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Cal MBB Preview: Home Opener against the Hampton Pirates

We begin our home season!

NCAA Basketball: California at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears host their first home game of the season against the Hampton Pirates, as part of the Legends Classic. Let’s take a look at what the Bears will be up against on Tuesday night.

Hampton Pirates (1-1)

W: Mid Atlantic Christian


Expected Starters:

JR G Jermain Marrow - 23.5PPG/4.0RPG/5.5APG/1.5SPG/5.0TPG

SR G Kalin Fisher - 12.5PPG/6.0RPG/1.0APG/1.0SPG/.467FG%

JR G Greg Heckstall - 6.5PPG/7.5RPG/2.5APG/1.5BPG

SR G Akim Mitchell - 5.5PPG/5.0RPG/2.5APG

SR F Trevond Barnes - 7.5PPG/5.0RPG/3.0BPG

Key Reserves:

SR F Austin Colbert - 3.0PPG/4.0RPG

FR F Benjamin Stanley - 5.5PPG/2.5RPG/1.5BPG

The Pirates rely heavily upon their guards and Jermaine Marrow and Kalin Fisher in particular. They lost a key member of their guard rotation in Malique Trent-Street to graduation, but it seems that they will look to attack with more balance with their senior heavy front court. Last season the Pirates were very solid on defense but struggled to make shots. They ranked 68th in the country only allowing an effective FG% of 48.9%, while on offense they had an effective FG% of 48.8% which was good for 267th in the country. To put that in perspective, Cal’s effective FG% on offense last season was 44.5% which was #343 in the country. Eesh.

So what are some of the keys to victory?

Score in the paint. - The pirates lack some real significant size inside. Roman Davis, Andre Kelly and Conor Vanover should use this game to really gain some confidence in the paint. The wings should also get ample opportunities from the perimeter due to Hampton looking to double our guys on the blocks. That leads us to...

Perimeter play with more direction. - Our perimeter players looked like they were not sure with their decision making and often second guessed their choice. They need play with a bit more conviction in their choices and learn from mistakes coming off of screens or kicking out on drives. The perimeter guys will get their chances in this game as they did against Yale. Making some lay-ups and creating mismatches off of the PnR should help them gain some more rhythm and confidence playing at home.

Move without the ball. - Too many times were our players standing in the corner or looking to dribble and shoot early in the shot clock. We need to create more movement and opportunities to use our speed and versatility in our rotation. It hasn’t come in transition yet because we dont have a bonafide rim protector. So we’re going to have to create lanes by constantly shifting their man-to-man defense asking them to make decisions on switches or to fight through screens.

Press. - The few times this team pressed against Yale, it was effective. This roster is built far more like a team that can press the entire floor and recover quickly. It would be interesting to see if the press is actually something that we can use effectively this season, since we aren’t looking to press while at the same time having our 7-footers out there which made the press ineffective at times. Its a small sample size, but we can play that style of disruptive defense if we commit to it.