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College Basketball

UCSB Basketball Signs Pair of Recruits

UC Santa Barbara has signed a pair of standout men’s basketball players to National Letters of Intent, head coach Joe Pasternack announced Thursday.

Wing Roberto Gittens from the College of Southern Idaho and forward Jakov Kukic, a native of Croatia who attends La Lumiere School of La Porte, Ind., signed NLIs to become members of the Gaucho basketball program.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Gittens is currently a sophomore at CSI. Through the early season, he is averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 43.8% from three-point range. He scored a career-high 31 points and made eight three-point baskets in a game against Western Nebraska College. As a freshman at CSI, Gittens averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds per game and made 57-of-143 three-point attempts for a deep and talented team that went 31-6 and advanced to the championship game of the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. 

“Roberto is a young man of the highest caliber,” Pasternack said. “He is a tremendous player and someone I believe can have incredible success here at UC Santa Barbara.”

A native of Tacoma, Wash., Gittens was a 4-star recruit out of Foss High School who originally committed to play at Washington State. As a senior he averaged 22 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while leading the Falcons to the 2A state title. Following the year, he was named the Washington State 2A Player of the Year. As a junior, Gittens averaged 21.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Following his junior season, he was also selected to the all-state team. 

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Kukic was a member of his country’s U18 team that reached the final of the European Championships in Estonia. He also played for Croatia’s U16 team that advanced to the semifinals of the European Championships in Poland. Kukic is a member of the Indiana Elite AAU team and received a three-star recruiting rating from ESPN.

“We are very excited to add Jakov to our basketball family,” Pasternack said. “He’s a tremendous person and will be a great player for us. He is a very versatile player who can score inside and outside 

A pair of current Gaucho players have connections with the program’s new recruits. Like Gittens, current guard Ar’Mond Davis, a graduate transfer from Alabama, attended Foss High School and the College of Southern Idaho. And like Kukic, Brandon Cyrus, a transfer from DePaul who is redshirting the 2018-19 season, attended La Lumiere School. 

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