For hoop fans yearning for more hard court action now that the UCSB men’s basketball team has wrapped up its season, the Santa Barbara Breakers will be playing their season opener tonight at the SBCC Sports Pavilion against the visiting Newport Beach Surf followed by a Saturday night game against the Hollywood Shooting Stars.
“We’re still putting our entire roster together and being faced with some tough decisions, but for the time being we’re moving ahead with an exciting group of players and a lot of new faces,” Breakers President and Head Coach Curt Pickering said.
The Breakers’ exciting group of players will encompass a variety of talent with varying levels of experience from America and overseas, featuring a promising comeback attempt from former Alabama walk-on Jaeson Maravich – son of “Pistol Pete” Maravich – and a much anticipated Breaker debut for AND1 baller Jerry “The Assassin” Dupree that should come within the next few weeks.
The Breaker’s high scoring and up-tempo style of play that has become its trademark in seasons past – including a 2007 season average of over 133 points per game – should have no problem showing up this season with the influx of talent Pickering has brought.
“We have some guys coming from the NBDL [National Basketball Developmental League] trying to work on making it back to the big show,” Pickering said. “I have already signed on former Santa Barbara forward Josh Merrill to play and serve as an assistant coach on the floor and would love to get [UCSB seniors] Ivan Elliot and Alex Harris on board.”
Less travel time may be an extra incentive for the Gaucho seniors to get in uniform, as Pickering’s executive decision to switch his team from the International Basketball League to the West Coast Basketball League in the off season will now have the Breakers pitted against teams from the Southern California region exclusively.
“We will take a game-by-game approach like we did in the IBL last year, but will obviously have to face a lot of new talent,” Pickering said. “Opponents have told us in the past that playing in front of the SBCC Pavilion crowd was like no other minor league basketball experience, so we know the fans will be there to motivate our players.”
Both weekend games kick off at 7:05 p.m., with the Saturday game against a Hollywood Shooting Stars roster that features street ball legend Larry Williams a.k.a. The Bone Crusher.