Event: Basketball Travelers Tip-Off
Teams: UC Davis vs. Colorado State; Oregon; Winston-Salem State
Records: Aggies, 0-0; Rams 0-0; Ducks 0-0; Rams 0-0
Where: McArthur Court – Eugene, Ore.
When: Friday at 4:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m.
Radio: KFSG 1690-AM
Who to watch: Last year, the Aggies expected big things out of junior guard and Notre Dame transfer Joe Harden.
He followed through by being named to the All-Big West Conference Second Team and was one of three Aggies to start all 32 games.
With the graduation of Vince Oliver (15.4 ppg), the Acampo, Calif. native will need to increase that level of play this season.
Harden averaged 14.8 points per game last year, good for second on the team and sixth in the Big West Conference.
Did you know? One player led UC Davis in minutes per game, field-goal percentage, steals, blocks and assists. That player? Mark Payne. His 148 assists were tops in the Big West.
Preview: The Aggies are coming off a season in which they went only 13-19 but advanced as far as the Big West Tournament quarterfinals.
Improving on that record means overcoming several obstacles, including the loss of Oliver, who led the Aggies in scoring and received Big West Conference First Team recognition.
UC Davis will need strong play from Harden, Payne and center Dominic Calegari as well as significant contributions from its bench players.
“In order to develop a bench you have to play the bench and have confidence in the bench,” said coach Gary Stewart. “You have to allow them to work through some things. You can’t have a short hook. You have to allow them to play and get acclimated to the contest and define their roles so they’re comfortable with what’s expected of them.”
The Aggies open their season at the Basketball Travelers Tip-Off with three games in as many days, a grueling beginning that Stewart said is important for the team.
“It gives us great experience and identifies how we need to prepare for each game and how quick the turnaround is,” Stewart said.
The first UC Davis home game will take place in the newly renovated Pavilion on Nov. 18 against UC Santa Cruz.
– Richard Procter