California Golden Bears
Head Coach: Mike Montgomery
Last Season’s Results: Conf 7-13 (9th), Overall 17-16. Post Season: None.
Backcourt: Unless Montgomery wants to shake things up, Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Marquise Kately will start this year. Randle, Christopher, and Kately averaged over 10 ppg each while providing 52% of the Bears scoring last season.
Similar to last season, Christopher, Kately, and Randle will likely have relatively similar scoring numbers. Though, it looks as if Patrick Christopher will be t the go-to guy and leading scorer for the team.
Kately will be the lone senior starting for the Gold Bears who feature two seniors, and nine juniors. Their experience should not be underestimated even if they have underperformed in past years.
Frontcourt: Jamal Boykin, Jordan Wilkes provide the one-two punch for Cal‘s frontcourt. While Boykin is serviceable, he is not a force underneath. Wilkes only received scrub minutes last year, but with the lack of big men, his role could increase dramatically. The Boykin-Wilkes one-two combo is about as effective as a 5-year-old throwing punches at his dad.
If Wilkes is incapable of performing, or is out performed in the practice, Harper Kamp will take the starting spot.
Bench: D.J. Seeley, Theo Kately, Harper Kamp, Nikola Knezevic
Key Departures: Ryan Anderson turned pro, while DeVon Hardin and Eric Verneisel graduated. The three players are a huge loss for the Golden Bears as the accounted for 46% of the Bears scoring and 52% of the rebounding. That’s a lot of production to make up for.
SG-D.J. Seeley - Seeley has good range and ankle-breaking moves, but he will likely be the sixth man until he can improve his decision making skills. Don’t be surprised if he has a few games where he goes off, and if he can learn to make the smart play he might wind up in the starting lineup by season’s end.
SG-Jorge Gutierrez - He is athletic and quick, but lacks talent and speed on the defensive end. Gutierrez isn’t talented enough to be a star at the D-1 level, but his hustle and energy help him contribute in unmeasured areas.
*Click recruit names with a link for their highlight video.
Strengths: The Bears compile one of the deepest backcourts in the PAC-10 this year. They have a lot of players who have underperformed under the old coach. With Montgomery at the helm, expect a lot of growth. Look for this team to push the tempo and apply a lot of pressure on the perimeter.
Weaknesses: CAL’s losses of Hardin and Verneisel will have a huge impact considering they weren’t able to recruit another big man as a replacement. Jamal Boykin is serviceable at best, but beyond that CAL is in trouble. Montgomery may be forced to experiment with a four-guard lineup due to the lack of post players. Look for teams to exploit CAL’s front court.
Nov 28 @ UNLV
Jan 17 @ Stanford
Jan 24 vs. Oregon
Outlook: The Golden Bears will be hard pressed with the loss of Ryan Anderson, but should still be more competitive thanks to having Montgomery on the sidelines. CAL will need to force the tempo this year to be competitive. Their depth at guard will allow them to force the tempo and be competitive in a lot of games, but will ultimately be undone by their lack of frontcourt players. Since this can be considered a transition year for the Golden Bears, as long as they make strides as a team and improve upon their placement in the conference standings it will be considered a successful season.
Projected Finish: Seventh in the PAC-10. No post-season appearance.