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Former area hoop stars shine in college ranks

Weston Ranch grad averaged 31.5 points in two games

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POSTED December 7, 2010 1:39 a.m.
Three basketball standouts from the area were selected players of the week by their respective conferences Monday.

James Nunnally, a 2008 graduate of Weston Ranch High, is in the middle of a breakthrough junior season at UC Santa Barbara, as he topped his career-high for scoring twice last week to earn the recognition from the Big West.

San Jose State fifth-year senior Justin Graham (Ripon High, 2006) was named the Western Athletic Conference’s top men’s basketball player for the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5, while William Jessup University sophomore Ashley Rose (East Union, 2009) earned the California Pacific Conference honor for the second time this year.

Both Nunnally and Graham were twice tabbed the Bulletin’s All-Area Boys Basketball MVP, and Rose was selected girls MVP her senior year.
Nunnally did his damage in winning efforts for the Gauchos (4-3). Against Loyola Marymount, a 77-67 victim of UCSB’s, last Wednesday, Nunnally blew up for 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting (including 4-of-5 from 3-point range), six rebounds and four assists.

That was just a warm-up for Saturday’s contest, an 80-69 win at Santa Clara.

The 6-foot-7 guard torched the Broncos for 34 points (8-of-11 from the field, 4-of-6 on 3-pointers), five rebounds, three steals and two assists. His eye-popping performance was what UCSB needed to get over the hump with teammate Orlando Johnson — the Big West’s 2009-10 Player of the Year — handcuffed by foul trouble.

Nunnally’s two-game averages are: 31.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals. Even more impressive was his scoring efficiency — 76 percent from the field (19-of-25), 72.7 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-11) and 89.5 percent (17-of-19).

His season averages of 21.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game top all UCSB players, and he is first in scoring in the Big West and 14th nationally.

The Gauchos will get a chance to prove themselves against two of the country’s top mid-major programs when they face No. 19-ranked UNLV on Dec. 15 and No. 15 San Diego State on Dec. 18. Both games are on the road.

Graham also broke the 20-point barrier in back-to-back road games. The 6-4 point guard pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds while scoring 20 points to go with five assists and three steals in a 72-63 loss to University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) on Nov. 30.

Then at UC Irvine Saturday, he produced 21 points, six steals five assists and four steals in another sterling all-around outing. The Spartans won handily, 85-70, to improve to 5-2.

Graham is San Jose State’s second-leading scorer at 15 points per game. His 26 assists (3.7 per game), 15 steals and 3-point shooting percentage (24-of-30, 65 percent) are team highs.

Rose has been one of few bright spots for William Jessup University — a small NAIA school out of Rocklin.

The still-winless Warriors (0-10) were blown out 99-56 by Westminster College and struggled again in an 82-68 loss to Montana State University — Northern during the Griffin Invitational at Salt Lake City Friday and Saturday.

Rose averaged 20 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals. She paces William Jessup in scoring (14.6 ppg), free-throw shooting (47-of-54, 87 percent), 3-pointers (19-of-55) and rebounds (4.3) while also averaging 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals on the season.
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