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Cal Men's Basketball Open Practice Report: Bak Bak Party!

CBKWit and I were chilling at the open scrimmage, and I have some good news. It's time to give...

Praise to Bak Bak!

Avinash: He looked good. I mean shockingly, surprisingly good. He was nailing threes from everywhere. His shooting motion is surprisingly fluid. He managed to play decent defense on the post on Harper Kamp. Very excited to seeing Bak in action. With Zhang gone, he's going to be a major contributor this season.

CBKWit: As I wrote in my notes, he was the best player on the court.  His length and athleticism have always been there, but now he's actually using his physical tools to do things like rebound and shoot.  And block block.  I didn't see him miss a three, and I saw him make 3 or 4.  Plus, he also was involved in the funniest moment of the night, when, in an otherwise silent gym, Monty asked him several times to tuck in his shirt.

HOWEVER, before we get too excited, the standout in last year's open scrimmage was DJ Seeley, and never once in his Cal career did he look half as good as he did during that practice.  Bak's performance was exciting, but we have to see it in a game before we go too crazy.


Harper Kamp

Avinash: Looks faster than he did two years ago. He took the ball from the high post and put it on the floor driving to the hoop. Had some nice low post moves. Although we couldn't see much of his vaunted post defense (none of our other power forwards are ready for the low post), he had a vicious block on a driving Richard Solomon.

CBKWit: He's moving much better than I've ever seen him, which is probably because his knees are finally healthy.  He also has what appears to be a pretty sweet tat on his back.

Markhuri Sanders-Frison

Avinash: Weight's off. Sanders-Frison looks good.

CBKWit: When Sanders-Frison knocked down a sweet 14 footer, I remarked that I've never seen him look that good on a jumper.  Avi said it's because he was always grounded due to his weight, and he's right.  Now he can jump.

Richard Solomon

Avinash: Very impressive in person. Long arms. Looked like a freshman.

CBKWit: He struggled for a lot of the scrimmage, which will happen because he's a freshman playing against much more experienced players.  He'll just have to fight through it.  He definitely brings a body type and athleticism to our front-court which we haven't had since Hardin.  He's very skinny, but he can jump.



Allen Crabbe

Didn't see much of Crabbe in this one; I was actually more impressed with his defensive effort than anything he did offensively--he seemed to come up with a few steals.

CBKWit: Agreed, he did not do too much offensively, but he was more sound positionally than the other freshmen

Emerson Murray

CBKWit: Murray didn't stand out too much.  But, Jeff Faraudo at the CoCo times has an interesting blog piece up here about his relationship with Jason Kidd, so check it out.

Alex Rossi

Avinash: Got burnt a few times defensively when Jorge took him down on the post. But he did hit a few threes.

CBKWit: Rossi does not have great lateral quickness, and because of it he struggled to stay in front of people defensively.  He's going to have a tough time guarding Pac-10 wings and guards, unless they're in his mold (spot up shooters).  If there's anyone who can teach defense to a wing with below average athleticism, it's Monty, so I expect he'll improve a lot during his Cal career.  And he definitely fills a niche with his spot up three point shooting: Cal ran a couple of double screens to free him up on the perimeter, and he looked good in knocking down a couple.

Nigel Carter

CBKWit: He hit an outside shot and looked ok, unlike last year when he was clearly not in the Randle/PC/Theo class.  I wouldn't be surprised if he got some minutes this year.


Point guards

Jorge Gutierrez

Avinash: I think we're going to painfully learn about Gutierrez's inability to shoot the ball without other shooters on the floor. He missed almost all his jumpers. Still, he moves the ball pretty well and had a nice fastcourt pass to Bak for a dunk. And he might actually be a decent post threat if he goes against smaller guards.

CBKWit: It almost seemed like Jorge was backing off defensively, perhaps to give the young guys some room.  Or maybe he's realized that he needs to play a little less aggressively, now that he's no longer a 6th man and will be required to play starters minutes.

Justin Cobbs

Avinash: Cobbs probably impressed me the most of all the points. His passes were sharp and his movement was crisp. Unfortunately, he has to red-shirt, so we're going to have to wait a year for him to show off.

CBKWit: I agree Avi, he looked like the best point guard on the team...which is too bad, because he can't play this year.

Gary Franklin

Avinash: After two years of watching Jerome Randle, it's crazy watching a full-sized point guard handle the ball. Franklin had some nice moments. He got into the lanes and pushed in transition. And he has a weird funky shot.

CBKWit: Franklin has a nice body for a point guard, and looks to be the most physically ready of the freshman.  His release is really weird, but he's very confident with his shot and was hitting most of his outside shots.  Unfortunately for us, he doesn't have a great handle yet, so he'll probably have some tough moments against good defensive point guards.

Brandon Smith

CBKWit: I don't see a Pac-10 level starter here.  He's only a few inches taller than Randle, and doesn't have a very long body.  Because of his lack of size, he has trouble getting to certain spots offensively and running the offense.  He does not have Randle's quickness or ridiculous shooting ability, so he's basically a small point guard without a standout skill.  His handle is ok, but not great.  I think his best attribute right now is defense, so I think he'll be a decent backup at the point and will keep us in the game while he's in there.  But if he's our starting point guard, I think we'll be in trouble.