|Hometown:||Huntington Beach, Calif.|
|High School:||Mater Dei HS|
As Mike Vukovich embarked on his junior season, the expectations for him were varied. There were hopes that he would contribute as a reserve in the frontcourt. He was expected to play a backup role to the starter in the post, Adama Ndiaye. How times change. Vukovich enters his senior season as a returning starter and one of the Gauchos' most important players. He also returns as one of the finest offensive post players in the Big West and with continued improvement on defense and on the boards, he could again be a candidate for all-league honors.
Speaking Of Honors
Following his breakthrough season in 2000-01, Vukovich was named Second Team All-Big West, a far cry from the modest expectations he had entering the year. He averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game. In addition, Vukovich paced UCSB in both field goal percentage at 57.4%, and blocked shots with 36. In fact, his 57.4% mark from the field ranks as the seventh best mark in school history.
Flipping The Switch
Through five games last season, Vukovich was struggling. He was averaging just 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Not only were his averages modest, but he had made just 11-of-30 shots from the field, 37.9%, and 5-of-10 free throws, 50.0%. As if that wasn't enough, he had fouled out of four games, two of them in a total of 35 minutes. Then, somthing happened. The Vukovich that showed up for UCSB's December 6, triple-overtime victory over San Diego State seemed to be a different player. He took only five shots in that game, but he made four, including key ones late in regulation and in the overtimes, finishing with ten points. Vukovich added 13 rebounds and four blocked shots against the Aztecs. He followed that performance with 18 points and seven rebounds in a heartbreaking two-point loss to eventual Elite Eight team USC. The rest was history. In his final 23 games in 2000-01, Vukovich averaged 12.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per, while shooting 60.3% from the field and 69.4% from the free throw line. In addition, he fouled out only three more times.
On February 3, 2001, Vukovich had one of those games that basketball players dream of. Every shot he put up went in. Jumpers, layups, fallaways, dunks, everything went in as UCSB defeated Pacific on the road. Vukovich finished the game with a career-high 27 points, and, amazingly, he was a perfect 12-for-12 from the field. In fact, he barely hit a rim in the game. The 12-for-12 game was not only a UCSB record, but it was also the best NCAA Division I performance in 2001-02. Vukovich's perfecto, coupled with a solid effort in a win at Long Beach State two days earlier, earned him Big West Player of the Week honors.
Doubling His Pleasure
Vukovich was one of three Gauchos to record double-doubles in 2000-01. As a team, UCSB had just five double-doubles and Vukovich was responsible for three of them. His first came in the Gauchos' triple-overtime win over San Diego State when he had ten points and 13 rebounds. His second was in UCSB's harrowing one-point home loss to Long Beach State, when he had 20 points and 11 boards. Finally, Vukovich finished the season with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in an overtime loss to Pacific in the Big West Tournament.
Mike Vukovich Notes
2001-02: After his emergence last season, Mike Vukovich returns as one of UCSB's most important players...One of the finest offensive post players in the Big West, he has a very soft touch around the basket and has developed an outstanding jump hook...If Vukovich should benefit from the return of Adama Ndiaye, particularly on the defensive end of the court...2000-01: After a slow start, Vukovich came on over the final 23 games of the season to earn Second Team All-Big West honors...Was one of three Gauchos to eclipse the 300 point barrier and finished with the second highest total on the team, 311...His 11.1 points per game ranked third on the squad...Vukovich led the Gauchos in rebounding (5.7 per game), field goal percentage (57.4%) and blocked shots (36)...His field goal percentage ranks seventh on UCSB's single-season list...Scored in double-figures 16 times, all in the final 23 games...Had 15 or more points six times and 20 or more three times...Scored a career-high 27 points in a win at Pacific, making all 12 of his field goal attempts in the process...Vukovich had 20 points apiece in home games against Long Beach State and Boise State...Scored 18 points in a narrow home loss to USC...In three games against Pacific, he averaged 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds, while making 75.9% of his shots...Had three double-doubles on the year...Pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds in the Big West Tournament against Pacific...Also had 13 boards against San Diego State and 11 against Long Beach State...Vukovich had five or more rebounds 15 times...His 36 blocked shots were 57.1% of the team's total...Swatted a career-high four shots against San Diego State...Had two or more blocks ten times...Vukovich played 642 minutes in his 28 games after playing a total of 453 in 49 games during his first two seasons...He played 25 or more minutes 14 times, including career-high of 33 against San Diego State and Pacific...Fouled out of seven games, including the first for games on the season...Vukovich was named Big West Player of the Week for the first weekend in February, after leading the Gauchos to road wins at Long Beach State and Pacific...1999-2000: Vukovich played in 26 of UCSB's 28 games as a sophomore...Averaged 3.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 53.6% from the field...Picked-up the pace at the end of the year and over the final seven games he averaged 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 62.5% (15-f-24) over that span...Posted season-high of 13 points twice, once each at San Jose State and vs. Cal Poly...His 13 point, eight rebound and one blocked shot performance in 15 minutes against Cal Poly may have been his best outing of the year...Vukovich made 5-of-7 shots in the Cal Poly game...Also had a career-high nine rebounds in his 13-point performance at San Jose State...The two 13-point performances were his only two double-digit efforts of the year...Had five or more rebounds six times...Finished second on the team with nine blocked shots...Averaged 9.6 minutes per game and played ten or more 12 times...1998-99: Vukovich redshirted the 1998-99 season...1997-98: Averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as a freshman...Played in 23 of 26 games on the season, averaging 8.8 minutes... Scored a season-high eight points against Long Beach State...Added six points three times...Yanked down a season-high six rebounds in games at Long Beach State and against San Francisco State...Had five or more rebounds four times...Started one game on the season (at Long Beach State)...Averaged 16 minutes per game during one four game stretch with two games apiece against Long Beach State and Pacific...High School: Vukovich attended Mater Dei High School, one of the nation's premier high school basketball programs...Averaged 13.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.8 blocked shots, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game...Shot 61.1% from the field and 69.4% from the free throw line...Named All-State by Cal-Hi Sports Magazine, a team consisting of 30 players...Selected All-CIF Southern Section, All-South Coast League, All-Southern California and All-Orange County...Named high honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith's Yearbook...Also named prep All-American by Blue Ribbon Yearbook and Bob Gibbons Sports...Named Best in the West by The Long Beach Press-Telegram...Helped lead Mater Dei to four straight CIF Championships, four straight Southern California Regional Championship games and one California State Championship (1995)...Vukovich averaged 19.7 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.2 blocked shots and 3.0 assists per game in the CIF playoffs...In a playoff game against Mission Viejo HS, he posted a triple-double, going for 15 points, 14 rebounds and a school record ten blocked shots... Scored a career high 28 points against Cajon HS...Set a Mater Dei record with 132 blocked shots on the season...Vukovich was a three-time All-South Coast League selection...Averaged 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game as a junior...Coached by Gary McKnight...Personal: Michael Brandon Vukovich was born March 27, 1979 in Torrance, CA...Nicknamed Vuke... A member of the Honor Roll at Mater Dei...His most memorable moment in sports was being part of a Mater Dei team that won the California State title in 1995 and was ranked number one in the nation by USA Today...Enjoys going to the beach, working out and video games...Roots for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels...Majoring in Law & Society...The son of Scott and Ellen Vukovich.