SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Joe Pasternack has struck yet again on the recruiting trail.
He’s entering just his second season at the helm for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, but Pasternack continues to change the culture of the program with each passing day. He has helped turn the Gauchos into a major player on the recruiting trail, and that has been evident this off-season.
Prior to Thursday, the Gauchos added a pair of power conference transfers to their roster, one each for this season and next. Graduate transfer Ar’Mond Davis committed to UC Santa Barbara following his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and will be immediately eligible in 2018-19.
The Gauchos also added guard JaQuori McLaughlin, who joins the program after transferring from the Oregon State Beavers. He will sit out the 2018-19 season, and have two years of eligibility left starting in 2019-20.
This week, Pasternack added another talented player to the mix for the 2019-20 season, adding yet another guard from a power conference program to the mix. Canadian guard Brandon Cyrus committed to the Gauchos, giving the program another talented piece to build around moving forwards.
Cyrus played two seasons in the Big East with the Blue Demons before opting to transfer. The native of Oakville, ON averaged over 26 minutes per game in both years, and figured to be a prominent player for the program in 2018-19.
As a sophomore, Cyrus averaged 7.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He was one of four DePaul players to appear in all 31 games during the 2017-18 campaign. Back in 2016-17, he averaged 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Against the Xavier Musketeers in the regular season finale, Cyrus had arguably his best offensive game as a Blue Demon. In 37 minutes of action, he went for 20 points and five rebounds in DePaul’s three point loss. He was 8-of-14 from the floor overall, and 2-of-4 from three point range.
In Dave Leitao’s tenure as the head coach at DePaul, eight players have transferred from the program, with Cyrus being the eighth.
Cyrus is a player that many thought could stay at the high-major level in the NCAA. The Gauchos proved to be the best fit for the guard, as academics were a big priority for the 6’5” Canadian, and he’ll take his talents to the West Coast where he’ll join a team that’s turning into a Big West Conference powerhouse in year two under Pasternack.
All of a sudden, the roster for the Gauchos in 2019-20 is shaping up to be a talented one, if all goes according to plan. Star guard Max Heidegger would be a senior, former Nevada Wolf Pack guard Devearl Ramsey a junior, and the additions of both Cyrus and McLaughlin add a ton of intrigue to the outlook for UC Santa Barbara.
Time will tell how it all plays out, but Pasternack is building something special out in Santa Barbara.
– T. Bennett