Cal’s two newcomers — freshmen D.J. Seeley and Jorge Gutierrez — made their first public appearances at Haas Pavilion on Wednesday night as the Golden Bears staged an open scrimmage for fans.
“It was fun,” said Seeley, the shooting guard from Modesto Christian High. “It was a good atmosphere.”
It will be substantially better when there are more than a few hundred fans in the building, as was the case Wednesday. New coach Mike Montgomery talked with the gathering after the hour-long scrimmage and said he’s looking forward to the same raucous crowds that routinely greeted his Stanford teams for 18 seasons.
It was hard to take too much from the scrimmage, in which players were reshuffled onto different teams a couple times. The Bears appear to be working hard at on-ball defense, but it’s early and this is far from a finished product.
“It’s been a new experience in all aspects. It’s a lot (to learn). I’m kind of overwhelmed, but I’m getting used to it, day by day,” Seeley said. “You’ve got to compete every day, otherwise someone takes your spot. It’s not like high school.”
Gutierrez, who grew up in Mexico, said he’s doing his best to adjust — and on and off the court. “It’s a tough school, but I’m trying to do well,” he said.
Gutierrez figures to compete for the backup point guard job, but he had a few moments at shooting guard during the scrimmage. “I just want to be on the floor,” Gutierrez said. “I just want to play.”
Seeley hit a couple mid-range jumpers, while Gutierrez showed a his ability to score in a variety of ways. He split a double team and dropped in a floater from the lane, hit a 3-pointer from the new 21-foot, 9-inch arc, and swished a nice step-back jumper from the baseline. Of course, he also had a free-throw line shot snuffed by 7-2 center Max Zhang.
– Sophomore forward Harper Kamp sat out the scrimmage to rest his right knee, which underwent arthroscopic surgery in August. Kamp practiced on Tuesday, but has basically been on one day, off the next since working out hard the first three days of practice.
“That was quite a bit on my knee, so it took me a while to recover from that. We went backwards a little bit with those first three days,” Kamp said. “Since then we’ve been going forward, so it wasn’t too much of a setback.
“It probably won’t get to a point where I can go all day, every day. But I’ll be able to least get the stuff I need to get in, or maybe go a full practice every other day.”
– Scheduling news: The Bears have agreed with Kansas to stage a home-and-home series beginning next season with a game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks would then come to Berkeley during the 2010-11 season.
I don’t have the specific dates yet, but this is exciting news for Cal fans who can somehow score a ticket to the game at KU. The Bears most recently played at Allen Fieldhouse during Jason Kidd’s sophomore season in 1993-94, and I can tell you it’s easily the coolest basketball venue I’ve ever visited.