to his 13.1 scoring average, he posted career-highs in rebounds (3.7 per game), assists (2.3 per game), three-point baskets (42), field goal percentage (42.0%), free throw percentage (78.5%) and steals (21). He also played in 28 of 29 games, starting 27. After a slow start last year, Brown became UCSB's most dependable offensive threat. He scored a career-high 28 points in a December win over Pepperdine, the most points scored by a Gaucho player since the 2002-03 season, and at one point he scored in double-digits in 16 straight appearances and 22 times in 23. When Brown scored, UCSB also tended to win. He scored 18 or more points five times and the Gauchos went 5-0 in those games.

Harris Poised For A Breakout
Junior wing Alex Harris could be a Gaucho on the verge. By most accounts, he has been the team's most improved player in the early going and he had an outstanding summer in the San Francisco Pro-Am League. A 6-foot-6 Alameda, Calif., native, Harris has shown glimpses in each of his first two seasons. Last year, he averaged 8.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. After a fast start, however, he slumped during the middle of the season and ultimately became UCSB's sixth man. Harris did have his moments. He became the first UCSB guard since the 2002-03 season to record a double-double when he had 14 points and 10 rebounds in a win over San Diego. Also, in the absence of the team's leading scorer Cecil Brown, he scored a career-high 17 points in a home win over Long Beach State.

The Fifth Returnee
Depending on Turner's status, sophomore forward Tom Garlepp will play a more major role for UCSB in 2006-07. After a fast start in 2005-06 (11.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game after two outings), Garlepp slowed down as a freshman. He finished the year at 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. This year, however, the Gaucho Aussie returned with some added muscle and he is moving better laterally. Garlepp will also be asked to play more at the five spot, giving the Gauchos an outside shooting presence at that position. Last year, he made seven three-point baskets, tops among UCSB forwards.

The Turner Factor
After missing six months of activity while he underwent a myriad of tests following a incident of shortness of breath, chest tightness and dizziness in a March 2 game at Pacific, Glenn Turner was cleared to return to the Gauchos in late-September. Early on in practice, however, Turner suffered an injury in his groin area and he has been out ever since. He has yet to be cleared and will certainly not play in the exhibition games and his status for the regular season is undetermined. It was determined that the incident at Pacific was the reaction to a combination of medications that Turner was taking at the time. If and when he does return, he too will be an important part of the puzzle. Last year, he played in 23 games, starting eight, and he averaged 4.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He also blocked 32 shots. At the time that he was sidelined, Turner had become one of the team's most vital members. In a game against UC Davis, he had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. He had five double-figure rebounding efforts over a six-game span and during the nine games prior to the Pacific game, he made 26-of-34 shots from the field, 76.5%. If he is healthy, there is little doubt, Turner will have an impact.

The Point Is, Powell Is Young
Redshirt freshman James Powell will be thrown into the fire in 2006-07. After sitting-out the 2005-06 season, Powell is expected to be UCSB's starting point guard this season. A combination guard at Glendora High School, he will be the first freshman to start at point for UCSB since Jacoby Atako did so in 2000-01. As a senior at Glendora, Powell averaged 20.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He is an outstanding long-range shooter and, as senior in high school, he made 86 three-point baskets. In fact, in one game, Powell made 12 three-point baskets and scored a career-high 53 points. How does all of that translate to the college level? We won't have to wait long to find out.

New Faces Scattered About
James Powell will be just one of several new players expected to make immediate contributions. In the backcourt, there are three others who will get an opportunity to earn playing time. Freshman Justin Joyner (Antioch, Calif./De La Salle HS) was the starting point guard for the California State Division I High School champion last year. He is a true point guard who is used to playing in a very structured system. As a senior at De La Salle, he averaged 10.4 points, 5.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game. Initially, Joyner will be the second option at the point. Trevor Bing (Largo, Fla./Cape Fear Community College) is a community college transfer who originally went to Florida Atlantic out of high school. He made a Cape Fear record of 66 three-point baskets last year and he will give the Gauchos another outside shooting threat. One of the biggest surprises of early practice was the performance of Paul Roemer (Martinez, Calif./De La Salle HS). A walk-on, Roemer has shown outstanding flashes at the wing and could earn playing time, particularly early in the season. In the frontcourt, the two newcomers who could have an immediate impact are 6-foot-8 junior Ivan Elliott (San Francisco, Calif./West Valley College) and 6-foot-7 freshman Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté (Yaoundé, Cameroon/Montverde Academy). Elliott is extremely athletic, has extremely long arms and he is very quick off the floor. He could be in the starting lineup at the outset of the season and he could become one of the team's most dependable rebounders and defenders. Bidias a Mouté is very raw, but he has tremendous upside. He is a good rebounder, very athletic and he has a nice shooting touch. He will likely contribute more later in the year, but should not be counted out early. A third frontcourt newcomer will be redshirt sophomore Beau Gibb (Oxford, Miss./Robert Morris). A transfer with Division I experience, Gibb, who is 6-foot-8, is a good perimeter shooter, and will help the Gauchos at the four and five spots. Redshirt freshman David Massey (Hemet, Calif./Hemet HS) who, at 7-foot-3 is the tallest player in the history of the program, could contribute as the year evolves. Freshman Sam Phippen (Durango, Colo./Durango HS) will likely redshirt the 2006-07 season, but at 6-foot-9 he is a skilled outside shooter and seems to have a bright future.