Cal Men's Basketball 2010-11 Preview: Shooting Guards, Small Forwards

via rise.espn.go.com Cal fans, meet your future star.

For more hoops coverage, see our point guards preview.

Avinash: Here's who we lose.

Here's who's left and who's coming in.

Depending on three freshman in addition to two walk-ons sounds like an enviable situation. I'm sure a lot of our opponents are quaking in their Nikes. In a year.

Crabbe should be pretty good and Murray and Rossi might surprise people, but in all likelihood this should be a serious downgrade from two of Cal's most efficient shooters and scorers in the program's history. Still, I'm plenty excited to see what they'll bring to the table. What does everyone think of what the freshmen are capable of?

LeonPowe:  Well this is all just a bunch of "I don't know." We are, collectively, very excited about Crabbe and intrigued by our other wings, but let's turn the clock back a bit (5 years) when our most heralded recruit was a 6'5" wing out of Compton Dominguez High School with leaping ability and a deadly jump shot. He did turn out to be pretty good, but it took a few years. I'm not saying Crabbe is the next P. Chris - either early on or later, but I think its illustrative to acknowledge there are often adjustment issues to major college basketball. 


On the plus side, he's not a point guard, nor is he a center - so aside from issues of speed of the game and strength of the opposition, shooting guard and small forwards should have the easiest time adjusting.

Capabilities? I think they're going to be able to make both jaw dropping and head scratching plays - I look forward to Monty having his first full recruiting class and being able to work with these talented players for the next 4-5 years, but I think expecting huge numbers from the collective wing position would be . . . overzealous.

Ohio Bear: I have a feeling that we will miss P-Chris even more than we realize. Not to mention Theo Robertson, who was the glue guy to end all glue guys. That said, I'm intrigued by this group of wing players. Crabbe is the marquee guy here -- Gatorade Player of the Year in California is nothing to sneeze at and the video I have seen of him suggests he can be a smooth player taking it to the basket and that he has a nice shooting stroke. Alex Rossi is a freshman I can't wait to see shoot the ball: the reports on him sort of make him seem like an assassin from the outside. I want to see what kind of all around player he is.

There's some up side to these guys, but we'll have to be patient. P-Chris and Theo won't be walking through that door to the floor at Haas Pavilion. But with Monty leading us, I expect to see improvement as the season goes along.

ragnarok: Gotta agree with everything said so far.  There's basically no significant college experience in the group listed, and it's always kind of a crapshoot when you're trying to guess which freshmen are going to adjust to the college game first, and how quickly they will do so.

Now, if Brandon Smith and/or Gary Franklin play well enough to allow him to do so, we will probably see Jorge Gutierrez slide back over the the shooting guard spot.  I would very much doubt that Jorge will exclusively be handling the ball, unless both of those other guys are disasters. But the fact remains, we've got one experienced guard for two spots, and nobody at all with any experience at small forward.

Also, is Jeff Powers immediately eligible?  He was a mid-season transfer from Denver, and I'm not sure how the eligibility works out for that.  IIRC, Jamal Boykin had to sit until the Fall Semester ended after he came over from Duke.

Kodiak: I think "realistic expectations" are the key words when looking at our guys this year.  From PC and Theo to Shipp/Wethers, Carlisle/Kilgore, Randy Duck, Monty Buckley, the common denominator is growing pains.  I simply can't remember too many wing players who come in and succeed right away at the Pac-10 level.  First and foremost, I think we'll see a lot of struggles on defense.  Either missed assignments or simply not being able to handle guys who are stronger/savvier.

Crabbe is intriguing because he's not the type of player that just jumps off the screen with his athleticism.  I like that because I think that guys who are athletes first, players 2nd take longer to make the transition.  From what little I've seen, he can shoot the open three, drive either way, and has a nose for offensive boards and put-backs.  I wouldn't expect him to have a pull-up or mid-range game yet.  He's supposed to be smart and tough, but I expect him to still take his lumps.

Rossi is going to be that guy for us that we always used to hate on Monty's furd teams - The one that you just knew was going to run off a pair of staggered screens, get open, and stick it.  I was surprised by the reports that he was considered his team's best defende in HS.  He doesn't seem to have the body or quicks for that, but maybe he makes up for it with anticipation and being fundamentally sound. 

Murray is a bit of an X-factor.  He's supposed to be really quick with great hops.  Kidd called him the second coming of Jerryd Bayless.  I don't know anything about his game, but suspect that he might be more of a slasher, open-court guy than a shooter at this stage of his career.

Might need to consider Bak Bak more of a wing, too.  I doubt he's gained enough weight to be considered a post player and from little I saw last year, he's more comfortable facing the basket.  He has surprising agility and ball-handling for a guy his size.  It'll be interesting to see if Monty can coax some productive minutes out of him this year.

I know nothing about Jeff Powers.  And while I appreciate Nigel Carter's hard work, I really hope we don't need to count on him.

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