After an injury-plagued season in which the UCSB men’s basketball team finished seventh in the Big West conference, the Gauchos welcome three new recruits to a young and promising roster.
As the third-youngest team in the entire nation last season, Santa Barbara loses only one senior in point guard Nate Garth and welcomes back the bulk of its roster in search of returning back to the top of the conference standings.
“The will of our team right now is great,” Assistant Coach Matt Stock said. “The guys are very motivated to come out and have a great year next year. That’s what we want to [do], is get back on the winning way, compete for the conference title and do all the things we feel like we should be doing year in and year out.”
With the graduation of Garth, UCSB will rely on rising junior point guard T.J. Taylor as the primary option in the backcourt to go along with rising sophomore Duke DaRe, who received a large amount of playing time at the end of last season.
Headlining the three new recruits is Zalmico Harmon, a 6’0” point guard coming from Ventura College, where he led the Pirates to the postseason and received First Team All-State honors.
“His maturity, physically and mentally, is definitely something we need on our team,” Stock said. “That gives him a great chance to make an impact.”
Along with Harmon, UCSB’s recruiting class includes another point guard in Eric Childress from Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, CA. Childress was named First Team All-CIF as well as Bay League Player of the Year.
“Eric is a true point guard where he’s a pass-first point guard,” Stock said. “He has great poise and maturity for his age. He’s definitely a guy that will be a huge asset.”
Rounding out the recruiting class for the Gauchos is 6’10” forward Alex Hart from Kelowna, British Columbia in Canada. Hart averaged over 35 points per game in his senior season for Immaculata Catholic Regional High School and was a member of British Columbia’s U-17 team.
“The unique thing about Alex is the fact that he can stretch the floor with his shooting ability,” Stock said. “He can stretch the defense and give Al the chance to pound it inside.”
These three recruits will join a talented roster that includes First Team All-Big West selection in rising junior center Alan Williams, along with the Big West Best Sixth Player of the Year in rising senior guard Kyle Boswell. Rising sophomores in guards John Green and Michael Bryson, as well as forward Taran Brown, are also expected to contribute heavily for another youthful UCSB squad next season.
“I think all three of [the recruits] have a chance to have an impact,” Stock said. “They all bring such different things to the table and definitely address different needs we have on our team.”
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of May 22nd’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.