Nov. 21, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Tonight UC Santa Barbara begins the 2003-04 basketball season with a pre-season contest against the University of Hawaii. Santa Barbara is coming off an exhibition split with a win over the EA Sports All-Stars, and a loss to Ratiopharm Ulm. The Gauchos will be without the services of both Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones tonight, Fullove sidelined with an ankle injury, and Jones out due to suspension. The game is scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m.(Pacific Time) at Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center and will be aired on KTLK 1340-AM.
UC Santa Barbara Probable Starters
Similar to last season, the Gauchos enter tonight's game with somewhat of a makeshift lineup after suffering pre-season injuries and other setbacks. Whereas the post-position was bumped and bruised last year, tonight it is the guard position that lacks the normal depth Santa Barbara characteristically has. Reigning Big West award winners Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones are both absent as UCSB takes the floor tonight against the Rainbows. Fullove suffered an ankle injury last week during the team's last preseason exhibition game and Jones is suspended for most of the pre-season. Despite the depletion at the guard spot, Santa Barbara will still have the 2002-03 Big West Defensive Player of the Year Jacoby Atako at the point. Atako is entering his fourth season as a Gaucho and will open the season as the starting point guard for Santa Barbara for the third year in a row. Starting alongside Atako will be Cecil Brown and Josh Davis. Brown is emerging as a go-to player for Santa Barbara. He is stronger and more confident then he was last year and with Fullove out, Brown will be counted on to contribute on the offensive end of the floor. Davis will be seeing his first action of the season against Hawaii as it was just determined that he will play this year as opposed to red-shirting. Starting on the blocks for UCSB will be sophomore Cameron Goettsche and senior Bryan Whitehead. Goettsche, a transfer from Salt Lake City Community College where he played after leaving Utah, was one of the brightest aspects of Santa Barbara's exhibition games. Goettsche averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the two games and brought the team's athleticism to a new level. Whitehead had a solid first exhibition game for the Gauchos scoring ten points, but went scoreless in the second contest.
Hawaii Probable Starters
Starting in the backcourt for the Rainbows will be seniors Michael Kuebler and Jason Carter. Kuebler, a 6-foot-4 wing, is one of the team's best returning player from last season. In 2002-03 Kuebler was Hawaii's second leading scorer with 12.2 points per game, starting 28-of-31 games. Carter averaged 4.5 points per game last year playing in 26 games. At the forward spots for UH will be 6-foot-8 senior Phil Martin and 6-foot-9 sophomore Julian Sensley. Martin has started all four years at Hawaii and has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 15 games. He was named to the All-WAC first team in the 2003-04 preseason coaches poll. Sensley, a transfer Los Angeles City College, grew up in Hawaii but took his talents to the main 48 states, only to return as one of the top rated junior college players in the country. Starting at the center position for Hawaii will be Paul Jesinskis. Jesinskis is coming off a redshirt season and scored 13 points in the team's only exhibition game.
Scouting the Gauchos
In recent years, most teams could come into games against Santa Barbara knowing that they were going to encounter very good guard play and mediocre post play. The scenario has changed with this year's team. Despite the injury to Fullove and the suspension issued to Jones, UCSB's guard play will still be quite strong. Atako has been leading the team for three years now, consistently improving his assist-to-turnover ratio on offense and playing good enough defense to be recognized by the league. Brown is coming into his own as a scorer and once Davis gets some games under his belt he will fit right in. Backing up the core will be transfer Joe See, a sharpshooter in every sense of the word. See has a chance to be one of the best long-range shooters in the league. Junior Chrismen Oliver is back and has only improved. What is different about the Gauchos this year is the post play. For the first time in a number of years Santa Barbara has depth and athleticism underneath the basket. The most notable new addition is Goettsche. The sophomore is the slashing type, he won't shoot much from outside, but he will run the floor and look for any opportunity to get up above the rim. Whitehead and junior Casey Cook will both be presences down low as well. Both are fundamental and can draw fouls, get to the line, and sometimes make free hrows. Finally, UCSB welcomes back Bray Skultety, after losing him to a knee injury last year, and Glenn Turner, a redshirt last season. Skultety's play is very similar to Goettsche's in that he will not typically take shots from outside, rather, he'll look for opportunities to get to the cut to the basket and he will rebound hard. Turner is 6-foot-9 with tremendously long arms. He has the ability to rebound and block shots and he too plays high above the rim.
Scouting the Rainbows
The Rainbows lost about 50% of their scoring from last year's team in two key starters, Carl English and Mark Campbell. In Campbell, they also lost a true point guard that dished out 192 assists on the season and tallied 51 steals. Despite the losses, Hawaii still has Phil Martin and Michael Kuebler. Kuebler led UH in their preseason exhibition win over BYU-Hawaii with 18 points. Martin has been a constant inside and will almost undoubtedly score in double digits. The transfer of Julian Sensley will help the team too. Sensley was rated as one of the best junior college players in the country last year. Other than these few players, not much is known about Hawaii yet. The Rainbows won their only exhibition game with three players scoring in double figures. They out rebounded their opponent handily and shot better from the free throw line.
Key Match Up
In one exhibition game for Hawaii, it was senior Michael Kuebler who provided the scoring power for the Rainbows. Because of this, tonight's key match up will be Kuebler vs. the lucky Gaucho guard that gets to man him. Most likely this will be Jacoby Atako, the reigning Big West Player of the Year. Atako has made a point throughout his career of shutting down opposing guards, and tonight he will try and do no less.