We'll get back to football next week, but the big news this week is on the basketball side. Let's look at the future of Golden Bear basketball for a bit, shall we? At first glance, it seems Monty has done his best to replenish the huge losses we'll be suffering this upcoming offseason, finding a point guard, two wings and a big to replace the four starters who will be departing us after the current season wraps up. It culminates with the 17th best recruiting class for next season, according to Scout.
Here's a brief profile of each Golden Bear, going one-by-one.
Allen Crabbe, 6-4 wing, Price HS, Los Angeles
Allen is probably the best of the bunch, although not by much, attesting to the depth and strength of this class. Crabbe was ranked #4 in the pretty solid "Best in the West" rankings (they ranked Christopher 8th a few years back).
Why he is rated this high: Crabbe's main offensive tool has always been his jump shot, which he releases quickly, either off the pass or dribble. The most notable improvement in his game over the past year has been in becoming a more complete scorer via the ability to penetrate off the dribble, get into the lane and power thru contact to finish at the rim.
After the jump, more on Crabbe, the rest of the recruits, plus quick bites on our women's hoops and volleyball classes!
Crabbe will be the first to tell you his weaknesses before his strengths, and his ability to handle the ball more fluidly is topic number one. However, he's better at it than he gives himself credit. He's already a legit Pac-10 scorer, and he's a full year away from even donning the Blue and Gold. We feel he could get even more active on the offensive glass, and there will be times where he needs to pick it up defensively. But beyond that, it would be more difficult to find a shooter who squares himself up better than "AC".
Crabbe's coach has also liked what he's seen in his development from scorer to better all-around player.
"He’s a prolific shooter," Lynch said. "I’ve been doing this 13 years, and he’s got to be one of the best shooters in the state."
The difference, according to Lynch, is that Crabbe has expanded his game, taking the ball more aggressively to the basket and crashing the boards. He had 17 rebounds in one game.
"At one point he was just a shooter," Lynch said. "For people who saw him in summer AAU ball, he’s not even the same player. It’s like night and day."
Can't find any tape on Crabbe other than a dunk somewhere, but here's a pretty nice interview with Crabbe from Rivals (wmv file). Seems like a really humble and willing kid.
Alex Rossi, 6-5 wing, New Trier HS, Winnetka, Ill.
That's Rossi with the layup at the end. Blowing by people on varsity. As a freshman.
Monty seems very high on him, especially since he's recruited someone from the same school before when he was at the Farm.
"Alex Rossi is one of the best shooters in the country out of Chicago and New Trier High School, where I had one of my favorite players, Matt Lottich, who played for me for four years," Montgomery said. "We're really excited about Alex because he can shoot the ball. Shooting the ball is a commodity that you can't teach. He's one of the quickest shooters and he understands the game, so that will really help us, given what we're losing."
"Alex Rossi is one of the best shooters in the country out of Chicago and New Trier High School, where I had one of my favorite players, Matt Lottich, who played for me for four years," Montgomery said.
"We're really excited about Alex because he can shoot the ball. Shooting the ball is a commodity that you can't teach. He's one of the quickest shooters and he understands the game, so that will really help us, given what we're losing."
Rossi seemed perfectly comfortable with the decision to attend Cal, says Farudo.
"I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it," Rossi said. "I’ve always wanted to go out West. The location was awesome. Coach (Mike) Montgomery’s system fits me perfectly at the 2 spot. All my final schools were great schools. It just came down to where I felt most comfortable. I decided Cal was the perfect place for me."
Gary Franklin Jr., 6-2 PG, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana
Franklin comes in ranked #9 in the Best in the West list.
Why he is rated this highly: Although he has "point guard size" Franklin is equally effective on or off the ball and is a better scorer (few jump shooters have his range or quickness on his release) than anything else right now. He has more than enough strength to penetrate the lane and finish over or around bigger defenders without contact disrupting his shot.
He's likely to challenge Brandon Smith for the starting role at some point, although it's kind of a mystery though whether Franklin is actually a point.
"I don’t think he’s a point guard. I don’t think he’s an off guard," said Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight. "I think he’s a guard. He can play point, he can play off guard, he can play defense."
Franklin is no help, either. I asked him straight out what position he plays, and he showed an elusiveness coach Mike Montgomery hopes he displays on the floor.
"People ask me all the time: What kind of guard do I think I am? I just tell them I’m a winning guard," Franklin said. "I do whatever I can to help us win. I can shoot, but because I’m a point guard I can also get people involved. Coaches trust me as far as ballhandling and making decisions."
He definitely has a lot of experience playing with talented players who are now establishing themselves at winning programs.
He played alongside 6-foot-10 twins David and Travis Wear, now freshmen at North Carolina, and 6-8 forward Andy Brown, a freshman at Stanford, who suffered a knee injury midway through last season. Guard Tyler Lamb, headed to UCLA next season, completed the starting five.
Richard Solomon, 6-8 PF, Price HS, Los Angeles
Crabbe's teammate Richard could be the first true low post presence for the Bears in quite some time if his body fully develops. He is ranked #12th by Best in the West.
Why he is rated this highly: Solomon is very fluid and runs better than most prospects his size. He has an enviable shooting touch and is quick off of his feet. He catches the ball well in traffic although he can be outmuscled by bulkier (albeit less-skilled) post players right now. He seems to have grown a couple of inches in the past year and could be 6-10 plus in college.
Solomon is probably the guy everyone's a little unsure about. Montgomery indicates that he might still be developing.
Quite frankly, Solomon is the wildcard of the bunch. He's long, rangy, quick off his feet and can run like a much smaller player.
"Richard Solomon is a late developer," Montgomery said. "Toward the end of his junior year, he was really starting to come into his own. He kept getting a lot of attention. He's gotten stronger and he gives us a quick, away-from-the-basket big guy that can rebound the ball. He has tremendous upside and we're seeing rapid improvements as we speak."
Women's hoops amazing class also got signed up. Michelle Smith writes about Boyle's young class.
The seven freshmen that came to Berkeley this year, comprising one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, is down to six active players. Tierra Rogers, the San Francisco product whose father was murdered at halftime of one of her high school games in 2007, is no longer able to play after being diagnosed with a heart defect after collapsing following a training session last month. Rogers had surgery following her diagnosis to implant a defibrillator and her playing career is over.
Rogers remains on scholarship and with the program. She was named as one of the three team captains along with Vital and Greif, a chance to serve as a leader for the freshmen and stay closely connected to the team. She is going through counseling and learning to cope with a new life that doesn't include basketball. The team is coping as well.
"There was the initial shock of telling them that she wasn't going to be able to play anymore," Boyle said. "Not every day for her is a good day and we all make sure on bad days that she's with us. None of us have been through this, so we are all trying to figure out what it should look like and we aren't going to have the answers tomorrow."
Cal's freshman class includes prep All-American DeNesha Stallworth of nearby Richmond, a 6-3 forward/center who was the state's leading scorer last season at 27.7 points a game; McDonald's All-Americans Gennifer Brandon (forward) and Eliza Pierre (guard); guard Layshia Clarendon, a WBCA All-American and center Talia Caldwell from Los Angeles.
"They are a coachable group and they want to do well," Boyle said. "It's a quicker turnaround with the upperclassmen, who are able to tell them, 'This is how we do it'. More of our systems are in place than four years ago. It all happens more quickly now."
Here's the official announcement from CalBears.com, courtesy of TwistNHook:
The California Golden Bear’s Women’s Basketball and head coach Joanne Boyle announced the signing of three California athletes to National Letters of Intent. Guards Afure Jemerigbe, Mikayla Lyles, and Lindsay Sherbert will all be wearing the Blue and Gold at Haas Pavilion next season. They look to join Rachelle Federico, Layshia Clarendon, and Eliza Pierre on the perimeter for the Bears.
It is another strong recruiting class for the Golden Bears, ranked at No. 7 overall by ESPN Hoop Gurlz and by Blue Star Basketball. Two of the Cal recruits, Jemerigbe and Sherbert, are ranked in the top-30 overall by ESPN HoopGurlz. Jemerigbe is ranked No. 15 overall and is the No. 2 shooting guard with Sherbert ranked No. 29 overall and at No. 6 among the small forwards. In Blue Star Basketball rankings, Sherbert is ranked as the No. 10 overall recruit and Jemerigbe once again is No. 15. In CalHiSports rankings of the top prep players in the state of California, Sherbert ranks fourth and Jemerigbe eighth. Mikayla Lyles ranks 18th on the CalHiSports rankings and ranks No. 41 in her position on the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings.
As for women's volleyball, danzig has you updated!
This is just the fall signing date, there’s also a spring one so we won’t know what our 2010 class looks like until the spring date. I’ll do a full post after that date. Plus all the Fab50 rankings won’t get worked out until then. Having said that, both Lauren and Adrienne WILL make the Fab50.
Our greatest needs are at Outside Hitter and Libero. We’re stacked at MB now and at Setter. All three of these girls will be molded into Hitters to replace Hana. We need to bring in a top notch Libero b/c the girls we have now are a bit too slow and we’re going to need one once Kristen Kathan graduates this year.
===Loerch is a 6-2 outside hitter from Georgetown, Texas (Georgetown HS) who played for Austin Performance volleyball club. She was named to the "Next 30" list of Fab 50 Recruits and was the Prep Volleyball No. 23 Senior Ace. She captained her high school team and was selected to the 16-5A District All-Tournament team in 2008 and 2009. She was also a 2008 All-District selection. Loerch also lettered in soccer and received all-academic recognition four times from 2006-08.
Lauren Loerch – 6’2 – OH
This Laruen Loerch girl looks impressive so far. I found this pic of her and it looks like she can chin the net, meaning she can get her chin above the net. Vertical is the most valued measurable out of any VB recruit. She’ll be on campus by spring and she can touch 10’3" but by the time Feller is done with her I bet she can go higher.
===Gehan is a 6-3 opposite hitter from Dallas (Episcopal School of Dallas) who played for the Skyline Juniors volleyball club. She lettered all four years in high school and was a captain and named team MVP in her last three. She was named to the All-Southwest Preparatory Conference team three times and was selected to the All-Texas team. Gehan was named an AAU All-American in 2007 and 2008 and was a top-50 junior recruit as well as Prep Volleyball’s No. 22 Senior Ace. Gehan holds school records in kills in a season and is the record-holder for career kills with 1,870. Oct 08, 2009: In two victories last week, Gehan had 37 kills, 23 digs, 10 blocks and 10 aces. For the season, she is in the top five in the area in kills and aces, the only player ranked in the top five in both categories.
Adrienne Gehan – 6’3 – MB
Notable: Gehan has committed to play volleyball for California, a team perennially ranked in the top 25. She liked the school because of the prestige but also the location. "I’ve always wanted to go to California," she said. "The weather was perfect both times I visited, and the mountains and ocean are right by."
Oni Lattin – 6’1 – OH
Since Oni signed late, CalBears.com didn’t mention her, but she’s going to be a Golden Bear. She prob won’t make Fab50. However, maybe she can be the next Angie Pressy… short but got mad hops. Her vert is incredible. Check out how much higher she can jump vs her peers (she’s #10).