Two former NBA players who played collegiately in Santa Barbara are part of the Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions Class of 2020, SBBCOC founder Curt Pickering announced.
Established in 2014, the Court of Champions recognizes individuals with ties to basketball in the Santa Barbara area.
“Eighty-two members have been recognized for their contributions to the community of Santa Barbara through the game of basketball,” Pickering said.
There are seven members in this year’s class. Four are being honored posthumously. The honorees are:
» George Chelini: A 1949 graduate of Santa Barbara High School, where he played basketball and football, Chelini started working at the Santa Barbara Boys Club in 1956. He spent 37 years with the organization and eventually unified all the clubs in Santa Barbara County. He served as the director for many years.
» Robert McCutheon: A graduate of UC Santa Barbara in 1950, he was a two-time all-conference player for the Gauchos (1948-1949, 1949-1950) and a star center/forward for the professional Santa Maria Golden Dukes. He coached Santa Maria High to a CIF title in 1957 and guided Allan Hancock College to the 1974 State Community College championship.
» Quentin Sims: He was a three-time all-conference player at UCSB (1946-1947, 1947-1948, 1948-1949) and later played professionally with the Santa Maria Golden Dukes.
» Mekia Valentine: She transferred from Wake Forest to UCSB and was a standout player for the Gauchos for two seasons. She led the Gauchos to the Big West Tournament title an NCAA Tournament berth in 2010 and was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. She holds 10 of the 13 top shot-blocking performances in UCSB history. Valentine was drafted by the New York Liberty of the WNBA in 2011. She played professionally overseas before returning to Santa Barbara. She died on March 26, 2020, at age of 32.
The Class of 2020 also includes Richard Anderson, Chris McNealy and Pat Moore.
The 6-foot-10 Anderson had an eight-year career in the NBA after playing four years at UCSB (1978-1982). He was drafted by the San Diego Clippers in 1982 and also played for the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets. He lives on the East Coast.
McNealy came to Santa Barbara from Fresno and played two seasons at Santa Barbara City College and two at San José State. He was drafted by the Kansas City Kings in 1983 but elected to play in Italy with the club Bic Trieste. The 6-7 McNealy returned to the United States, and played in the CBA before being picked up by the New York Knicks. He played one season with the Knicks before returning to Europe. He lives in Italy.
Moore, 92, is the mother of recently retired Westmont College men’s basketball coach John Moore. The spirited Moore was a passionate supporter of her son’s teams and an unforgettable presence at Westmont games.
— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.