Nov. 15, 1999
Santa Barbara, Calif.-
Game No. 1
Saturday, November 20, 1999, 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Stanford Cardinal
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game No. 2
Wednesday, November 24, 1999, 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at San Jose State Spartans
at SJSU's Event Center
Game No. 3
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at USF Dons
Sunday, November 28, 1999, 3:30 p.m.
at USF's War Memorial Gymnasium
First Four Games No Walk In The Park
UC Santa Barbara opens its season on Saturday, November 20 at home against powerful ninth-ranked Stanford. Following the game against the Cardinal, the Gauchos will hit the road for three. They travel to the Bay Area for games against San Jose State (November 24) and USF (November 28). UCSB will return to Southern California, but remain on the road for a game at USC (December 1). The Gauchos will not return home until December 4 when they host Westmont.
Williams Returns For Second Season
Bob Williams returns for his second season as head coach of the Gauchos. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 15-13 overall record and an outstanding 12-4 mark in Big West play. After guiding the squad to the league's Western Division Championship, Williams was selected Big West Coach of the Year and National Association of Basketball Coaches District 15 Coach of the Year. Williams will enter the season, his 12th as a head coach, with a career record of 204-113. His teams have won either a league, division or National Championship in five straight seasons.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - Derrick Allen - Returning starter averaged 7.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 6.0 apg in exhibitions.
G - Erick Ashe - Top returning scorer (10.6 ppg) had 23 in final exhibition game.
G - Mark Hull - Redshirt freshman averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in exhibitions.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Top returning shot blocker averaged 9.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg in exhibitions.
F - Juliano Jordani - JC transfer had 16 points and nine rebounds in exhibition finale.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Brandon Payton - Averaged 10.5 ppg and 5.0 apg in exhibition games.
G - LaRon Bryant - JC transfer was 4-for-7 from three-point range in exhibitions.
G - B.J. Ward - Did not play in exhibitions. Still undecided if he will redshirt.
G - Nick Jones - Did not play in exhibitions. Will probably redshirt the 1999-2000 season.
F - Mike Vukovich - Averaged 7.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg in two exhibitions.
F - Ross Carmichael - Transfer from Texas Tech not eligible until end of Fall Quarter.
F - J.J. Todd - Did not play in exhibitions. Will probably redshirt the 1999-2000 season.
Bell And Hare Suspended, Status For Season Remains Uncertain
Senior point guard Larry Bell and freshman forward Eric Hare continue to be suspended indefinitely pending the resolution of their legal troubles. Bell and Hare were arrested on November 10 for alleged telephone calling card fraud. Bell, sidelined until mid-December with a broken bone in his right foot, was UCSB's leader in assists last season at 4.3 per game. He started exactly half of the team's 28 games and was one of its top defensive players. Hare redshirted last season. He came to UCSB from McKinney High School in McKinney, Texas. He was slated to be a reserve forward.
What A Difference A Year Makes
Last season at this time, UCSB was entering the season with a million and one question marks. They brought an eight game losing streak into the 1998-99 campaign and they had a host of unproven players. This year the feeling at the beginning of the season is quite different. The Gauchos ended last season with 15 victories in 20 contests and a Big West Western Division crown. Despite the loss of Bell and Hare, the team remains optimistic. At Big West Media Day three weeks ago, the coaches selected UCSB to finish third in the Western Division and the media pegged them for second place. While that doesn't spell National Championship, it is a far cry from last season when the Gauchos were a unanimous choice to finish sixth in the six team division.
Backcourt Returnees Lead The Way
Even with the loss of Bell, UCSB returns starters Derrick Allen and Erick Ashe in the backcourt. Allen, who played both the point and a wing spot last season, will be permanently entrenched at the point this season. Last season, he averaged 6.7 points, 4.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and a Big West-leading 2.4 steals per game. In fact, Allen's total of 68 steals ranks him second on the school's single-season list. The eight he piled up in a home victory over UC Irvine tied the school single-game record. Ashe is UCSB's top returning scorer at 10.6 points per game. He also averaged 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. In addition, the Gauchos return junior Brandon Payton who came off the bench for most of last season and averaged 9.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.
Ndiaye The Lone Frontcourt Returnee
Junior Adama Ndiaye is the only frontcourt returnee for the Gauchos. While his season was hampered by a "lower abdominal" injury, he played in 23 games averaging 3.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He also led the Gauchos and was among the Big West leaders in blocked shots with 25 (1.1 per game). This year he returns with about 25 more pounds on his 6-foot-9 frame. Additionally, he spent the summer at a pair of big man camps that the coaching staff hopes will pay off. To be successful this season, UCSB needs Ndiaye to make significant strides on the offensive end of the court. Last season the native of Dakar, Senegal shot only 37.3% from the floor and he only averaged 3.1 field goal attempts per game.
The Redshirts Are Coming! The Redshirts Are Coming!
In addition to four returnees from last year's active roster, the Gauchos will welcome three players that redshirted last season. Sophomore Mike Vukovich played as a freshman two years ago. The 6-foot-9 Vukovich averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 1997-98. Junior Ross Carmichael, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Texas Tech, will not become eligible until the end of the Fall Quarter, but he started 12 of 27 games as a sophomore for the Red Raiders and averaged 3.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He should play a key role for the Gauchos. Freshman Mark Hull (Hoover HS in Glendale, CA) will probably step into a starting spot in the Gaucho backcourt and at 6-foot-6, he could become a valuable weapon. As a senior at Hoover HS, Hull averaged 27.9 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.
JC Transfers To Fill The Gaps
The Gaucho coaching staff will also plug in a pair of junior college transfers to fill the gaps left by departed players. Juliano Jordani, a 6-foot-7 forward out of the College of Southern Idaho, is big and tough and an outstanding outside shooter who started both exhibitions at the four spot. His performances in the two exhibitions were a tale of two games. In the first, against Australian professional team Mount Gambier, Jordani struggled with foul trouble and finished scoreless with one rebounds in 14 minutes. Against Kraitene Marijampole, a Lithuanian club team, he was outstanding, scoring 16 points, grabbing nine rebounds and passing off four assists in 26 minutes. In addition, Jordani drilled 4-of-6 shots from three-point range in the second game. Joining Jordani as UCSB's other junior college transfer LaRon Bryant, a long-distance shooting specialist out of American River College in Sacramento. As a sophomore, Bryant was an All-State choice after setting a school record and finishing second in California by making 115 three-point baskets. Perhaps more impressive than the 115 three-pointers was the efficiency in which he made them. Bryant made 49.5% of his threes last year, attempting only 232. In two seasons at American River, he made 207 three-pointers.
UCSB In Openers
Tracing the history of UCSB in season-openers under Bob Williams is a pretty simple task. The Gauchos are 0-1, having opened last season, his first, with a 71-51 loss at Pepperdine. The loss to the Waves snapped a seven game winning streak in season-openers. Dating back further, the Gauchos have recorded ten wins in their last 12 openers. In their history UCSB is 39-20 in season-opening games.
UC Santa Barbara has played Stanford eight previous times and the Cardinal holds a 5-3 advantage. The last time the teams met was in December of 1997 when Stanford easily defeated the Gauchos 95-62 in Palo Alto. The last UCSB victory in the series came during the 1977-78 campaign when the Gauchos won by a score of 77-76. As for San Jose State, the Spartans hold a 51-48 lead on the Gauchos, but UCSB did win the last meeting between the old Big West rivals. Last December, the Gauchos defeated San Jose State by a score of 68-66. The last time UCSB and SJSU met in San Jose was during the 1995-96 season with Gauchos recording an 80-77 victory. As for San Francisco, the Dons lead their all-time series against the Gauchos by a solid 20-6 margin. USF has won the last two games in the series, including a last-second win at the Thunderdome last year, 71-70.
The Gauchos At Home
Last season, UCSB opened the year with a perfect, if not ideal, 0-4 record at the Thunderdome. Things did turnaround however. The Gauchos closed the year by going an imperfect, but much more ideal, 8-2 at home, thus finishing the year with a respectable 8-6 at the Thunderdome.
The Gauchos On The Road
After opening the 1998-99 season with an 0-4 mark in games away from home, UCSB went 6-2 on the road, all in Big West play, the finish with a solid 6-6 road record. The Gauchos won conference road games at Pacific, Utah State, Nevada, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly. The six wins on the road in the Big West is the most by a Gaucho team since the 1987-88 team went 7-2 in league road games.
Gauchos On The Radio
All Gaucho basketball games are broadcast on KEYT 1250-AM in Santa Barbara. Broadcasts can also be accessed on the internet by going to Broadcast.com.