May 14, 2003
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Bray Skultety, who missed the entire 2002-03 basketball season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a preseason practice, has been awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, head coach Bob Williams announced Wednesday.
Skultety, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward, was penciled in as the starter at the five spot when the injury occurred. The appeal to the NCAA for the sixth year was made based on the fact that 2002-03 was the second full season that Skultety had missed due to injury. He was unable to play in 1999-2000 because of an eye injury.
"I am very happy for the program, but I am especially happy for Bray," Williams said. "He worked so hard before last season and to have it end the way it did was so unfortunate. Now, he will get the opportunity to see his hard work payoff."
As a junior in 2001-02, Skultety emerged as a key player on a team that won the Big West Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990. He averaged 2.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, and as the season progressed, he became the primary backup at the five spot and arguably the team's best rebounder. Skultety, who did not play organized basketball until he arrived at UCSB, was expected to start on last season's Gaucho team that won the Big West regular season title and was chosen to play in the National Invitation Tournament. In his absence, UCSB used Bryan Whitehead and Casey Cook as its primary post players.
"I am very excited," Skultety said. "I think I've made a lot of improvements in my game and now I will have the chance to showcase them. I also think that this past year, when I couldn't play, I was able to see the game in a different way. I believe I am a smarter basketball player now than I would have been last season."
Skultety's return will give the 2003-04 Gauchos greater frontcourt depth. In addition to Skultety, UCSB will return senior Bryan Whitehead, junior Casey Cook and redshirt freshman Glenn Turner. Also, the Gauchos will add sophomore Cameron Goettsche, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Salt Lake City Community College who originally attended the University of Utah, where he redshirted the 2001-02 season.