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Friday, November 16 , 2018, 11:54 pm | Fair 50º

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College Basketball

UCSB Men’s Basketball to Open Practice for Public on Sunday

The UCSB men's basketball team will host an open practice on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m in the Thunderdome. Fans will have an opportunity to watch the team prepare for the 2017-18 season as goes through a full practice.

First-year head coach Joe Pasternack will welcome back a host returnees and some key newcomers for the upcoming season, which will open with a Nov. 4 exhibition game at the Thunderdome against Fresno Pacific. Pasternack spent the last six season at the University of Arizona. The native of New Orleand spent the last four seasons as Sean Miller's Associate Head Coach.

Leading the returning players will be senior guard Gabe Vincent who averaged 14.8 points and made a team-high 51 three-point baskets in 2016-17. Vincent, however, missed the last eight games of the season with a knee injury. He is expected to be ready for the limited duty at the beginning of this season.

The Gauchos will return frontcourt players Jalen Canty (10.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 55.1% FG%), Alex Hart (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 18 blocked shots), Ami Lakoju (6.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 61.2% FG%), Jarriesse Blackmon (4.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Maxwell Kupchak (3.1 ppg, 3.2 ppg) and J.D. Slajchert (4.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Hart was one of just three players who played in all 28 games last season. Canty and Lakoju each played in 10 games before missing the final 18 due to academic issues. 

UCSB will also return a trio of sophomore guards. Max Heidegger (7.6 ppg, 17 three-pointers), Clifton Powell (6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 19 three-pointers) and Christian Terrell (2.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 16 steals) each gained valuable experience in their first seasons as collegiate players.

In addition to the returnees, the Gauchos will add a pair of graduate transfers who are expected to immediately contribute in a big way.

Marcus Jackson, a 6-foot-3 combo guard spent four years at Rice University, playing three, before graduating and transferring. Jackson was a three-year starter for the Owls and in his final campaign, 2016-17, he started all 35 games while averaging 12.2 points and 2.3 assists. He also made 71 three-point baskets. He redshirted the 2015-16 season, but as a sopomore in 2014-15, he averaged 14.5 points per game while leading Conference USA in three-point baskets with 85, the most ever by a sophomore at Rice. Jackson, a three-time Academic All-Conference USA honoree, is one of 35 players in school history to score more than 1,000 points.

The second graduate transfer is Leland King, a 6-foot-7 forward who graduated from the University of Nevada. Last season, King played in 30 games for the NCAA-bound Wolf Pack, averaging 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He sat out the 2015-16 season as a redshirt after transferring from Brown University. As a sophomore at Brown, King averaged 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.1% from the field in his 17 games. As a freshman for the Bears, he averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 boards per contest.

One week after its exhibition game against Fresno Pacific, UCSB will open the regular season with a Nov. 11 contest against visiting North Dakota State. The game against NDSU will tip-off at 1:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.

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