With only three seniors on the squad, the Gauchos’
upside is unparalleled amongst mid-major schools,
especially considering their success in the conference
that led to their first tournament appearance since 2002.
Senior forward Jon Pastorek, along with senior guards
Justin Joyner and Jordan Weiner, provide the leadership
that could push the Gauchos through the Big West
in a season that so far has been defined by the team’s
inconsistent play.
“[Joyner] brings that fire and energy,” junior guard
James Nunnally said. “He’s probably the most competitive
person I’ve ever met in my life. Jon’s a real good player, a
big man that can shoot, pass and dribble the ball. Weiner’s
the trick-shot man. He really makes it hard for other
teams. He’s smart, really smart.”
Weiner hit a reverse layup at the end of regulation to
send UCSB’s game against Fresno Pacific on Dec. 31 into
overtime, where the Gauchos escaped with a 75-67 win.
Pastorek, a transfer from SDSU, has averaged 4.2 points a
game for the Gauchos this season while hitting five of his
seven three-point attempts. Joyner, who has been playing
with an injured wrist on his shooting hand, hit all three
of his shot attempts and led the team with six assists in
UCSB’s 68-62 upset over UNLV on Dec. 15.
“It’s crazy because he can’t bend his wrist, so he kind
of shotputs it,” junior guard Orlando Johnson said.” He’s
been shooting like that for a little while now, since my
redshirt year. I’m glad to see he’s playing well.”
Joyner hopes to play overseas after he graduates.
“I’m feeling healthier than I have in a while,” he said.
“If I’m able to play well enough to travel the world for free
and get paid to do it, that would be nice to do.”