Cal men's basketball: Freshmen, depth chart, who starts?

USA TODAY Sports

Will Jabari Bird or Jordan Matthews get to start this season?

How do the new freshmen look for the Bears? Will any of them eventually start? Do you see Monty expanding the rotation? How do you see the depth chart looking?

Nick Kranz: Let's start with the obvious: Jabari Bird and Jordan Matthews are too good to not play significant minutes. Significant might mean 10 minutes/game, and it might mean 25/game. Either way, we'll see both on the court all season.

The think the big question is how Monty deals with the lineup when either Richard Solomon or David Kravish (or heaven forbid both!) aren't on the court. Your options are:

1. Four guards (out of at least six guards deserving of playing time) and one big.

2. Three guards, with the possibility that either Kameron Rooks or Roger Moute a Bidias can chip in 10-15 minutes as the first post player off the bench. Both got playing time against Humboldt, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything going forward. Both look like players who will have limited roles as freshman for various reasons - the need to get bigger, the need to polish their skills on offense, the need to learn plays and improve defensively. If either are ready to contribute at a Pac-12 backup level that would be huge.

LeonPowe: I see Bird eventually taking Kreklow's spot in the starting five. Cobbs/Wallace/Bird/Kravish/Solomon then with Matthews, Kreklow, Behrens as the regular rotation and Rooks/Moute a Bidas depending on match-ups/injury/foul trouble.

Avinash Kunnath: Like Nick said, Bird and Matthews are the guys who will immediately crack the rotation. They're too versatile offensively to keep them off the floor. Depending on how Monty sees things, one of them should start.

I don't see Ricky Kreklow holding onto his starting spot. Kreklow is a good kid and I like the energy he brings to the floor. But he's shooting 20% from the field since coming to Cal (I know, small sample size, but his shot did not look good in the exhibition), and I don't see Cobbs and Wallace carrying the offense with outside shooting the way Cobbs and Crabbe did last year. Cal will need five offensive weapons on the floor to win basketball games against the best of the Pac. One of the frosh will work their way into the rotation.

Bird fits a small forward spot more than Matthews, so I expect him to get the nod. Matthews should be the first guard off the bench, Singer the first point, Kreklow our energy swing defender, Moute a Bidias to play a little bit, Rooks to give us a bigger version of Robert Thurman, and hopefully Behrens gets healthy enough to provide us with any big man depth. There will hopefully be plenty of experimentation with small ball lineups, since the depth clearly lies in our backcourt. We'll need outside shooting to make it work, so hopefully Cobbs will get some relief in that department.

Starters
PG: Cobbs
SG: Wallace
SF: Bird
PF: Kravish
C: Solomon

Bench
Guards: Singer and Matthews

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