Ruey Yen: The 2017-18 Cal Men's Basketball team is such an unknown, starting with a new head coach in Wyking Jones down to basically just Kingsley Okoroh and Don Coleman being the only holdover from last year, that the impending start of the new season is intriguing, if not exciting. As much as I think Marcus Lee will be a solid player for the Bears in the middle, or how the incoming freshmen wings such as Justice Sueing can be impact player in their 1st year in the Pac-12, I have to keep my expectation for this next season low...probably lower than what I expected for the football team (which has turned into a very pleasant surprise). The clock has been reset, particularly after the disappointment that is Charlie Moore's transfer. Cal fans have to be patient about the Golden Bears competing for the Pac-12 crown or make that elusive 2nd weekend run into the NCAA tournament. The most exciting thing to track of this 2017-18 Cal team would be how much the players improve over the course of the school year. We will get to see how the familiar coaches handle their larger responsibilities. It would be tough to do this while ignoring the results in the win-loss column, but that's what the fanbase has got to do after losing the head coach at a rather late part of the season.
thedozen: The default answer is incoming talent, in particular a trio of freshmen from Southern California. From what I've seen, Deschon Winston out of Birmingham High has a sweet jumper and nice touch around the rim. Justice Sueing, who played for Mater Dei, is a solid rebounder with improving skills from the perimeter. Juhwan Harris-Dyson, who suited up for Heritage Christian, could be a defensive terror while still contributing offensively.
boomtho: This is certainly going to be a very different year for Cal basketball. Cuonzo's last years had quite high expectations, given the great success he had recruiting and the relative weakness of the conference.
Wyking is stepping into a different situation in a couple ways:
-The team is much younger, without proven contributors with years in the system like Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird, etc
-The team has lost most of its experienced guard play, with Singer graduating and Charlie transferring closer to his family
-Wyking has recruited amazingly well given the circumstances around Cuonzo leaving - but there's no Jaylen or Ivan waiting in this class, with maybe Marcus Lee being the closest to a first-year (for Cal) impact player
-The conference is stronger now, in my opinion; Arizona is still great, but USC and have ascended, and Utah figures to be tough as always.
Therefore, my excitement is going to anchor less on conference success, and more on Wyking's ability to implement his system (which should be more havoc-filled, for good and bad than Cuonzo's) and develop the stable of young wings he has recruited.
Specifically, thinks I'm excited about:
-Seeing what our big men can do, and how the minutes distribution will shake out
-Seeing Paris Austin get as much exposure at PG as he can handle
-Watching Wyking harness the potential, and moderate the "rawness", of our young wings
-Testing whether Marcus Lee and Kingsley can play together, or if Wyking will stagger them to ensure solid big man defense/rebounding all game
-Seeing whether there's anything "there" with the raw Roman Davis, and whether Don Coleman's experience will help him reign in the chaos while still being disruptive.