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Pasternack Rebuilding UC Santa Barbara Through the Portal After Two Major Losses



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To offset the departures of the program’s two leading scorers in Ajay Mitchell and Yohan Traore, UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack and his staff have secured one of the nation’s top mid-major transfer classes.

While the Gauchos finished with just a 16-15 record last season despite producing the schools first NBA Draft selection since 2012, next season’s roster looks more well rounded and will see UCSB compete atop the Big West.

Among the five offseason acquisitions, Pasternack has secured commitments from two former power-5 recruits, a 2023 NCAA Tournament veteran and two productive mid-major pieces with eligibility to give.

Not to mention, the Gauchos just received a commitment from top-100 prospect Zion Sensley whose father Julian Sensley played at Cal during Pasternack’s tenure as an assistant coach with the Golden Bears.

He’ll join Santa Barbara ahead of the 2024/25 campaign alongside the program’s five transfer addition’s. So, let’s break down all five of these portal newcomers and what role each can play for the Gauchos looking forward to next season.

Stephan Swenson – Stetson

In his senior season at Stetson, Swenson averaged career-highs of 13.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 5.8 APG to help lead the program to its first ever Division I NCAA Tournament Bid. While the season unfortunately culminated in a Round of 64 loss to eventual National Champions UConn, the Brussels, Belgium native impressed with 20 points on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Now, Swenson arrives in Santa Barbara where the graduate transfer is primed to replace the Gauchos second round NBA draft selection in Mitchell. Having shot 41% from the field and a solid 32% from three, it’s clear Swenson fits the role despite being more of an undersized guard at 6-foot-2.

However, it’s in the passing department where Swenson will bring major improvements to the UCSB backcourt after finishing 18th nationally in total assists and 25th in assist rate according to 

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