Big West Regular Season Champs Tip-Off Season With Two Exhibitions
Nov. 4, 2003
Game No. 1
Wednesday, November 5, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. EA SportsWest All Stars
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game No. 2
Wednesday, November 12, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Ratiopharm Ulm
at UCSB's Thunderdome
UCSB Ready to Defend 2002-03 Title
UC Santa Barbara enters the 2003-04 basketball season with four returning starters and a number of key reserves from a 2002-03 team that won the program's first ever Big West regular season championship. Among the starters returning is Branduinn Fullove, the reigning Big West Player of the Year. Fullove, a senior guard, enters the season prepared to stamp his name into the Gaucho record books as one of the best UCSB has ever had. Alongside Fullove will be Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones, two more 2002-03 award recepients. Atako was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year and Jones was Co-Hustle Player of the Year. The three seniors comprise one of the best backcourts UC Santa Barbara has ever had, and coupled with Head Coach Bob Williams, the Big West Coach of the Year during the 2002-03 season, the Gauchos are poised to defend their crown and make another run towards post season play.
UCSB enters the 2003-04 season with a number of formidable opponents on its schedule, including postseason regulars Kansas, UCLA, Hawaii, and Pepperdine. Santa Barbara heads to Hawaii after playing its exhibition games and battles the Rainbow Warriors at 9:00 p.m. November 21. After traveling to the Montana Holiday Classic in Missoula, the Gauchos will open their home schedule. Pepperdine will make its way to the Thunderdome December 3 for a contest that will tip off at 7:00 p.m. UCSB will travel to UCLA on December 17, and then match-up with defending NCAA runner-up Kansas as part of the Wolf Pack Classic at the University of Nevada. The game against the Jayhawks and will be played December 20, at 5:00 p.m.
At least for the time being, UCSB will be without senior guard Nick Jones who is being witheld from competing in games pending an NCAA decision regarding his eligibility. Jones, whose mother is of Mexican descent, played baskebtall in Mexico over the summer in a tryout for the country's national team. Although he did not make the national team, he was placed on a team in an unsanctioned Mexican summer league and the NCAA is in the process of deciding whether or not penalties will be issued or assesed.
Despite losing just three players from last season's team, there will be many new faces present on the Gaucho bench to start the 2003-04 campaign. Among the newcomers are redshirts Joe See and Glenn Turner. See, a sophomore transfer from Oregon State, will be counted on the provide quality minutes in the backcourt. Although he is just six-foot, See is an exceptional shooter and is deceptively quick on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Turner, a 6-foot-9 freshman from San Jose, could be a presence under the basket for the Gauchos where he has the ability and size to block shots and rebound. Joining the redshirts are newcomers Cameron Goettsche and Chris Devine. Goettsche, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, transfered to UCSB from Salt Lake City College where he played a year after transferring from the University of Utah. The forward will contend for a starting spot on the frontline and will contribute whether as a starter or off the bench. Devine is a true freshman hailing from Eagle River, Alaska. He is a tough and athletic forward who should become a very good all-around player. Finally, UCSB welcomes back Bray Skultety, a senior who was awarded a sixth-year year of eligibility after missing the 2002-03 season due to a knee injury. Skultety emerged as an important part of the frontcourt during UCSB's 2001-02 run to the NCAA Tournament and the Gauchos expect him to contribute again this season.
The Williams File
Bob Williams enters his sixth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year, he guided the Gauchos to an 18-14 overall record and a 14-4 mark in Big West Conference play. The Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first ever regular season championship along with a post season trip to the NIT. In addition, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campain. During the 2001-02 season, Williams led UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. In his five seasons in Santa Barbara, Williams' teams have posted a 80-67 overall record and a 56-28 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 269-167 at four-year schools.