Four former UCSB stars, another from Santa Barbara City College, a Westmont superfan, and a youth sports leader have been selected for induction into the Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions.
They bring the number of inductees to 82. The local basketball hall of fame, which was started in 2014, will not hold a banquet this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Court of Champions founder Curt Pickering said.
The former Gauchos selected are Mekia Valentine, Richard Anderson, Robert McCutcheon and Quentin Sims. Also named for induction are Chris McNealy, George Chelini and Pat Moore.
Valentine, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Wake Forest, passed away last March at age 32. She averaged 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a junior in 2009-10 to lead the UCSB women’s basketball team to a 19-12 record and a WNIT berth. She set a school record by blocking 4.0 shots per game — third-most in the nation — and was voted to both the All-Big West Conference Second Team and Big West All-Tournament team.
She also made second-team all-league as a senior while averaging a double-double of 11.1 points and 11.2 rebounds with 3.7 blocks. Her 347 rebounds that season set a school record which was broken this year by Gaucho freshman Ila Lane with an average of 13.0 per game.
Valentine still holds UCSB records for career rebound average (10.5 per game), blocks in a game (11), blocks in a season (120), and field-goal percentage in both a season (.620) and a career (.595).
The New York Liberty selected her in the third round of the 2011 WNBA Draft – the first Gaucho chosen since the Minnesota Lynx picked Kristen Mann in the first round in 2005. She opted to go overseas, however, and spent the next four years playing professional basketball in Israel, Poland, Romania and Germany.
Anderson, a second-round pick of the then-San Diego Clippers in the 1982 NBA Draft, led UCSB in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots for three straight years. He ranks in the Gauchos’ all-time top-10 in several categories and is 16th on their career scoring list with 1,247 points. He played in the NBA until 1990, which included stints in Denver, Houston, Portland and Charlotte as well as San Diego.
McCutcheon and Sims both played for the Santa Maria Golden Dukes, a member of the National Industrial Basketball League which was a rival of the NBA during the 1950s. Sims was the Golden Duke’s most valuable player in both 1953 and 1955.
They were Gaucho teammates in the late 1940s, both earning multiple all-conference honors before graduating in 1949.
McNealy, who played at SBCC in the 1979-80 season, continued on to San Jose State before playing three NBA seasons for the New York Knicks. He also played overseas in Italy and Spain.
Chelini, a 1949 graduate of Santa Barbara High, was credited with developing many of the area’s greatest basketball players, as well as citizens, while serving as director of the Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Clubs. He spent 37 years in the organization, unifying all the clubs of Santa Barbara County and becoming their overall director. He passed away on June 17, just one day short of his 89th birthday.
Moore, 92, has been Westmont’s most ardent basketball fan since her sons, John and Michael, began playing for the local college in the mid-1970s. John stepped down as the Warriors’ head coach last spring, setting the school record with 558 victories in 27 seasons.