#68 California Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

California Golden Bears

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #68
Conference Rank: #8 Pac-12

California Team Page#68 California Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy California Basketball Tickets

It is the end of an era for California after Mike Montgomery announced his retirement after five years with the Golden Bears. He led Cal to an NIT appearance in 2014, where the team beat Utah Valley and Arkansas before falling to SMU in the quarterfinals. The new era begins with Cuonzo Martin taking over the team. He spent the last three seasons at Tennessee and took the team to the Sweet 16 last year. With the changes on the sidelines and the losses on the court, this is a bit of a rebuilding year for Cal.

2013-14 Record: 21-14, 9-7
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Coach Record: 0-0 at California, 124-82 overall

Who’s Out:
Justin Cobbs had another great season for Cal, averaging 15.6 points and 5.8 assists as a senior. Obviously he was a big time scorer, yet that is replaceable. His leadership may not be so easy to replicate. Richard Solomon averaged a double-double during his senior season. On a team that often struggled on the glass, it was Solomon who kept the team above water. Ricky Kreklow is the other departure among the regular rotation. And this team really only went seven deep, so losing three major contributors is pretty big. Kreklow averaged 5.5 points in his only year with the Golden Bears. Jeff Powers averaged 3.2 points per game during his senior season.

Who’s In:
Dwight Tarwater spent four years at Cornell and started all 28 games in 2013-2014, averaging 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. With his experience, the 6-6 forward could step right into a starting spot. At the least, Cal will need him to play some significant minutes at the power forward spot. Kingsley Okoroh and Cole Welle will look to add frontcourt depth. Okoroh is a true center who will likely crack the regular rotation. Cal will not need him to score, so as long as he can use his 7-1 frame to grab rebounds and play tough defense, Okoroh will find minutes. Brandon Chauca is the only newcomer on the perimeter. The point guard should have some time to develop his game.

Who to Watch:
It is very possible that Coach Martin will run a four guard offense at times. With all the talent this team has on the perimeter, it is easy to understand why. Tyrone Wallace is the best all-around scorer on the team and averaged 11.3 points per game in 2013-2014. He is a decent shooter and a great slasher. Wallace can also handle the ball and will see some time running the point. However, the team would be better off if he was off of the ball, concentrating on scoring and playing shutdown defense. Just how much Wallace has to play the point will largely depend on the play of Sam Singer. Singer averaged less than ten minutes per game as a freshman and it remains to be seen if he is ready to run the team. Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird were part-time starters last season and both are capable of much bigger things. Mathews is the team’s most consistent shooter, knocking down 38.2 percent of his 110 attempts a year ago. Bird was the big-time recruit from the 2013 class, but didn’t really live up to those lofty expectations. He still averaged 8.3 points per game though.

Final Projection:
The backcourt should be in great shape, but the bigger concerns are in the paint. David Kravish is a proven playmaker who averaged 11.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. Cal needs to work the offense through Kravish as much as possible to open up room for all of the scorers on the wing. Christian Behrens and Roger Moute a Bidias both have potential, but neither has been all that productive. Coach Martin must find at least a couple players who can play next to, and backup, Kravish. Otherwise, this team will be forced to play small, as opposed to playing small on occasion to take advantage of matchups.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Sam Singer, Sophomore, Guard, 1.4 points per game
Tyrone Wallace, Junior, Guard, 11.3 points per game
Jordan Mathews, Sophomore, Guard, 8.5 points per game
Jabari Bird, Sophomore, Guard, 8.3 points per game
David Kravish, Senior, Forward, 11.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.4 (124th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.1 (147, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (94, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (81, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (225, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.5 (155, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (214, 9)
Rebound Margin: 0.8 (164, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (27, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.2 (22, 1)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#19 Jabari Bird
#51 Tyrone Wallace


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