It’s time for a look at Cal basketball’s sophomores heading into the 2019-20 season. There’s a bit less mystery here compared to my look at the freshmen, since we have seen many of the second-year players on the court. However, there’s a lot to watch for as well, especially considering the presence of new head coach Mark Fox and his influence on the rotation.
#20 Matt Bradley
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
2018-19 Stats: 10.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.0 apg
Bradley was an uncanny 45-96 from three-point range in his freshman season. That’s a cool 47%, and the Bears simply must find more ways to get him comfortable attempts from behind the arc. In contrast, he ended the year at 41% in terms of field goal percentage. Even though Bradley will be dealing with the newly extended three-point line, it’s hard to imagine him hurting the team from long range. Unsurprisingly, he shot 5 for 7 from distance during his best game of the season at Arizona State. Bradley would end the game with 23 points and a season-high 10 rebounds.
Catching fire— Cal Basketball (@CalMBBall) February 25, 2019
With back-to-back treys in a 30-second span, Matt's got 5 3-pointers, topping his single-game best of 3. pic.twitter.com/PYzpdjUI05
#22 Andre Kelly
Hometown: Stockton, CA
2018-19 Stats: 6.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.5 bpg
Kelly’s 55% shooting from the field put him among Cal’s all-time freshman leaders. He also impressed early on, racking up seven games with double-digit points. The Bears would have been lost without his 19 points and 10 boards against San Jose State. However, none of those contests came after a sparkling performance on January 19 in Seattle. Kelly is solidly in the mix for a starting role, but he also has plenty to prove despite the good overall numbers. At his best, Kelly uses his size to get into strong post position which can lead to efficient offensive plays.
Get it to the Big Bear!— Cal Basketball (@CalMBBall) January 19, 2019
Andre Kelly has a team-high 8 points - his most in #Pac12Hoops season so far. We've got a one-point game at the 2-minute mark. Cal 25, UW 24. pic.twitter.com/JftsvpJfJ3
#24 Jacobi Gordon
Hometown: Houston, TX
2018-19 Stats: 2.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
There is little doubt that an Achilles injury suffered in October 2017 kept Gordon from showing his full potential last season. He was labeled a four-star recruit by Scout but started only one game in his first season with Cal. Perhaps the biggest reason to dream about next season is the prospect of a healthy Gordon who continues to work out this offseason. It’s certainly better than picturing Gordon at Oregon, who also issued an offer prior to his commitment to Cal.
I want my chips with the dip... pic.twitter.com/yOyjoW9rJt— Jacobi Gordon (@AlmightyCobi_24) June 15, 2019
Jacobi Gordon knocks down a trey. Cal leads 10-4 with 11:42 left in the first half pic.twitter.com/yiC4KMJKub— Daily Cal Sports (@dailycalsports) January 10, 2019
#42 Blake Welle
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA
The brother of former Cal forward and fan favorite Cole Welle, Blake played only four minutes last season and grabbed his first rebound on February 16 against USC. Nevertheless, he was a standout in basketball and lacrosse at Aptos High with senior year averages of 16.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. Blake is unlikely to rank high on the depth chart, but he is of course related to Cole who earned a scholarship as a senior thanks to sheer hard work.
Blake Welle in on the action now with a 3-pointer. Aptos down by 2 with 3 minutes left. #RPsports pic.twitter.com/ZqLenXHotG— Tony Nunez (@Tony_Nunez) February 7, 2018
#35 James Zhao
Hometown: Shanghai, China
The 6’4” Zhao was unable to play last season due to an injury, but he made a big impression off the court when the Bears played in his home city of Shanghai. He is a product of the Dulwich College preparatory school in London. Zhao has also taken part in international competition for the Chinese Under-17 squad. There is too much uncertainty to predict major minutes in his future, but there’s no doubt that Zhao is an interesting young man.