Nov. 15, 2002
Senior forward Mark Hull enters his final season at UC Santa Barbara with his most defined role yet. He will play the power forward position. In each of his first three seasons, Hull was expected to play both at the wing and the four spot, but in each of the last two seasons the vast majority of his time was spent manning the latter. Whatever the expectations about Hull's position, one thing is absolute, barring injury he will play and play a lot. In fact, he enters his senior campaign as the only Gaucho player ever to lead the team in minutes played in each of his first three seasons. If Hull can turn the trick as a senior, he would truly become the school's all-time ironman. Additionally, he has played in and started every game since he stepped foot on campus, a total of 87.
As a Law & Society major at UCSB, Hull could someday become a judge. What we do know is that he has heard the term 'your honor' in reference to him at the end of each of his first three seasons. Following the 1999-2000 season, his honor was being selected to the Big West All-Freshman Team. Following the 2000-01 campaign his honor was being chosen Second Team All-Big West, and last year, his honor was First Team All-Big West. Hull joined Carrick DeHart as the only two players in UCSB history to earn honors in each of their first three seasons.
As a basketball player for much of his life, Hull must have dreamt about a game like this. He closes his eyes, drifts off and...There he is, playing in front of a packed house in the NCAA Tournament, the legendary Lute Olson and his Arizona Wildcats on the opposing bench and CBS cameras everywhere. He is running up and down the court, hitting one three-pointer after another, giving his team the lead. He's unstoppable. Then he wakes up. Hull's dreams may not have played out exactly like that, but On March 14, 2002, his reality did. Hull finished UCSB's NCAA Tournament game with a career-high 32 points on 8-of-11 from three-point range and 8-of-8 from the free throw line. In the first half, Hull was a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point territory and the Gauchos went into the locker room leading 35-32. His eight three-point baskets ranked as the fourth most in NCAA Tournament history and the third most in NCAA West Regional history. The Gauchos couldn't hold on for the win, but Hull had a performance he can dream about forever.
Hull's 32-point outburst against Arizona actually equaled his career-high. Hull also scored 32 points in a narrow December victory at Cal State Fullerton. In that one, he hit seven three-point baskets, six in the second half. In fact, Hull scored 29 of his 32 in the second half, scoring 19 straight Gaucho points at one juncture. Coincidentally, Hull's pair of 32-point games came in front of the largest and smallest crowds of year. In the NCAA Tournament at The Pit in Albuquerque, there were 15,626 on hand. At Titan Gym in Fullerton, there were 1,022 in attendance.
In his first season at UCSB, Hull gave a few hints that he was going to be a solid three-point shooting threat. As a freshman, Hull hit 24-of-64 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 37.5%. In his sophomore season the percentage was down a bit at 35.7%, but he made 45. Last year, he made a Big West-leading 78, the second highest total in school history. Hull made at least one in 27 of 31 games last year and two or more 19 times.
In his senior season, Hull will have numerous statistical targets to shoot for. He enters the season with 1,150 points, needing 49 to move into the Gaucho career top-ten. Barring injury, Hull has a chance to move way up on the list. In fact, it is realistic to think that he could move up to the number two spot. With 147 three-point baskets he needs four to move into fourth-place all-time. If Hull could make 50 threes this year, he would become the school's all-time leader.