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Cal basketball: Ivan Rabb & Jaylen Brown draft status now the main offseason question

Will the two super frosh turn pro?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Brown took the blame for Friday's loss to Hawaii.

"A lot of the blame is on me," he said.

Certainly Brown didn't skirt the issue after shooting 1 for 6 and scoring a season-low four points to go with seven turnovers. He fouled out with 6:22 left.

Rated as one of the nation's elite recruits last spring, Brown said he chose Cal with a vision of doing something really big his freshman season.

"I expected us to win it all. That was my goal," he said. "I didn't do what it takes to help my team get over the hump."

Brown's bizarre late season funk might have been the difference between many things this season, and it certainly made a big difference in a first round failure against Hawaii. I'm not sure he shoulders all the blame (Cal has won plenty of games with Brown slumping), but with Jabari Bird and Tyrone Wallace hurt, there was nothing he could do.

Ivan Rabb had a much better showing (and seemed to be finding his own groove to end the season), but it wasn't enough.

Now the bigger question. Do we get more of these two? Both were mum on their futures, although a decision is likely coming in the upcoming weeks. Here's what each of them had to say.

"I've just got to get better. Point-blank, period. Got to get better," [Brown] said, adding that he hasn't given any thought yet to whether he will enter the NBA draft.


Freshman Ivan Rabb of Oakland gave a polite "no sir," when asked if he has a timetable for making a decision about his future at Cal.

Rabb stopped short of echoing Brown's expectation of winning a national title this season.

"I didn't know what I was getting myself into. That's what it's about when you come to college," said Rabb, who set a Cal freshman record with 291 rebounds. He averaged 12.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the season.

Despite Brown's struggles, he is not anywhere close to falling on draft boards. DraftExpress currently has Brown ranked 3rd in the draft, and Rabb is also a fringe lottery contender at 14th. It feels like a weaker draft (particularly compared to last year's loaded bunch), and it could be tempting for many developing frosh to declare now. More importantly, wings are at a premium in a now perimeter-focused NBA, and drafting versatile athletic wings who can blossom into the next Paul George, Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler is the quickest step to fielding a playoff contender.

SB Nation had this to say about Brown's potential (read the full article for a deeper analysis of Brown's struggles against Hawaii).

He offers plenty of versatility, conceivably able to defend either wing spot and blessed with enough length to slide up to the four. Sliding up a position to power forward might be his best bet early in his career, because that's where his athleticism will have its greatest advantage

Sad to say it, the long-term success of Cuonzo Martin's campaign to bring Rabb and Brown to Berkeley will likely hinge on whether one or both decide to return for another season at Cal. The Bears should be a solid team next season without them, but they're not likely to contend for a conference title or be a national contender the way they were this year.

Their status for now is a mystery. What do you think the two will do?