MBK: UCSB announces two prep recruits

UC Santa Barbara has signed a pair of standout high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, head coach Bob Williams announced Thursday.

The Gauchos will add 6-foot-2 combination guard Gabe Vincent of St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Calif., and versatile 6-foot-6 swingman Justin Burks of Las Vegas’ Arbor View High School for the 2014-15 season.

“Both played in high-level AAU programs, are having very successful high school careers and fill a need factor,” Williams said. “Gabe and Justin add the quality of people we are excited about, the quality of the basketball players that help keep us at the top of the Big West and they will replace two quality seniors in Kyle Boswell and Shawn Moore.

Vincent played for the powerful Oakland Soldiers as well as St. Mary’s High School. He is strong, athletic, has a very advanced skill-set, can shoot the three, has a good mid-range jumper and a very balanced game.

“Gabe is the most fundamentally sound freshman recruit that we can remember Coach Williams signing,” said Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Matt Stock. “He’s very mature off the court and has the leadership qualities that every coach wants in their program.”

“I was struck on his visits, official and unofficial, by Gabe’s focus on the game of basketball and the maturity level with which he approaches the game,” Williams said. “Obviously, he’s been well-coached by Ken Green at St. Mary’s and he’s benefitted by playing for the premier AAU program in California. We think he can have a great career as a Gaucho. He has all the tools to be an immediate impact player in the Big West Conference.

As a junior at St. Mary’s, Vincent averaged 21.1 points on 46-percent shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Over the last two seasons he made 106 three-point baskets. He was named All-CIF after leading his team to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 playoffs.

Burks, who played for the Las Vegas Prospects, averaged 21.1 points and 6.7 rebounds while making 54-percent of his field goal attempts. He was the only non-senior to make All-State in Nevada after helping Arbor View to Northwest League championship and the state tournament in 2013. His team, which has four starters returning in 2013-14, should contend for the Nevada state championship.

“Justin is in the mold of some of some of the guys we’ve had who can play the two, three or four,” Williams said. “He can really get up and down the court, is very athletic, can really elevate and is becoming a good three-point shooter.”

The 2013-14 Gauchos are off to a perfect 2-0 start, including a resounding win at UNLV on Tuesday. UCSB will host Utah State on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.

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