OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - The Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) released the 2016 All-Independent Basketball Teams Thursday. Sophomore forward Sam Gabbard and freshman center Will Crain were selected as First-Team. Senior gurad Jared Ponce was select as Third-Team.
Gabbard, a native of Vacaville, CA, had a strong year for the Slugs leading them in double-doubles with 8. He averaged 11.7 PPG and 7.8 RPG including a season high 25 vs. La Verne on January 29.
"Sam was so consistent for us all season and showed he is a real rock for our program," said Head Coach Ron DuBois. Credit to him for putting in the work, he had one of the best off-seasons I've seen in all my years of coaching. His grit, focus, and talent bode well for a bright future."
Not to be outdone, Crain led the Slugs in scoring and block shots in his first year. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG to go with 1.7 BLK. Even more impressive is Crain's performance as the season went on. The second half of the season Crain averaged 21.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.1 STL, and 2.1 BLK.
"Will got better and better throughout his freshman season. "His energy and passion permeated our team. Will is certainly deserving of this honor and set numerous UCSC records in his 1st season. The sky is the limit for what Will can do here at UCSC and we look forward to his continued development."
Joining Gabbard and Crain on the AD3I All-Independent Team is senior guard Jared Ponce. Ponce, was a leader on the court for the Slugs this year. He finished the season with 12 double-digit games and averaged 9.7 PPG.
"Jared has been instramental in our teams success," said DuBois. "He has been a 3 year captain in our program and led us to back to back recrod breaking seasons. He was always tasked with guarding the oppenents best player regardless of position. He's a great competitor and will leave a lasting legacy at UCSC."
The tremendous play of Gabbard, Crain, and Ponce was able to lead the Slugs to the most NCAA Divsion III wins in program history. While the loss of Ponce will be difficult to overcome, the Slugs have a great frontcourt to build around with Gabbard and Crain.