SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the second consecutive year, the UC Santa Barbara men's basketball program has signed an outstanding class of recruits. This time, the program has inked four standout high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, head coach Bob Williams announced Friday. Combined with the current class of five outstanding freshmen, the Gauchos future seems bright.
The two-time defending Big West Conference champion Gauchos' recruiting class includes: Sam Beeler, a 6-foot-10 forward from Poway High School in Poway, Calif.; Mitch Brewe, a 6-foot-8 forward from Seattle Prep High School in Seattle; Michael Bryson a 6-foot-4 wing from Foothill High School in Sacramento; and Dalante Dunklin, a 6-foot guard from Francis Parker High School in San Diego.
"As a staff, I think we've done another great job," Williams said. "For the second straight year, we've signed four players who all have a chance to have outstanding careers at UCSB and keep us playing at a very high level."
Here is a look at UCSB's four signees:
Sam Beeler – F, 6-10, 210, Poway, Calif. (Poway HS)
Beeler is a very skilled forward who has great length, very good feet, jumps well and runs the floor effortlessly. His shooting range stretches to 15-feet and he has outstanding hands. He is rated seventh among post-forwards in California by NetWorxBasketball.com. As a junior at Poway High School, Beeler averaged 15.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game. He was named First Team All-Palomar League and to the San Diego Union-Tribune Academic All-County Team. In his AAU experience, Beeler played for Gamepoint Basketball. His high school coach is Aaron Little.
"Sam is very long and a good athlete," Williams said. "He is a late bloomer and does certain things at the collegiate level already; blocks shots, runs the floor and catches the ball. Sam needs to get stronger, but he has as much upside as anyone in this recruiting class."
Mitch Brewe – F, 6-8, 230, Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Prep HS)
Brewe is a big, strong post player who can also face-up and shoot. As a junior at Seattle Prep, he led the Panthers to the State 3A Tournament, averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds per game. Following the year, he was named to the Associated Press All-State Team and the Seattle Times' Star Times Team. Brewe was also selected All-3A Metro League. He is ranked among the top-10 at his position on the West Coast by NetWorxBasketball.com and as a senior, he stands to become his school's all-time leader in points and rebounds. As a sophomore, he averaged 16.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. His AAU team was Friends of Hoop. His high school coach is Mike Kelly.
"Mitch is a big, strong and physical presence inside," Williams said. "He can shoot the ball from 15-feet in and is a very good rebounder and defender. Physically, he will be ready to play and, along with Al (Alan Williams) will help us make-up for the loss of Jaimé (Serna) and Greg (Somogyi)."
Michael Bryson – G, 6-4, 190, Sacramento, Calif. (Foothill HS)
Bryson is a long, athletic player who can take the ball to the basket or shoot the three-pointer. He has great shooting range and averaged 14.4 points and 3.5 assists per game as a junior at Foothill High School. Bryson made 46 three-point baskets and was named First Team All-Pioneer Valley League. He is ranked No. 17 on the NorCal Preps top-40 list. Before choosing to play basketball exclusively, Bryson also played football and ran cross country at Foothill. At the AAU level, he played for Play Hard, Play Smart. High school coach is Drew Hibbs.
"Michael is in the mold of some of the highly skilled, big guards we have had; Cecil (Brown), Branduinn Fullove, Alex Harris, O.J. (Orlando Johnson) and James (Nunnally)," Williams said. "He's 6-4 or 6-5, can bounce it, is tough and can rebound. He is also a very deep three-point shooter and just a great scorer."
Dalante Dunklin – G, 6-0, 165, San Diego, Calif. (Francis Parker HS)
Dunklin is very strong and athletic and has great lateral quickness. He plays with a great deal of energy and has a high basketball IQ. He is ranked 22nd on the Cali High Sports Top-30 List and No. 40 among point guards nationally by ESPN.com. Averaged 11.9 points and 5.8 assists per game as a junior at Francis Parker HS and was named All-Coastal League as well as to the all-defensive team. Dunklin's AAU Team was Dream Vision. Coached in high school by Jim Tomey.
"He's a stud," Williams said. "Like T.J. (Taylor), as soon as I went into his home on a recruiting visit, I was sold on him. Dalante is a great young man. He's close to his family and is a joy to coach. He is a very heady player and can play the point or the off. He has done nothing but win during his career. He is also a great defender who doesn't back down on that end. He's the type of player a successful program needs."
Along with UCSB's five-player recruiting class from last year, the new foursome will give the Gauchos an outstanding foundation for the next few years.
"This is another top recruiting year for us," Williams said. "We had to put outstanding back-to-back recruiting classes together to replace some great players and we've done that."
UCSB could enter the 2012-13 season with 10 freshmen and sophomores on a roster of 13 players. Last year's early signing period saw the Gauchos sign forwards Alan Williams (North HS/Phoenix, Ariz.) and Taran Brown (Campbell County HS/Gillette, Wyo.) and guards John Green (Westwind (Ariz.) Prep/Oakland, Calif.) and T.J. Taylor (Oakland HS/Oakland, Calif.). In addition, the program added forward Lewis Thomas (Australian Institute of Sports/Perth, Australia), who is also a scholarship player after initially arriving as a non-scholarship athlete.
"We should be young, but very talented," Williams said. "We have addressed our needs and were very fortunate to get two bigs that we are excited about. Overall, I am extremely pleased with where we are after our last two recruiting classes."