Gaucho Hoops (GH): Thanks for taking the interview, Coach. Can we talk about the three incoming signees? Let's start with Zalmico Harmon.
Coach Bob Williams (BW): Zalmico's work ethic is unbelievable. He'll fit right in with current "Benny's" on the team like John Green. Other "Benny's" [Benny = basketball nut--a grinder] include (Michael) Bryson, (Kyle) Boswell, Big Al (Williams), Sam (Beeler), Taran (Brown)...
Zalmico has a long history of a high work ethic throughout high school and at Venture College. He works out and is in the gym 6 hours a day. I talked with Ventura College Athletics Director [Will Cowen?], and he said when he opens up the gym, Zalmico is there at 6 am performing ball-handling drills and taking extra shots.
Then, he's off to a weight-lifting session, before running more shooting drills, this time in game-type simulations. In the afternoon, it's regular practice. At night, he will come in for extra shooting.
Zalmico has the skill set we look for in a point guard. The biggest thing with him is HE WILL DO WHATEVER HE NEEDS TO DO TO WIN [emphasis Bob's]. He can defend, rebound, pass, score off the dribble, or shoot from the perimeter. He affects the game in a wide variety of ways. He has the mindset to be a defensive stopper, and exudes confidence, which is a much-needed piece for our team.
Much like [former Gaucho] Derrick Allen, he is charismatic and physical, although Zalmico had more success at the junior college level. The big thing with Zalmico is he has a confidence that teammates notice.
At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Zalmico is solid and strong enough to guard either guard position. After his verbal commitment to UCSB, Zalmico attended about five home games, and observed that UCSB needed some toughness on the perimeter. He is a student of the game, and will bring that toughness to the team next season.
I also talked with the Ventura Dean of Athletics [Tim Harrison?] and the consensus is Zalmico is a tough kid with leadership qualities. Coach Joey Ramirez is an up-and-coming coach, a great coach who is demanding, tough, and charismatic. He gets his teams to execute.
GH: Let's talk about Alex Hart.
BW: First off, Alex is long. He is also surprisingly a good athlete. He has a very good skill set; he can bounce it, pass it, but most of all, his shooting stroke is unbelievably good for a 6'10" player. He's only 17, and won't turn 18 until December. If he were in the US, he'd still be a senior in high school. You can imagine his improvement will be significant these next few months. Will he redshirt? We hope so. He needs to improve his strength and increase his muscle mass. He will need to adjust to the speed and physicality of the game [at the Div. 1 level].
GH: His high school coach Dino Gini told Gaucho Hoops that several schools were after him. He said he consulted with other coaches, some of whom were former Gaucho players or coaches, and every time UCSB was brought up, the responses were universally positive, and that played a role in his decision to attend UCSB. Sounds like Alex is a good get.
BW: Yes, he did receive several offers and we look forward to helping him develop at UCSB.
GH: Let's talk about Eric Childress.
BW: Eric is very skilled, and very fundamentally sound. He's very competitive, a good defender, and a really good passer. He can also drive the lane. He was highly recommended by some AAU coaches, and there were some comparisons made to Casper Ware [former Long Beach State and Big West Player of the Year]. At this point, the one thing he lacks is vocal leadership, but that's something he will work on.
GH: Word has it that most of the players will take Summer Session A off, and return to campus for Summer Session B.
BW: Yes, they return in August.
GH: Good, we can revisit the roster later this summer. Thanks for the interview, Coach.