Aki Chambers has picked right back up where he left off a season ago.
The UC Merced men's basketball star once again ranks among the nation's best, averaging 20.4 points per game.
Chambers leads the California Pacific Conference in scoring for the second straight year and ranks 12th in NAIA Division 2. His 449 total points rank him sixth.
Chambers is on virtually the same pace he set last season, where he averaged 20 points per game in 22 contests.
He has nine more points than he did at the same time a year ago, but hasn't shot the 3 as well.
The scary thing for the rest of the Cal Pac is all signs point to Chambers finishing the season stronger than he's started.
The senior has turned in three of his top four scoring performances -- including a career-high 36-point outburst against La Sierra -- in the Golden Bobcats' Past 10 games.
He's averaged 23.4 points per game during the span and is shooting 51 percent from the field.
UC Merced has ridden his hot hand to a 3-1 Cal Pac record and a second-place spot in the standings.
Spring in their step
The spring sports season gets under way at Merced College this week with the softball team traveling to San Mateo for a doubleheader Saturday.
The Blue Devil baseball team -- and new head coach Nate Devine -- will open the season at home Feb. 2 with a two-game series against defending state champion Cosumnes River.
The MC swim teams will begin their pursuit of a sixth straight Bay Valley Conference title in February.
Bobcats giving back
As part of an effort to get his team involved in community service, UC Merced men's basketball coach John Sykes was out with his squad at Stephen Leonard Park on Monday morning.
The Bobcats did their best to brighten up the park by painting a building and a couple of bathrooms.
"It's the first of many little projects we hope to be a part of," Sykes said. "Some of the guys had never painted before and some had, but I think everyone had a good time giving back.
"It's good for the kids to connect with the community like this and it's good for the program."
Sean Lynch can be reached at (209) 385-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org