When UCSB men’s basketball coach Bob Williams looks down his bench for a sub in the game against Westmont College tonight, there will be more players clad in long-sleeved shirts and ties than in their sleek new white jerseys.
It isn’t because they can’t bear to see themselves in their new whites but because five Gauchos are on the injured list.
Of those unavailable for action tonight will be junior forward Cameron Goettsche, sophomore forward Glenn Turner, freshman forward Chris Devine, junior guard Cecil Brown and sophomore forward David Kennedy. Brown and Kennedy are the latest additions to the list, with Brown suffering from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee from an injury in practice on Saturday, and Kennedy healing a sore right leg.
“Well, it’s really crucial for us to get healthy. I mean, our eight guys who are healthy now and able to play, it’s vitally crucial for those guys to stay healthy – we can’t afford to have another injury,” Williams said.
Williams has yet to have his entire team healthy for a practice in 2004, and the excessive injuries have forced him to improvise with his lineup. Junior guard Josh Davis will likely have to move down to the power forward position to compensate for a depleted front line, and true freshman Alex Harris will get the start at off-guard in place of Brown.
“We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. We’ve already taken Josh Davis and Derek Rasp and moved them from the wing position to the four spot so we can actually field a team,” Williams said.
Fortunately for the Gauchos, tonight’s game against crosstown rival Westmont is merely an exhibition game, while the nonconference schedule doesn’t start until a week from today with a road game at San Diego State.
“I think it’s better that this is happening now rather than if we were in league right now and we had five players out,” senior forward Casey Cook said. “Obviously, you don’t like injuries to happen, but if it’s going to happen it’s better that it’s now.”
Tipoff is slated for 7 tonight.