The California Golden Bears landed their first big victory of the 2012 recruiting class when Tyrone Wallace from Bakersfield High in Bakersfield picked Cal over Colorado today. Wallace is ranked as the 78th top prospect in the country by Rivals, and the 27th best point guard by ESPN. Wallace is the second highly touted high school recruit Cal has landed in the Mike Montgomery era; Allen Crabbe is the other, and he's turned out alright.
Wallace is a 6'3"/6'4", 175 combo guard that can probably come in next year and fill in immediately in a role similar to the one Justin Cobbs looks like he's playing this season as the primary backup guard (as Smith is likely to be the starting point this season and next while Cobbs will take over for Gutierrez next year), and then either transition to the starting point guard position (where I think he'll end up) or the shooting guard position in 2013-2014.
He's been described as an athletic guy that can pass well, but also has strong scoring ability, which will force defenses to account for him at all times and should be able to get other guys on the floor open shots. He's also solid defensively (6'8" wingspan!), which Monty just has to love.
I'm a big fan of combo guards in general; I always like guys who can do multiple things well rather than one thing really really well; their ceiling tends to be higher, particularly if the coaching is strong. Wallace will hopefully be the impact recruit we need to bridge from the present era of Golden Bear basketball to the next.
Welcome Tyrone. Go Bears!
After the jump, more articles on Wallace (sorry, video is limited, although I do have one sick clip).
Cali High Sports ranked Wallace the eighth best prospect in 2012 in the state of California.
Wallace is a great ball handler who has improved to the point where he can drive to the bucket using both hands. You can’t shade Tyrone in a certain direction and he has actually made going to his off hand one of his strengths. He is so quick and has an array of stutter steps and fakes that keep defenders off-balance and his quick footwork and lethal first step allow him to instantly attack a defender off the dribble if his man shows any sign of weakness. Tyrone attacks exactly the way a point guard should: once he beats his man he waits for help to come and then passes the ball to the weak point of the defense. He does a good job of striking that balance between attacking and passing and knows how to initiate the offense in half court sets.
Ryan Gorcey of Bear Territory got this quote from Wallace on his commitment.
"I like Cal because they are an improving program. Coach Montgomery has coached in the NBA and they are pretty good every year. And I like that it is only four hours away," Wallace said right before making his decision.
Jim McGill of Bear Insider got these quotes from Wallace's high school coach.
The 4 star guard plays point for the Drillers but is easily able to swing back and forth as needed.
"I think he's a point guard but he can play either position well," said Burt. "He's long, handles the ball really well, has great vision and is great in transition. He's not a selfish kid, though he averages over 20 points a game for us. If you're open, he's going to get the ball to you. He's a very good player."
Here's the only free video highlights I could find. You'll recognize who Wallace by the way his defender crumples to the ground.