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Crabbe People! A Look At Cal Men's Basketball Wings In 2011-2012

Kodiak:  How much more awesome do we expect Allen Crabbe to be in year two?  Now that he's a known quantity, will Pac-12 defenses be able to shut him down?  When Crabbe goes to the bench, will we get any production out of Emerson Murray, Alex Rossi, and Jeff Powers?  Will Christian Behrens play or blueshirt?

LeonPowe:  I think Crabbe can contend for Pac-12 POY and be an elite player - I would've liked for him to have played for USAB this summer to further convince him of his elite ability, but a broken nose robbed him of that opportunity. I think his belief in self just has to catch up to his potential and his ability. Not convinced about the ability of the other wings - if we can get spot minutes from Murray, Rossi or Powers I'd be estatic, but I think we might see more Jorge swing over and play a backcourt of Cobbs and Smith than big minutes from Murray, Rossi and Powers. I don't see Behrens playing this year at all.

NorCalNick:  Crabbe certainly showed himself to be durable, except for the whole 'knees-and-elbows-running-into-his-nose' thing, which is just freak bad luck.  And despite being a true freshman, he actually led Cal in minutes/game yet never ran out of gas or hit a 'freshman wall' last year.  He never gets in foul trouble and he seems to play a with a certain calmness and fluidity that makes you think he could keep shooting jumpers for hours without ever getting tired.

So yeah, I agree that unless they show something immediately or Cal sustains an injury we won't see a ton of minutes given to Murray, Rossi and Powers.  That said, I find all three intriguing for a variety of reasons.  I'm hoping all three benefit from a full year of learning under Monty.

Kodiak:  Besides his obvious knack for shooting the long ball, I've been really impressed by Crabbe's ability to grab rebounds.  Without having a dominant glass-eater, it really helps having a wing who can help out, particularly when we have to go zone.

Teams are certainly going to focus on him, so he'll have to shown the mental toughness to not let them take him out of the offense.  He may never be a high-flying slasher, but with improved strength and handles I'd like to see him try to get to the line more often.  There were flashes of a mid-range game even as a true frosh, so I expect to see him continue to build off that.

Where I'm hoping for a big leap forward is on the defense end.  Crabbe got burned in a number of late game scenarios (OT vs. AZ comes to mind) due to inexperience.  He has the long arms and the mindset to be much better as a perimeter defender.

I'm not sure what to expect from Powers, Murray, and Rossi.  Powers can shoot it, but he got lost too often defensively.  Murray is still recovering from injury and also looks to be feeling his way into his role on this team.  Rossi is another great shooter and was supposed to be the designated defensive stopper on his HS team.  However, he's also still recovering from a serious injury.  Of the three, I would guess Murray might get some minutes to use his quickness on D, and Rossi might be the offensive sub if we need to spread the floor against a zone.


NorCalNick:  I think that's a solid projection on the roles for Murray and Powers.  I'm optimistically hoping that Murray's 'sophomore leap' will turn him into a solid, 10-15 minutes/game player who can play intense defense and gives you a little something on offense.  It was tough to get a read on his talents in the limited amount of time he saw the court last year, but I'm always prepared to be pleasantly surprised by a Monty coached player.

Avinash:  Here are some further questions.

1) Who do you think has the deepest group of wings in the Pac-12? Who has the weakest? 

2) Which wing defender will test Crabbe the most on offense? Which offensive playmaker will force Crabbe to react properly on defense?

3) What type of plays would you like to see run for Crabbe? Clearly he can be plenty effective running off screens, but do you think he could do more in isolation one-on-one sets (when needed of course, Monty loves to move the ball) or pick-and-roll action?

OhioBear:  As to discussion question (3):

One thing I remember from last season is that Crabbe developed a really good step-back move.  I especially love seeing him shoot the step-back 3-pointer.  That's a great move to have in the repertoire and can be an effective option for Crabbe to get his own shot in an isolation one-on-one situation.  Like Avi says, Monty prefers to move the ball around, but as we saw with Randle, Monty is not allergic to running one-on-one isolation stuff when we have a very good offensive player to do it.  Crabbe is good enough to be that kind of a guy, so I can envision running some isolation with him.