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Cal Men’s Basketball At Pac-12 Media Days!

Basketball Season is upon us.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Spokane Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Bears are predicted to finish 4th in the conference, and after a lackluster finish last season, Cuonzo Martin is looking to surprise many this upcoming season. With the addition of Grant Mullins, Don Coleman, Charlie Moore and Marcus Lee (Ineligible this season after transferring), Coach Martin may have a deeper bench to call upon during the season. Sophomore Ivan Rabb returns along with Seniors Sam Singer and Jabari Bird to be a major player of this Cal team. Senior Stephen Domingo, who looks to be a new player after his trip to China with the Pac-12 All-Star team, and Redshirt Freshman Roman Davis could be key rotation players for the Bears this season.

Here are just some of the key quotes I took away from the press conference. You might see me if you watch closely!

Q. Jabari, your freshman year you played with Cobbs, your sophomore year you had a senior like Kravish, and last year you had Ty. Have you taken a little bit of how they lead the team to how you're going to lead being your senior year here?

  • Jabari Bird: All three of those guys are great leaders, and they all had different attributes that made them great leaders. But the one thing I take from all of them is extreme confidence. What's going on, bad or good on the course, you've got to be the guy that guys can come to. You can't be too down on yourself, no matter how you're playing, because you've got to be leaders of the team.

Q. Can you talk about what Ivan's return to the program means to you guys and do you expect him to have an expanded role on offense this season?

  • Cuonzo Martin: He has all the parts to be successful in life, whether he's playing basketball or not. His family did a tremendous job in raising him. Great foundation around him. Just happy to have him back because, again, a tremendous talent, wonderful young guy. He takes pride in going to class and being successful. Not just going, but he wants to be good. He wants to get a degree. He represents the Bay Area. He takes a tremendous amount of pride in that. Guys love being around him. Teammates love playing with him.

Q. Can you guys talk about just what you've seen from Charlie Moore in the first couple weeks of practice, and just what you expect him to bring to the table this year?

  • Cuonzo Martin: Charlie's a talented guy. He's been battle tested since he stepped on the high school circuit with his high school team, with his summer AAU team. Played against high-level talent every day in practice. If you watched his high school practices, guys are in the gym that he's competing against since he was probably 14. So you knew he was going to be a good player. He's a tough kid... He wants to be a success. He pushes the ball and makes guys better. But, again, a lot of credit to his background and the way his dad put him in a situation to be successful. So wouldn't be surprised when it's all said and done. Charlie's one of the better guys that have ever come out of Cal.

Coach, having had Jaylen Brown for one year, I was wondering if your feelings toward the One and Done Rule have changed at all? Would you like to see any alteration of that? Is it good for college basketball? What are your thoughts about that?

  • Cuonzo Martin: Those two guys have that ability, and I'm talking about Ivan Rabb as well. I really enjoy being around them. I don't sit there and say I want to recruit this guy for one year to try to win a championship. My job is building relationships, and more than anything, my title as a coach, but I'm a builder of men. That's what I take a tremendous amount of pride in.

Q. Have you had your scrimmage against Saint Mary's or is that upcoming? What are you hoping to see?

  • Cuonzo Martin: Am I allowed to talk about that? With these rules, I don't even know if you can advertise that you're having a scrimmage. But we haven't played a game yet, no. If I'm allowed or not allowed. Because it always changes.
  • Cuonzo Martin: From our team, the stuff we've been seeing in practice. Guys have done a great job getting after it. A lot of credit obviously goes to Jabari as a leader. He's done a great job. Just playing at a high level, practicing at a high level with the other seniors, and of course, Ivan Rabb. Kingsley has done a great job. To see the growth of Kingsley, just fun to be around the guys. Charlie Moore, Grant Mullins is shooting lights out. I don't really have anything in particular I want to see outside of defending, rebounding, playing hard and playing as a team.

Cool, Confident, and Collected, Coach Martin is the unchanging constant in the Cal Men’s Basketball program. What did you think of what Coach Martin and Jabari Bird discussed? How do you feel about the upcoming season? Let us know in the comments below!