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Cal basketball practice notebook: Australia preparation in full swing

Coach Martin and the team has been hard at work in preparation of their trip to Australia next week. I stopped by their final practice to see how the team was progressing and the development of the freshman.

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Rob's Practice Notebook

  • Coach Martin was very hands on in teaching the plays and sets of the offense. There was a lot of repetition and stopping the play if he didn't feel comfortable with how the play was being executed. But at the same time there was not a lot of frustration because it was a learning experience for everyone.
  • Stephen Domingo looks to be a great addition to the team. Long, athletic and a great perimeter shooter. Stephen looks like he will contribute to the team off the bench right away, giving some scoring punch along with some great defending. Personally, I see him slotting into Christian Behrens' minutes and rotation spot towards the end of last season.
  • Kingsley Okorah and Kameron Rooks, look so much better than they did 1/2 years ago, respectively. Kingsley was playing with more authority and not confused at times on what to do on the court. He also seems better conditioned and more comfortable with his body as well. Kameron, coming off a knee injury, looks leaner and quicker.
  • Coach Martin did say that the two would probably never play next to each other, but pairing either of them with Ivan on the blocks gives the Bears to different looks. Kameron is a traditional back-to-the-basket big whose touch around the basket allows Ivan to push out for elbow jumpers and taking guys off the dribble. If Kingsley was on the court you could give Ivan more free space around the paint on offense running Kingsley on Pick-and-Roll's to the basket. Also gives two athletic shot blockers on defense as well.
  • Tyrone Wallace looks a lot more comfortable in his role as facilitator allowing him to pick his spots to score and not worry about carry thing the offensive load. He has so many weapons around him now, that he asks for the ball more in order to initiate the offense if ball movement becomes stagnant.
  • Jabari Bird is more explosive and attacking. His jump shot may be what he's known for, but people forget he has great athleticism and can glide to eh basket with ease. Consistency around the basket still looked like a tad bit of an issue but if he could get that down, his jump shot may become deadlier.
  • Jordan Mathews is Jordan Mathews. He makes shooting look so easy. His form is 99% consistent, and is automatic when he is open. Jordan looked to have improved his ball-handling ability though, which is going to be huge as he'll most likely be the guy at the top of the arc alongside Ty.
  • Brandon Chauca's time at a camp this past season helped him a lot. He always played with confidence, but his release looks quicker to atone for his size and he's making great mid-range and 3s with ease. He may be one of the surprise players this year that could be a great role player for our team. He definitely is an energizer to the whole team when he is on the court.
  • Roger Moute a Bidias is my x-factor for this season. He's gotten faster and bulked up a big more. He can still get to the basket with ease and has the vertical to throw down some crazy dunks. Multiple times Roger got to the basket twisting and turning and yet i would say he plays with controlled chaos. He looks better than ever and could look to be our #2 SF.
  • Sam Singer looks stronger and will be a key guy for us. He won't start but being the 1st guard off the bench to spell Ty and run the offense is a daunting task that he is fully capable of doing. He wasn't afraid driving to the basket at our 7-footers, Ivan and Jaylen. and his relentless attitude on defense will only help him become a better player.
  • One thing to note, Having both Kameron and Kingsley healthy and able to play gives our perimeter guys and freshman a challenge every day. Lining up against bigger & more physical guys that shot block well, only helps our guys improve and get adjusted to the Poetl's and Tarczewski's we will be playing this year.
  • On to the freshman.
  • Roman Davis is going to a great player. He works hard, has all the physical tools to be a great defender and a tall & speedy power forward. He won't be a part of the rotation until next season or possible his junior year, but could be a great end product in a few years time.
  • Jaylen Brown. I don't really know what to say about the guy except for the fact he looks like a special player. I had two big takeaways from watching him play.
  • The first was that he is willing to learn. Every time a play was being developed on 5-on-5's he wouldn't only use his strength but would try and incorporate what Coach was just teaching the previous play. He always looked to be adding to his skill set.
  • The second was that he never stopped practicing. During water breaks, Jaylen would get a quick drink and take jump shots until the next practice segment. That's impressive work ethic coming from a college freshman. Currently, his natural athleticism and strength is on another level. Coach Martin explained that if he plays a smaller forward, he can dominate them with his strength, and when he plays a bigger forward Jaylen has the athleticism to beat them with speed. He is going to be a bonafide star and a force to be reckoned with this year in the NCAA.
  • Ivan. Rabb. First I want to say I think the guy bleeds blue and gold. He loves talking about the school/campus life, already looks like he played with the team a few years, and really looks like he's having fun playing basketball with the team. Compared to the 7-footers on our roster, Ivan does need some more time with S&C Coach Nicodemus, but his explosion and natural instinct in the paint comes second to none. He grabs rebounds and just explode back up for 2-handed slams. On multiple possessions my jaw dropped at the pure speed that a rebound and dunk occurred. He's also increased his range to elbow jumpers as well. On the court, he is very impressive, but I was just as impressed with his poise handling the media as well.

To wrap up, the team has along ways to go in building on-court chemistry, but there is already sense of camaraderie surrounding the group. The chance to go to Australia could not have come on a better off-season, and will be interesting to monitor the team's progress and improvement once they return from their 4-game trip down under. We'll have the interviews and clips from their practice up later this week. So check back in with us later this week!

California Love. California Rising.