Harris Leads the Way as Five Gauchos are Honored by Big West Conference
March 5, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Junior guard Alex Harris, the Big West Conference's scoring leader, was named First Team All-Big West on Monday and two of his teammates, senior guard Cecil Brown and junior forward Chris Devine, were selected Second Team All-Big West. In addition, guards Justin Joyner and James Powell were chosen to the league's All-Freshman Team.
Harris, who enters this week's league tournament with a scoring average of 21.0 points per game, is the first Gaucho to be selected First Team All-Big West since 2002-03 when Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull were each named. He has had one of the finest seasons in UCSB history. Harris has scored 589 points through 28 games, a figure that not only leads the Big West but also ranks third on the school's all-time list. In addition, his 69 three-point baskets are the fifth-most in school history. Harris has been outstanding from the word go this year. He scored 20 or more points in each of the first seven games of the regular season and he scored 20 or more in each of the final five. Overall, he has scored in double-figures 27 times in 28 games and he has tallied 20 or more 17 times. Harris scored a career-high 35 on Feb. 22 at Cal State Fullerton.
Brown and Devine were also selected Second Team All-Big West in 2005-06. While Brown, who missed the first five games of the regular season, is averaging 9.6 points per game overall, he really picked up steam in Big West games, averaging 11.6 points and 3.4 assists per game. Devine has been steady all season, averaging 14.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and scoring in double-figures 25 times in 28 games.
"This is an outstanding honor for Alex, Cecil and Chris," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "To have three players named to the first or second team is great. All three have had outstanding seasons are absolutely deserving of the recognition."
This marks the first time since the 1970-71 season that UCSB has had three players on the first or second all-league teams. That year, Doug Rex and John Tschogl were selected first team and Ron Allen was second team.
Joyner and Powell have each been a major part of UCSB's outstanding season. Joyner, the starting point guard in 25 of UCSB's 28 games, is averaging 4.8 points per game and leads the team in assists with 81, the third most by a freshman in school history. He also paces the team with 34 steals, the second highest total by a freshman ever. Powell is scoring 8.8 points per game and is third on the team with 62 assists. His 36 three-point baskets are second on the team and the second most ever by a Gaucho freshman. Powell also ranks in the top-10 in several other freshman categories, including scoring, assists and steals.
The duo are the first UCSB players to be named to the All-Freshman Team since Alex Harris was chosen in 2004-05. It also marks the first time two Gauchos have made the squad since 2000-01 when Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones made it.
"I am very excited for both J.J. (Joyner) and James," Williams said. "They each played a huge role for us this season and most of the time they played like veterans. I am proud of both of them."
The Big West coaches named Long Beach State's Aaron Nixon as the Player of the Year, while the 49ers Larry Reynolds was selected as the Coach of the Year. UC Riverside's Henrik Thomsen was chosen Freshman of the Year.
The Gauchos, who receive a bye in the first round of this week's Big West Tournament, will play their first game on Thursday night.