A season removed from a 12-10 campaign -- the final in Gordon Johnson's 10 years at the helm -- the Slugs (2-5) haven't been lighting it up so far this season. But the players have bought into their coach's system, understanding that a complete program revamp will take time.
And with a 16-man roster filled with two seniors and 10 underclassmen, no one is expecting to pile up wins just yet.
"We're progressing step by step, asking new things of them offensively and defensively," DuBois said. "We're establishing a new culture of what we want UCSC basketball to be about.
"It's a young group, but we're getting better, taking advantage of each day and hope to get better as the season goes on."
Part of that is setting a standard of being prepared every day.
After graduating from Arizona State in 2001, DuBois has spent much of his young career traveling the country.
He spent a total of seven years at each level in the NCAA and four in the NBA as an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. He's seen a variety of coaching styles and has found that success often stems from how well a team is structured.
"He came in with a lot of organization that wasn't there
before," sophomore forward James Townsend said. "It's permeated into the team."
Practices are now tightly scheduled -- though roughly 90 percent of them are spent on the Slugs' defense. With that, there's a new sense of focus and intensity that was, at times, lacking in prior seasons.
"He's establishing a hard-nosed, defensive-minded program," said junior guard Trent Reeves, who leads the Slugs with 10.7 points per game. "It's a whole new system. ... Once we have a year or two down (with him), we'll be better and win more games."
And that defensive mindset, if done right, can translate to a more productive offense.
"It's more tiring, but it's a lot more fun to play in," said Townsend, who averages 10.2 points per game. "Playing good defense gives us more chances to score -- and everyone wants to score."
The emphasis on defense means DuBois often holds his Slugs to be accountable for their actions on every possession. If a guy makes a mistake, misses his defensive rotation, or isn't going full-bore on each turn down the court, DuBois pulls the player off the floor, talks to him about what went wrong and later gives him a chance to correct the error.
At practice, though, mistakes also involve some wind-sprints.
"He demands a lot. He has high standards," Townsend said. "One mistake and you're running. ... I know it's going to help us in the long run."
So far, it's made the Slugs a much harder-working team. Although that extra effort has yet to translate to wins, Townsend said he's already seen some of the dividends of their newfound work ethic. Last month against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps -- a team that was supposed to blow out UCSC, according to Townsend -- the Slugs played their most complete game of the season so far and beat the Stags, 61-59.
For Townsend, that result was a sign of things to come -- even if it may not happen this season. It's a matter of developing a day-in, day-out consistency that the Slugs are increasingly growing used to.
"We don't measure results," DuBois said. "We want to live up to our core values and execute as well as we can. And then success will take care of itself."