Dec. 28, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
To see the All-Decade women's volleyball team, click here
To see the All-Decade men's water polo team, click here
To see the All-Decade women's soccer team, click here
To see the All-Decade men's soccer team, click here
To see the All-Decade men's volleyball team, click here
To see the All-Decade women's basketball team, click here
The conclusion of the first decade of the new millennium is just days away and to commemorate it, the UC Santa Barbara Athletics Department will take a look back and honor the athletes who have made the biggest impact on their respective teams over the past 10 years.
It has been a decade that saw a national championship, numerous Big West titles, All-Americans, Players of the Year, record-setting performances and far more victories than defeats.
In a retrospective look, the team sports at UCSB will release the All-Decade Teams - compiling the players who helped make those teams successful from 2000-09.
Sure, there are certain criteria for selecting the starting lineups of these teams. To be considered for the All-Decade Team in his or her sport, a student-athlete must have played the majority of their contests in the past 10 years; student-athletes who spent more time at UCSB to accomplish greater things typically will be given the edge over those who either left early or started late, but it won't rule transfer students or those who departed for professional careers out; while the players selected may have won more awards or had better statistics, the All-Decade Teams don't go solely by what happens between the lines or shows up in the box scores - intangibles play a large role; the idea of the All-Decade Team is to make the best starting lineup of the players who competed for UCSB from 2000-09.
The UCSB men's basketball program had great success in the last decade. The team won the school's first Big West Conference Tournament title, two Big West regular season championships, qualified for one NCAA Tournament, two National Invitation Tournaments, had two league Players of the Year, and produced numerous all-league honorees.
UCSBgauchos.com and Bob Williams, who guided the Gauchos for the entire decade, selected the UCSB Men's Basketball All-Decade Team.
Jacoby Atako, 2000-04, Guard
Jacoby Atako started at point guard for four seasons. He never posted great scoring numbers - averaging just at 5.3 points per game for his career - but he led the team in assists and steals three times and was one of the best defensive players over the last decade. In 2001-02, he started all 31 games for a Gaucho team that won the Big West Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In 2002-03, Atako was selected the Big West's Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his career with 382 assists and 129 steals, ranking fifth and fourth on the school's top-10 lists. As a freshman in 2000-01, Atako had 83 assists, the second highest total by a UCSB freshman ever.
"Jacoby was the best perimeter defender that we've had," Williams said. "He was great at initiating the offense, great at handling the ball against pressure, and he had a great assist-to-turnover ratio. He was a very selfless player and that's what made him such an outstanding point guard for us."
Chris Devine, 2003-09, Forward
Chris Devine was part of the Gaucho program for six years, missing the first two due to injuries. When he did begin playing, he was successful from the word go. Devine set a UCSB freshman records for points (355) and he ranked in the top-10 of several other categories. He is one of two players in school history to earn All-Big West honors four consecutive seasons, including First Team All-Big West recognition following his senior season. Devine also finished his career ranked in several statistical top-10s, and he is one of two players to rank among the top five in scoring (third with 1,607 points) and rebounding (fifth with 723 rebounds).
"Chris was a warrior," Williams said. "He was a great defender, a very, very good inside-out scorer and he is the most physical player on this team. He always did whatever we asked him to do and then some. One of the hardest workers we've had in the program."
Branduinn Fullove, 2000-04, Guard/Forward
Branduinn Fullove, like Devine, was a four-time All-Big West choice. As a freshman in 2000-01, he was selected to the league's All-Freshman Team. As a junior in 2002-03, Fullove was named Big West Player of the Year and First Team All-Big West. One of the best all-around players in school history, he is just one of two players to rank in the top-10 in scoring (seventh with 1,411 points) and assists (ninth with 272).
"Branduinn was very productive, crafty, clever, and tough," Williams said. "He wanted the ball in his hands late in games. He was a real match-up problem for other teams guards. He could beat you with a three, a mid-range jumper, at the rim, or from the free throw line."
Alex Harris, 2004-08, Guard
In his final two seasons, Alex Harris was a scoring machine. As a junior in 2006-07, he averaged 21.1 points per game and was named First Team All-Big West. As a senior in 2007-08, despite being keyed on by opposing defenses, Harris averaged 20.2 points per game, and in his final game - a National Invitation Tournament game at Ole Miss - he became the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,696 points. Following the season he was named Big West Player of the Year and First Team All-Big West. He was one of just two Gauchos to earn two First Team All-Big West honors during the past decade. In addition, Harris was named to the league's All-Freshman Team in 2004-05 and he completed his career as the school's all-time leader in free throws (476) and free throw attempts (606).
"Alex was really a prolific scorer," Williams said. "He was absolutely the best at production per shot. He could score so many points and not take a lot of shots because of how often he got fouled. Alex had great knowledge of playing offense and really was a scoring machine."
Mark Hull, 1998-2003
When he completed his career, Mark Hull was UCSB's second all-time scorer. He remains the program's fourth all-time scorer with 1,580 points. He holds school records for three-point baskets (217) and three-point field goal attempts (559). Hull ranks in the top-10 of several other statistical categories and was a three-time All-Big West choice, including two first team honors, but for all of his statistics and accolades, Hull will always be best remembered for his performances in big games. None of his big game performances was bigger than his 2002 NCAA Tournament game against Arizona. Despite being a heavy underdog, the Gauchos lost a close game and Hull's West Regional-record eight three-point baskets were the main reason. He finished that game with 31 points. A year later, in a National Invitation Tournament game at San Diego State, he made six three-pointers. After redshirting his first year at UCSB, Hull was Mr. Consistent, playing in and starting all 119 games during his career.
"Obviously, Mark was a big game-type player," Williams said. "In all of my years at UCSB, he understood the team concept the best. He was also the best leader in my 12 years and, simply, the best winner."
While Atako, Devine, Fullove, Harris, and Hull comprise the Team of the Decade, there were a handful of other players that stood out, including center Adama Ndiaye, forward Ivan Elliott, and guards Cecil Brown and Nick Jones.
"I would feel comfortable with any of those guys on the team," Williams said. "If we had to have a post player it would be Adama, and that would be okay too."