Gauchos’ Rillie ranked among college basketball’s top assistants
UCSB’s John Rillie has been rated among the top assistant coaches in college basketball by Stadium Basketball Insider.
SBI’s Jeff Goodman ranked Rillie second among all assistant coaches in the Big West Conference in a survey released this week.
“I polled at least 20 coaches — primarily assistants — and asked for them to name the top assistant coaches in their respective league,” Goodman wrote.
Joe Pasternack brought Rillie onto his staff at UCSB after being hired as head coach before the 2017-18 season. He promoted him to associate head coach the following year. The Gauchos have posted a win-loss record of 66-29 during those three seasons.
“Coach Rillie is one of the best assistants that I’ve ever worked with,” Pasternack said. “He has a team ego which is very, very hard to find. He’s all about the team and not about himself. He is really the total package when it comes to skill development and recruiting.
“He’s incredible at building relationships and, to me, that’s a very essential part of being a coach. He does it in recruiting, with the players’ parents and their families, and in any kind of environment. And he does it with our own players, who are the most important people in your program, as well as with boosters and administrators.”
Rillie, a native of Australia, played at Gonzaga for three seasons (1992-95) and was the leading scorer of the Bulldogs’ first NCAA Tournament team in 1995. He also played professionally overseas for 16 years as well as for Australia’s Olympic team at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
He came to UCSB after spending seven years on the coaching staff at Boise State. He helped the Broncos advance to four post-season tournaments which included their first-two NCAA Tournaments in 2013 and 2015.
Goodman quoted a rival Big West assistant coach as saying, “Rillie is the perfect combination of humble, hard-working, experienced as both a player and coach, smart, well-connected and competitive.”
SBI ranked UC Irvine’s Ryan Badrtalei as the top assistant in the Big West. Also making the league’s top-five list of assistant coaches were UC Davis’ Kevin Nosek and Jono Metzger-Jones, and Hawaii’s Chris Gerlufsen.
Metzger-Jones served as an assistant coach at UCSB for four seasons, helping the Gauchos advance to the NCAA Tournament in both 2010 and 2011.
“Jono has a good basketball mind and feel for the game,” UC Davis head coach Jim Les said. “He builds solid relationships with our players on and off the floor. Loves to out-shoot our players in post-practice shooting games.”
One of the Big West assistant coaches polled by Goodman described Metzger-Jones as “a players’ coach.”
“(He’s) an extremely connected recruiter, smart and has a very good basketball mind,” the Big West assistant said. “His personality makes him adaptable in any environment both on the court and in recruiting.”
MELGOZA BOUND FOR ITALY
Former Santa Barbara High girls basketball star Amber Melgoza has signed a professional contract to play in Italy for Polisportiva Battipagliese, the team announced this week.
“I’m about to start a new chapter in my life,” she said in a statement released by the club. “I’ve always dreamed of playing basketball professionally since I was a kid.”
Melgoza, a three-time All-Pac-12 selection for the University of Washington, ranks as Santa Barbara High’s all-time leading scorer in girls basketball. She is one of only four players in CIF-Southern Section history to score more than 1,000 points in a season, averaging 33.5 per game as a junior.
As a sophomore, she led the Dons to the 2014 CIF-SS 3AA championship and a CIF State runner-up finish. She averaged 26.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a senior in 2016.
Melgoza averaged 17.2 points per game at Washington this season to finish as the school’s No. 8 all-time leading scorer with 1,717 points. She made the All-Pac-12 team in 2018 and 2020 and received honorable mention in 2019.
CLIPPERS PROMOTE CROSBY
Former Westmont College runner Noelle Crosby has been promoted to the position of inside sales executive for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.
Crosby has worked for the Clippers ever since she graduated from Westmont in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business.
“My primary job is to sell new business,” Crosby said. “However, I also manage a portion of our premium season ticket holders. Going to every game is part of my job description, but I always think of it as me getting to go to games.
“There is never a time I walk into Staples Center and not think that what I do is the coolest.”
She ran for both the cross country and track teams at Westmont. She won a Golden State Athletic Conference championship as part of the Warriors’ 4×800 relay team in 2015. She twice won All-GSAC honors in that event and was part of the program’s first two conference championship teams in 2015 and 2017.
BIG WEST HIRES CFO
Ben Jay, the former director of athletics at the University of Hawaii, has been hired by the Big West Conference to be its chief financial officer, new league commissioner Dan Butterly announced.
Jay most recently served as the executive director of the California Youth Soccer Association. He also served as director of athletics at Academy of Art University as well as at Hawaii.
His duties with the Big West will include sport administrative responsibilities in men’s soccer and baseball.