With their season set to tip off on Oct. 26 against Division I University of Nevada in an exhibition game, there are plenty of storylines for the Golden Gators headed into 2018-19.
It will be the first full season of head coach status for Vince Inglima, who served as interim head coach for 10 games last season, before being named the program’s newest head coach.
Inglima, the 14th head coach in school history, replaced Paul
Trevor, who signed on with conference foe Stanislaus State last year.
In his first season, he coached the Gators to a 19-11
record and a 14-8 record in conference play, making a CCAA semifinals appearance.
Under his coaching, Brantley Bynum, Warren Jackson and Evan Zeller earned CCAA All-Conference honors last season. Zeller was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.
The Gators will return eight players from the previous season: Michael Diaz, Niquis Garland, Kenny Macklin, Matt Arrivas, Chiefy Ugbaja, Jase Wickliffe, Ryne Williams and Tyler Jackson.
Four of the returnees — Diaz, Ugbaja, Wickliffe and Williams — combined for 56 starts last season for the Gators and will continue to provide continuity for the program.
New to the team this year are transfers Linton Acliese, Jordan Balser, Brian Nebo, Zane Paddon and Jiday Ugbaja. They look to make an immediate impact for the Gators.
However, Acliese will sit the year out due to a foot injury.
The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 18.9 points and 8.5 rebounds during his two seasons at Cabrillo College.
“He is a high level back-to-basket scorer who also has solid perimeter skills,” Inglima said of Acliese in a release last month. “If he takes advantage of this season and learns our system and improves as a player, he has a chance to be an elite player in the CCAA.”
Ugbaja, the transfer from Sacramento State, will join his cousin Chiefy, a returning starter for the Gators. Rounding out the roster are freshmen Jacob Huynh, Idrissa Sow, Jalen Flanagan and Jeff Okeke.
“I am really looking forward to this class of freshmen joining our program,” Inglima said in a release this summer. “These four young men are the future bedrock of our performance on the court, as well as our overall culture. They all embody the core values of our program: effort, attitude and toughness.”
All four freshmen earned All-League honors in their respective high school conferences, including an MVP award for Huynh.
“I’m thrilled to have him [Huynh] as part of our program,” Inglima said. “If he continues to grow as a player, he will be a force in the CCAA someday.”
The Gators will look to improve upon a fifth-place conference standing and hang a championship banner in The Swamp.