Basketball: Monty goes JC route for big man

Cal will be bigger up front in 2009-10 — about 275 pounds bigger.

Coach Mike Montgomery, responding to an immediate need on his frontline, got an oral commitment over the weekend from 6-foot-7, 275-pound post player Markhuri Sanders-Frison, a native of Portland, Ore., who will play this season at South Plains CC in Levelland, Texas.

Sanders-Frison, who visited the Berkeley campus this past weekend, becomes the third member of the Bears’ class of 2009. He joins 6-8 forward Bak Bak, a native of the Sudan, and De La Salle point guard Brandon Smith. The first day of the fall signing period is Nov. 12.

Sanders-Frison played on Jefferson High teams that won three city championships in Portland, then spent a year at the Hebron Academy in Maine. He averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds last year for an Eastern Arizona CC team that went 30-7 and reached the national JC tournament, but transferred to South Plains for this season.

Cal assistant coach Jay John, who spent the past four seasons as head coach at Oregon State, has watched Sanders-Frison since his prep days in Portland.

Sanders-Frison offers the Bears some immediate muscle up front, and is the type of big man around which Montgomery built his program at Stanford.

His signing will require some attrition from the current roster before next season. The Bears have no seniors on their 2008-09 roster and only one available scholarship. Smith was expected to walk and redshirt next year, then be given a scholarship in 2009-10  2010-11.

Cal also welcomed four high school junior prospects on campus, including De La Salle’s John McArthur, a 6-9, 245-pound center. Steven Adams, a 6-7, 245-pound forward from Pasadena, is rated No. 90 in the class of 2010 by rivals.com.

Two guards from Los Angeles — 6-1 point guard Jordin Mayes of Westchester and 6-5 shooting guard Allen Crabbe of Price — also visited. Mayes is rated the No. 48 prospect nationally in the class of 2010, and Price told rivals.com that the Bears made him an offer before he returned home.

Jeff Faraudo