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Basketball Preview, Part 2: The Roster

Who does Cuonzo Martin have at his disposal this year, and how will he distribute minutes?

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball season is quickly approaching! We’ve already set up the season with a wide angle look at Cuonzo Martin’s 3rd reinvention of Cal basketball, in addition to roundtable discussions of Ivan Rabb and general season outlooks. This edition breaks down the roster.

Point Guard

Sam Singer is a senior, which means we know what to expect from him. He’s a solid distributor, but more turnover prone than you’d prefer from a point guard. He’s not a great shooter, but he doesn’t take a ton of shots. He’s very likely to be one of Cal’s better perimeter defenders and almost certainly their best defender as a point guard.

Charlie Moore is the point guard of the future . . . and probably soon to be the present. His recruiting profile includes everything you would want to see from a point guard - handles, shooting, passing, speed. That he’s 5’11’’ and from Chicago doesn’t by itself auger success . . . but it certainly feels like a good omen, doesn’t it?

Brandon Chauca got brief minutes in 9 games last year, and will likely continue to only get minutes in mop up time, or in the case of injuries or other unpredictable types of situations.

Shooting Guard/Wing

Jabari Bird is the 2nd most important player on the roster. When finally given a full season of health (NO I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT SHUT UP) he blossomed into an efficient and versatile scorer and improved his defense. Was in many ways the catalyst of Cal’s late-season run, scoring double figures in 9 of his last 11 games (NO STILL WON’T TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS SHUT UP). One question is whether or not he can take on an even larger role in the offense

Grant Mullins was the engine of one of the best mid-major offenses in the country last year at Columbia. The assumption for now is that he will play off-ball rather than point guard, but he can certainly be Cal’s primary ball-handler in the event of an injury. Passing, shooting, drawing fouls, avoiding turnovers - he did it all at a very high level last year. The question is how well that translates from the Ivy League, and whether or not he can play defense at the level that Cuonzo Martin will expect.

Roman Davis is nominally a forward but based on practice reports was playing as a wing last year. I haven’t seen a ton of info about his likely role, but a solid 3 star recruit with a redshirt year of of development under his belt is a good bet to contribute. Noted for his defense and rebounding as a high school recruit.

Stephen Domingo has all the tools to be a plus contributor, whether playing as a wing or as a stretch 4. He just needs his mental game and confidence to catch up with his physical talents. Cuonzo Martin’s ability to get the most out of him may well be a key storyline this season.

Don Coleman is a JC transfer combo guard who has a resume filled with tons of shooting and tons of scoring, but his recruiting rankings suggest a player who may need some time to grow into D1 basketball. Has Cuonzo found a diamond in the rough or a prospect with a learning curve?

Roger Moute a Bidias got occasional run as a lock down individual defender against certain match ups, and actually flashed some solid shooting in a very, very small sample. I don’t typically expect a vast change in roles for players entering their senior seasons, but 10 minutes a game wouldn’t absolutely shock me.


Ivan Rabb is, with the possible exception of Dillon Brooks, the best returning player in the Pac-12 and the threat around which everything else revolves. A force on both ends of the floor, Rabb does most everything well. With another year of experience, training, and confidence (and facing a diminished cast of opposing Pac-12 interior defenders) Rabb is poised for a spectacular season and a never ending barrage of double teams. Ivan cares not for your double teams; he shall smote them.


Kameron Rooks’ underrated skills as an interior anchor allowed Cal to unleash Ivan Rabb as a dominant help defender. He struggled with foul trouble, although that was to a certain extent a factor of how often Cuonzo Martin trusted him to guard players like Jakob Poeltl and Josh Scott without any help. Rooks will be an unquestioned defensive force and his offensive rebounding is a major plus. If he can add anything else to become a more rounded offensive player, watch out.

Kingsley Okoroh is an elite shot blocker who otherwise still needs to improve his feel for the game - being in the right place at the right time would allow him to leverage his size into more rebounds and fewer fouls/turnovers.

The rest of the roster

Marcus Lee, prodigal son, will have to sit the year out after transferring. I am beyond thrilled that Cal was able to pick up a defensively elite, wildly efficient low-volume center ready to step in next year.

Nick Hamilton and Cole Welle are familiar names as walk-ons. They have been joined by Derek King and Koko Kurdoghlian. They’ll all get typical walk-on minutes.

A mostly uninformed, educated guess at Cal’s rotation

PG: Charlie Moore - 25m ; Sam Singer - 15m
Wings (2): Jabari Bird - 30m ; Grant Mullins - 20m ; Roman Davis - 20m ; Stephen Domingo - 10m
F: Ivan Rabb - 30m ; Stephen Domingo - 10m
C: Kameron Rooks - 25m ; Kingsley Okoroh - 10m ; Ivan Rabb - 5m

That’s a 9 player rotation. Cuonzo gradually winnowed playing time down from 9/10 more towards 7 or 8 as the season progressed, and I’d expect something similar to happen this year as players grow into roles and it’s more clear what combinations give Cal the best chance to win down the stretch. We know what to expect down low - the real question is how the scrum for minutes shakes out at point guard and wing.

Things we know for sure: Ivan Rabb and Jabari Bird will get at least 30 minutes/game, and probably 35 minutes in high leverage games. Kam will get starter minutes relative to his ability to avoid foul trouble. Kingsley will get minutes, particularly against certain interior/stylistic match ups.

Likely safe assumptions: Charlie Moore will get immediately significant playing time that will likely grow as he adapts to college ball. Grant Mullins, Roman Davis, and Stephen Domingo will take the bulk of the off-ball minutes vacated by Jordan and Jaylen, but we don’t know the exact balance yet. Domingo will probably play stretch 4 when Ivan sits or plays the 5.

Things we don’t know: Will there be consistent minutes for Don Coleman and Roger Moute a Bidias? Will Cuonzo play Sam and Charlie at the same time, and if so which would take more of an off ball role? And will anybody else (namely Mullins and Coleman) get minutes at the point?