Sometime in April, a whistle will blow, a ball will be thrown in
the air, and — as two tall bodies leap after it — professional
basketball will once again be played in Santa Barbara. Curt
Pickering announced last week his plans to form a new S.B.-based
team in the 2007 International Basketball League (IBL) season.
Pickering founded the Montecito Basketball Academy and was
director of the short-lived Santa Barbara Islanders — a
Continental Basketball Association (CBA) team that flared up and
fizzled locally in the early 1990s.
Though the team still remains nameless and its home court
undecided — Pickering is in negotiations with Santa Barbara City
College to use the Sports Pavilion as home base — the roster is
already three players deep with more on the way. Former UCSB
standout Adama Ndiaye is signed to return to the local basketball
landscape after two years playing pro ball in Europe. Also locked
in are former USC player Sam Clancy and another Gaucho alum,
Branduinn Fullove. Don Sellers, a 15-year veteran of basketball
coaching and scouting, will leave his position as an assistant
coach for a Utah-based CBA team to be head coach for the new S.B.
The IBL is comprised of 25 teams from across the nation
including California teams in Chico, Fremont, and Oakland.
Essentially a professional minor league to the NBA, the IBL
features two unique rule changes that speed up the game and promote
high scoring. Unlike the NBA, which allows teams six timeouts per
game, IBL teams only get one timeout per quarter. Additionally, the
IBL has an immediate in-bounding rule. In most basketball games,
after someone scores, the referee gets the ball, gives it to a
player positioned out of bounds under the hoop, and that player
passes the ball in. In the IBL, the ref gets the ball after the
score and immediately throws it to the nearest already in-bounds
player. Last year, IBL teams averaged just more than 126 points per