UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Coming off of three straight seasons with 21 or more wins, this year's UCSB Gauchos could even be better under Joe Pasternack who is entering his fourth season as head coach.
6'10 junior newcomer Miles Norris is a big reason for the optimism.
He played in the NCAA Tournament with Oregon as a freshman and he was sensational last year at City College of San Francisco where he led the Rams to a perfect 30-0 record before Covid-19 ended the season.
Norris led CCSF with 16 points per game and he shot over 41 percent from three-point distance, making 60 triples.
He also averaged over 6 rebounds and 2 steals per game.
Many feel that Norris will play in the NBA someday.
Last year Ajare Sanni practiced with UCSB but couldn't play after transferring in from Pacific.
But the sophomore is expected to provide instant offense for UCSB as the 6'3 guard had some big games as a freshman for Pacific.
He scored 32 points with seven three-pointers versus Fresno State and he had a 23 point effort against UC Irvine.
The Gauchos also have graduate transfer Destin Barnes who comes to Santa Barbara from Jacksonville University where the 6'7 forward averaged a team-leading 12.1 points per game.
The newcomers will not have to carry a heavy load as UCSB already has plenty of returning talent.
Junior forward Amadou Sow was Second Team All-Big West for a second consecutive season after scoring 14 points with a team-leading 7 rebounds per game in 2019-'20.
Senior guard JaQuori McLaughlin was Big West Honorable Mention scoring over 13 points per game with a team-leading 4.1 assists last year.
Fellow backcourt seniors Devearl Ramsey and Brandon Cyrus along with senior forward Robinson Idehen round out a solid core of returning players.
While UCSB's schedule is not complete yet due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Gauchos will open up the season November 27 with a mini tournament at UCSB featuring Florida Gulf Coast and Florida A&M.
No fans will be allowed in the Thunderdome for at least the start of the season.