California Golden Bears
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #54
Conference Rank: #5 Pac-12
California Team Page
California was the only Pac-12 team to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament last season. Coach Mike Montgomery has the Golden Bears headed in the right direction, as he does with every program, and this is a squad that should be right back in the mix for a trip to the big dance. Justin Cobbs and Allen Crabbe will lead the way. Cobbs had a great season for Cal after transferring from Minnesota. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.0 assists. More impressively, he averaged just two turnovers per game. While Cobbs does some scoring and creating, Crabbe will again be the go-to-scorer. The 6-6 junior can do it all and averaged 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Crabbe is a prolific outside shooter, but he will also use his size to finish in the paint. With those two leading the way, Coach Montgomery has a nice core to build around on the perimeter.
2011-12 Record: 24-10, 13-5
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Montgomery
Coach Record: 88-47 at California, 635-291 overall
The loss of Jorge Gutierrez is a big one however. Along with Crabbe and Cobbs, Gutierrez formed a dynamic and always dangerous backcourt. Gutierrez was the heart and soul of the team and his leadership will be greatly missed. His 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals will be missed a bit as well. Emerson Murray and Alex Rossi opted to transfer after seeing limited playing time last season. That will not have a big effect on the depth of the team. The graduation of Harper Kamp is another cause for slight concern. Kamp was a big bodied center who was the frontcourt’s most consistent scoring threat last season. Like Gutierrez, there are plenty of options to replace his production, but Kamp’s leadership and work rate will be a little tougher gap to fill.
The frontcourt will add some depth with Kahlil Johnson, Kaileb Rodriguez and Geoffrey Frid. Johnson is a good shooter, but needs to bulk up before he can bang around in the paint in the Pac-12. Rodriguez has more size and strength, but he is probably a year or two away from making a large contribution. Frid is an interesting late pickup for Cal. At 7-1 he has a ton of size, but he will need some time to work on his overall game. The backcourt has a couple players who are ready to make an immediate impact, most notably Ricky Kreklow and Tyrone Wallace. Kreklow, a transfer from Missouri, is another big 6-6 wing who can score from everywhere on the floor. Kreklow spent just one relatively unproductive season with the Tigers, but when teamed up with Crabbe on the wing, the Golden Bears will have a big, dynamic backcourt. Wallace is an extremely versatile guard who can play anywhere. For now he will battle for backup point guard minutes and, more likely, provide some depth on the wing when Crabbe or Kreklow need a rest. Walk-on Garrett Galvin is pretty good for a walk-on and will look for some minutes on the wing off of the bench as well.
Who to Watch:
The frontcourt has talent, but they do lack a versatile power forward like Kamp. Yet, David Kravish is ready to step up and build off of his superb freshman campaign. The 6-9 Lee’s Summit, Missouri product went under the national radar during the 2011-2012 campaign, but he started 24 games and averaged 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a freshman. An offseason in the weight room has Cal hoping for big things from Kravish as a sophomore. Richard Solomon will likely join Kravish in the starting lineup. The 6-10, 235 pound junior was ineligible for much of last season, including the NCAA tournament. Solomon is an athletic shot blocker and a versatile scorer who can step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper. He also has a knack for grabbing rebounds and having him around for an entire season will be huge. Robert Thurman and Bak Bak are both experienced seniors who can provide a bulk of the depth in the frontcourt. That will allow the freshmen time to develop and they will likely need that time.
The depth on the perimeter is a little more questionable than that in the frontcourt. Brandon Smith is a fine point guard who saw his minutes sink when Cobbs burst onto the scene. That covers the point guard position, but finding players who can cover for Crabbe and Kreklow will be an issue. Last year the three starting guards all averaged over 32 minutes per game, which allowed Coach Montgomery to play Smith off of the bench and that was about it. If Wallace is prepared to play a dozen minutes a game without a major drop in production compared to Crabbe and Kreklow, California will be able to give their talented wings a little more rest down the stretch of a game and the season. But this is a team that may not have the luxury of giving Crabbe less playing time. They need him on the floor to emerge as the leader in every possible way. If others step up to help fill the leadership void left by Gutierrez and Kamp, this group has more than enough talent to be right back in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Justin Cobbs, Junior, Guard, 12.6 points per game
Allen Crabbe, Junior, Guard, 15.2 points per game
Ricky Kreklow, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
David Kravish, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 points per game
Richard Solomon, Junior, Forward, 5.6 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#85 Tyrone Wallace