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Hail to Ivan Rabb

CGBears discuss Ivan Rabb as he sets off to the NBA.

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

Leland Wong: Our Men’s Basketball hometown hero—Ivan Rabb—is leaving the California Golden Bears to enter the NBA Draft.

The fanfare when Ivan Rabb committed to his local Bears was immense. We scored a 5-star talent. We got a Bay Area superstar to stay home. And we did it in Year One of the Cuonzo Martin era.

I think Rabb did a great job of living up to all that hype. Rabb commanded double teams, which opened up good looks for his teammates when he wasn’t too busy punishing opponents regardless. Rabb created opportunities with his rebounding abilities, which earned him the sixth spot in school history for rebounds in a game and top-ten rankings for career rebounding average, field-goal percentage, and blocks. And Ivan Rabb came back for a second season at Haas Pavilion despite projections as a lottery pick as high as number 6 after his freshman year.

We used to honor our departing players with the Remembering the Seniors series; in the case of non-seniors, we’d run posts like Remembering Allen Crabbe and were immediately told that we made it seem like Crabbe got a mean case of the deadsies. And while I’m great at killing the mood, I’m terrible at killing people, so we’ve decided to reflect on our players with a hail to Hail to California and this Hail to Ivan Rabb.

TwistNHook: I have greatly enjoyed watching Ivan bulk up in his time at Cal. I actually initially bought my Cal MBB season tix because of him and Jaylen Brown committing to Cal. So, Ivan Rabb has been huge in me attending significantly more MBB games. I used to go to 1–2 a year, now I go to 10+ a year. His effect is more than just on the court, but also bringing fans together to support the team.

thedozen: Rabb's talent is undeniable, which is why some fans probably expected him to drop 30 every night. Here's the thing: he put the team on his back during many games just the same. Check this stat line from January 29 of this past season: 25 points on 7–9 shooting to go with 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, and a steal. Rabb hit both his attempts from three-point range for good measure. Oh, and he did it in a 66–55 home victory over Stanford. To me, that gives new meaning to the phrase Big Game.

mpeters10: The memory that immediately comes to mind is when Ivan Rabb sealed the USC road win last season with a blocked shot in the dying moments.

As far as the big picture goes, I'm appreciative that he committed to Cal when other schools (Arizona) probably would've showcased his full basketball skill set and potential a bit more than Cuonzo's offensive scheme did. I wish him the best of luck in the NBA and I'm sure he'll be a positive representative of the basketball program.

boomtho: Ivan Rabb came to Cal with an immense amount of hype and potential. Cal historically just hasn't gotten 5* recruits... especially local ones... especially ones who won their damn HS championship in Haas Pavillion. (Shout out to Jabari Bird for being a local, great Bear as well.)

Ivan stepped onto the floor and could contribute immediately. He had an unbelievable sense of how to play the game from Day 1. He moved his feet well, contested shots, grabbed tough rebounds, tried to screen and move the ball, and did it all without complaining. Despite his skinny frame, Rabb was happy to try to defend bigger guys, bang and rebound, etc. I loved watching Ivan play defense and rebound.

Ivan also leaves with a tremendous amount of untapped potential. I'd argue he was significantly misused by Cuonzo, asked to create off of fruitless post-ups and catch bad post entry passes from our guards. He managed to stretch himself out to the three-point line and somehow became our second-best shooter by percentage (admittedly at a much lower volume than Grant Mullins or Jabari). He regressed a bit on defense, losing focus at key times.

Still, Ivan was a wonderful representative of the university, a guy who worked hard and never complained, and did his best to represent Oakland and put Cal on the map. Thanks for all great games, Ivan. GO BEARS!