Members of 'Eater Nation, prepare for your close-up! TV cameras will return to the Bren Events Center during the men's basketball season, and the boisterous student section has moved closer to the court, where it will be more visible to TV audiences — and the opposing team.
Two home games are scheduled for live coverage on Fox Sports Network Prime Ticket during the Big West Conference season: the UCI-UC Riverside game at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, and the homecoming game against Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.
Who will be the stars of the broadcasts? Look for two of last year's All-Big West honorees — sophomore forward Eric Wise and senior guard Michael Hunter.
Former UCI basketball standout Scott Brooks has moved from the court to the sidelines as head coach of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brooks played for the Anteaters from 1985 to 1987 and led the West Coast in scoring during his senior season, averaging 23.8 points per game. He scored 43 points on the Bren Events Center's opening night, Jan. 8, 1987, when UCI defeated Utah State 118-96.
He played 11 seasons in the NBA with seven different teams, advancing to postseason play in six of those seasons. In 1994, he was a member of the NBA-champion Houston Rockets.
Brooks was named interim head coach of the Thunder in November 2008; the job officially became his in April.
Two other former Anteaters also are with the Thunder organization: Brian Keefe (1994-1996) is an assistant coach, and Bob Thornton (1981-1984) is a scout.
The defending national-champion UCI men's volleyball team, led by Coach John Speraw, will take the court for an exhibition match against the University of Winnipeg at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, at the Bren Events Center.
The team opens the regular season against California Baptist at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Bren.
Three All-Americans return in 2010 — juniors Jordan DuFault and Kevin Wynne and sophomore Carson Clark, last season's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Freshman of the Year.
Other volleyball news: In October, UCI hosted the World Challenge and played three pro teams: Drean Bolivar of Argentina, the Korean Air Jumbos, and HvA from Holland. Drean Bolivar captured the title, going 5-0 in the tournament. UCI's Carson Clark led in total points with 93, including a match-high 25 against the Dutch team.
UCI baseball coach Mike Gillespie will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 8, at the ABCA convention in Dallas.
Now in his third season with the Anteaters, Gillespie was named 2009 Big West Conference Coach of the Year after leading UCI to its first league title, a No. 1 national ranking for six weeks and its fourth straight appearance in postseason play.
In his 22 seasons as head coach at USC and UCI, he has compiled 850 victories and guided 17 teams to NCAA postseason participation, including a 1998 College World Series title at USC.