It’s a new year of College Basketball, which means its Media Day across the conference. Mark Fox took the stage at Pac-12 Media Days as the Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, after being hired earlier this summer. Fox has a tall task in Berkeley, to rejuvenate a program and fan base exhausted from a historic number of losses. The Bears also ranked near the bottom of nearly every statistical category under the previous regime, and is expected by the media to continue that trend at least this season with a prediction of finishing last in the conference. The first thing was getting to know his new players and getting a new group of recruits to come in.
I think what we tried to do was spend the summer workouts installing our defense and getting that terminology as in place as we could, so when official practice started we were only working on the other half of the terminology and on our offense, and so that has made it a little bit smoother. But when you have 17 new players, man, it’s -- and new coaches, every day is not an adventure, but every day is certainly -- we’ve got to be very detailed in our plans, so everyone can be on the same page, and progress -- because there’s 17 new guys is a little slower than a team where someone is returning and they only have three new players because they’re all learning it for the first time. - Mark Fox
Despite being a new team and roster from last season with the loss of Darius McNeill and Justice Sueing, Mark Fox will have some vets to rely on in Paris Austin, Matt Bradley and Juhwan Harris-Dyson.
Coach Fox did a great job hand-picking his guys to fit our program. I feel like each of them have their own jobs, as far as getting a group of guys and mentoring them and coaching them. Coach he doesn’t do a lot of just picking one player and trying to position him to score. He tries to position all of us to score. Most of our action are not just one read, everyone can score out of it. So I feel like that’s good for our team and it keeps all of our players happy about that. -- Paris Austin on Coach Fox
With these returners, the staff has added some international recruits in the cycle in Dimitrios Klonaras (Greece), Lars Thiemann (Germany), Kuany Kuany (Australia), and Joel Brown (Canada).
When I got the job in April, we wanted to get the best players, players that could help us win, and obviously in the United States most of those guys that signed early were already committed. So we were able to find some kids that were in Europe. But also even some of our guys that are international guys, Kuany Kuany, is an international player, but he’s spent the last four years playing basketball in the United States. So he doesn’t feel like he’s an international guy, if you will. Kareem South is from Toronto. He’s a Canadian citizen and we got him as a graduate transfer, and he’s getting credit for being an international player, and he is one, but he spent the last three years playing college basketball. - Mark Fox
Fox and the staff is also getting adjusted to the Berkeley campus and area, but he certainly has taken advantage of every opportunity, including taking in game day at Memorial Stadium.
It’s been tremendous. I work at one of the finest academic institutions in the world, and our team is a part of that university. We’re not two different places. I just don’t subscribe to that. We represent one of the greatest schools in the world, and we’ve got a tremendous athletic director and a great athletic department, and I enjoy other coaches. I enjoy our swim coach, both the men and the women. We have a lot of fun times until the hallway. Coach Wilcox and I have become very good friends, and I want to see all those people succeed. But for Cal basketball to accomplish what we want to accomplish, it’s going to take everybody. It’s going to take everybody in the Bay Area. It’s going to take everybody in the state of California, it’s going to take everyone in Berkeley, it’s going to take help from everybody, and I’m not afraid to ask for that help and to solicit that help and to build relationships where we can get that help, and to do that, maybe we have to go to some events on campus and in the Bay Area to show our partnership. - Mark Fox
Fox will certainly be looking for the same type of partnerships when he begins his first season as the California Golden Bears Men’s Basketball Coach later this month. The Bears start their season with an exhibition game against Saint Martin’s on October 30.