The senior class is thin. With one new addition in Kareem South, there are two graduate students and two seniors. Let’s take a look at them.
Jacob Orender - Guard
Orender transferred into Cal as a sophomore and has not seen much playing time in career. He’s a guy who keeps the energy high on the bench. Being a guy who does not play much is not for everyone, because everyone cannot handle it. I have a ton of respect for guys who sit on the bench each night knowing their number will never be called. Though Orender has not seen the court much in his time as a Golden Bear, he won the award for highest GPA on the team this past school year. Going into this season, it is safe to assume that Orender will keep his same role on the team. Orender is now a graduate student this upcoming year, as he finished his undergraduate degree early.
David Serge - Guard
Serge was a manager for the basketball team for his first two years as a Cal student, and after his sophomore year, he joined the team as a player. Like Orender, he has not seen very much playing time as a member of the team. Likewise, I project that he will serve in a similar capacity as Orender.
Kareem South - Guard
South is a graduate transfer from Texas A&M, Corpus Christi. In his career there, he averaged slightly under 11 points per game, and his his senior season, he led the team in scoring with almost 14 points per game. He shot 41% percent from the field there, and 36% from the three-point line.
In examining South’s game film, he is a crafty player, and I believe he will add a lot of value to the team. His ability to create his shot off the dribble, and to find other teammates while penetrating will help this team perform better offensively next season. He has a nice way of getting to the basket, then dishing it out to an open teammate. His mid-range shooting is fantastic. Beyond playing ability, he will bring to this team veteran leadership.
It’s essentially a toss-up for who will start next season given that there is a new coach and a new system. South is someone I could see being a starter. A backcourt of him and Paris Austin could be an extremely talented backcourt for the Golden Bears. Even if he does not start, he will be a productive player for the Golden Bears this season.
Paris Austin - Guard
Austin was top-three in scoring last season for the Bears and was the team leader in the assist category. Last year, he has some high moments, scoring game-winning shots, and having some great overall performances as the floor general, setting his former teammates Darius McNeill and Justice Sueing up for good shots. Austin is a good point guard, and he plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. The chemistry on the floor between Austin and last year’s freshmen class wasn’t the greatest. However, I think that will improve going into year two.
Austin can score the ball and get active on the defensive end, which makes him a desirable player to have on your team. Though last season, he shot 28% percent from the three-point line, something he has hopefully put work into improving this summer. Given that two of the top three shooters on the team left, someone will need to step up and be ready to take and make shots from beyond the arch.
Playing under an experienced coach in Mark Fox will be good for him, and could help him go to the next level in his game. I expect Austin to be the starting point guard this season. His numbers might not drastically increase from last season, but he will be a better leader and will help this team try to make some noise in the PAC-12.
The senior class is thin. We will only get production from two of the four. That is not a bad thing, as I believe that Austin and South will be big contributors to the team. Not only will they be good for the team this season, but they could also possibly be a big aide to the development of the underclassmen. It will be interesting to see how they both fit in Coach Fox’s system.