99 in 99: #79 California Golden Bears

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When a team loses its top four scorers, all of whom averaged in double digit scoring, there is going to be some transition the following year regardless of the program.  Add in a pair of other contributors from last season who are no longer with the team and that is exactly what the Cal basketball program is experiencing.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” runs down the 72 power conference teams and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  Click here if you missed teams #80-#99.

By: David Kay

California Golden Bears (1st, 13-5 in Pac-10, 24-11 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Makhuri Sanders-Frison (Sr)/Max Zhang (Jr)
PF: Harper Kamp (Jr)/Bak Bak (So)/Richard Solomon (Fr)
G/F: Alan Crabbe (Fr)/Alex Rossi (Fr)
SG: Jorge Gutierrez (Jr)/Emerson Murray (Fr)
PG: Gary Franklin (Fr)/Brandon Smith (So)

Gone: PG-Jerome Randle, SG-Patrick Christopher, SF-Theo Robertson, PF-Jamal Boykin, SF-Nikola Knezevic, SG-D.J. Seeley (transfer-Cal State Fullerton), PF-Omondi Amoke (dismissed)

2010-2011 Outlook:
It is hard to win your conference title and still have your season be considered a disappointment, but that is what happened to Cal last season.  Yes, they finished atop the Pac-10 standings, but you cannot forget how weak the conference was last season.  A 24-10 regular season record and second round exit from the NCAA Tournament was definitely below the expectations of a team that was ranked in the top 15 in both pre-season polls.

Now, the Golden Bears are in a complete re-loading year as they lose an extremely talented core of seniors who combined to make up 75% of their scoring, 51% of their rebounds, and 66% of their assists last season.  Plus, back-up post player Omondi Amoke was dismissed from the team while reserve shooting guard D.J. Seeley elected to transfer, leaving an even bigger void on the roster.

You can probably expect to see a different brand of basketball at Berkeley.  Cal finished second in the Pac-10 in points per game last season but will not be able to light up the scoreboard like that in 2010.  The team’s top returning player is Jorge Gutierrez who is known for his defensive abilities and is not a tremendous scorer.  Harper Kamp is back after taking a redshirt last year due to a knee injury and while he will add some experience and depth up-front, scoring is not his forte either.

That is where the freshmen are going to have to step in.  Cal brings in some young talent led by sharp-shooting wing Alan Crabbe and point guard Roger Franklin but lacks the experience and scoring punch to be a real threat in the conference race unless Mike Montgomery is able to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Player to Watch: Alan Crabbe, SG
The California Player of the Year is going to need to be an impact scorer for the Golden Bears in his first season.  With a team that lost a ton of scoring from last season, Crabbe has the best potential of all newcomers to try and replace some of that offense.  He can stroke it from the outside but will also need to more consistent in attacking the basket.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/20 vs. New Mexico
11/25 vs. Temple (Old Spice Classic)
11/26 vs. Georgia/Notre Dame (Old Spice Classic)
11/28 vs. Wisconsin/Manhattan/Boston College/Texas A&M (Old Spice Classic)
12/4 at Iowa State (Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series)
12/8 vs. San Diego State
12/12 vs. Southern Mississippi
12/22 vs. Kansas

Other 99 in 99’s:
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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