Artis was getting a lot of pub recently, especially here on CGB, and appeared to be getting some school's last ditch efforts to scoop him up, as he was hinting he was close to a decision after narrowing his choice of school down to Cal, UCLA, Florida St., and Oregon.
Artis could have probably played right away at Cal, maybe even start depending on whether Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs proves to be legitimate starting point guard. He may still play right away at UCLA, and its hard not to blame him for signing on to play basketball in Southern California at a basketball school that recently made the Final Four.
This is disappointing news to Cal, though, particularly because this and next year's recruiting class are crucial to the Bears present and future. Monty's 2011 class, which needed to be strong, has been weak. He's got one recruit committed for 2012 that is mid-major prospect.
Next year Cal will have Crabbe and Solomon and ... not a whole lot. Ben Braun recruited some top talent, he just couldn't keep all of them or do much with it. Monty, who at Stanford was able to get some top-flight recruits, has not been able to do so at Cal.
He took Braun's team to a Pac-10 championship. Last year's class looked to be solid, and though Crabbe will be All-Pac 10 this year and so will Jorge Gutierrez, he lost Gary Franklin for what seemed to be an egregious lack of communication and understanding. Aside from the fact that Franklin didn't play well, Franklin had said he came to Cal to play point guard, when Monty and his staff said that he played mostly shooting guard in high school. This just can't happen.
The point is Cal doesn't look primed to compete in the Pac-10 after this year, when Jorge and Kamp graduate, leaving Crabbe, Solomon and perhaps the diamond-in-the-rough Justin Cobbs and absolutely no depth to go with them. Bak Bak is not a player; neither is Emerson Murray or Jeff Powers or Robert Thurman.
Monty is a great coach, that much is certain. But his success at Stanford didn't just rely on his smarts; it relied heavily on the talent he brought in—the not so athletic type, but the skilled, fundamentally sound type player (e.g. Casey Jacobson).
Recruiting is tough. Sometimes the kid just would rather go somewhere else. That's life. I'm just saying it is going to keep Cal in the bottom half of the conference if Monty can't start getting talented kids to come to Cal.