On the heels of arguably Bob Williams’ best recruiting class since arriving at UCSB 10 years ago, the men’s basketball team has added a second consecutive outstanding class, which includes a highly-prized guard with a familiar name, and a powerful 6-foot-9 power forward.
On Friday, Williams announced the signing of guard Chris Brew, the brother of Will Brew, a UCSB freshman and a member of last year’s recruiting class, and forward Lucas Devenny, to national letters of intent.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Brew is one of the highest-rated recruits in the program’s history. In fact, in its pre-summer 2008 rankings, the Rivals.com scouting service ranked him as the 83rd overall recruit in the nation, and it also rated him as the top recruit in the Big West Conference this year.
A native of Oakland and senior at St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley, Brew participated in the 2008 Reebok All-American Camp. As a junior in 2007-08, he averaged 19.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game. He was St. Mary’s top scorer, and along with his brother Will, paced the team to a 33-2 record and a Northern California championship.
“Chris is dynamic, strong, athletic and has a really charismatic personality,” Williams said. “He is a phenomenal physical presence on the floor, very good with the ball and can get to the rim. He also has what it takes to be a stellar defender. Chris has played against some of the best players in the country in camps and AAU, and he has shown the ability to defend them on-ball. He can also get to the rim against anyone and he will be a major impact player for us.”
Among others, Brew was also recruited by USC and Washington.
Devenny, who stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 240 pounds, attends Piner High School in his native Santa Rosa. In 2007-08, he was named co-MVP of the North Bay League after averaging 20.2 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.1 blocked shots per game. Like Brew, he participated in the 2008 Reebok All-American Camp.
“Lucas is a dynamic rebounder,” Williams said. “He is big, physical, has great hands and quick feet. He is very good down low and is an outstanding post defender, but he is really more of a face-up player. One of the most important things about Lucas is how hard he works and how dedicated he is.”
Devenny has worked on his skill development with Ned Averbuck, who at 6-foot-4 was the starting power forward on the 1960 Cal team that played for the NCAA Championship.
“Despite his size, Averbuck was one of the toughest power forwards around,” Williams said. “He has worked with Lucas and some of that toughness has really transferred over. That also goes to the point that Lucas is extremely coachable and devoted to becoming a player. He will immediately contribute because he is ready, physically and mentally.”
Devenny was also recruited by Cal and St. Mary’s.
In addition, UCSB will add Orlando Johnson, a 6-foot-5 transfer who, as a freshman, led Loyola Marymount in scoring and rebounding in 2007-08. Johnson is sitting out the 2008-09 season as a redshirt and will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with 2009-10.
“Our staff is really excited about the future,” Williams said. “I think we have some great young players at every position. The signing of Chris Brew and Lucas Devenny will give us great depth in the coming years, and that also makes for great practices. I am also happy that we have been able to keep a good Bay Area connection going. The Brews know everybody in the Bay Area and that has really helped.”
There is one other thing that Williams is looking forward to: the battle of the Brew brothers in practices.
“I can see a very good family rivalry ‘brewing’ in our practices,” he joked.
Bill Mahoney is a UCSB assistant director of athletics communications.