With the release of the California Golden Bears nonconference schedule came the announcement that Cal will again be playing in the Maui Invitational. However, with a new roster and coaching staff, how will Cal stand up against teams like Marquette, VCU, Notre Dame, Michigan, LSU, or Chaminade? Will we even be able to make it past Wichita State, who is currently ranked 4th according to an early CBS ranking, in the first round to see some of the bigger names?
During a teleconference for the tournament, Coach Wyking Jones attempted to shed some light on questions such as these.
Here are some of the highlights Jones stressed in his Q & A.
- He began by emphasizing the excitement of simply being invited to the invitational again and said it is an “Unbelievable atmosphere” where his guys will be able to “get their feet wet.”
- He touched on returning players like Marcus Lee, Kingsley Okoroh, as well as Don Coleman, who played limited minutes last season and who will get a chance to “prove himself this year.”
- He claimed to be excited about playing Wichita State in the first round, saying, "At some point, we're going to have to play one of the top teams, so why not start off with those guys?”
- He acknowledged that Cal is, of course, an underdog in the tournament, but reiterated that "it's a great opportunity for our guys to prove themselves" with how they play.
- When asked about how this tournament fits into the rest of our non-conference play he discussed how Maui gives Cal the possibility to play teams like Marquette, VCU and Wichita State. Teams that we would not usually see in non-conference play and players our guys are unfamiliar with and suggested this would be excellent preparation for the Pac-12 season.
Take a listen for yourselves and let us know what you think! Jones begins around the 39-minute mark.