Basketball: Monty says Kamp is frustrated

Sophomore forward Harper Kamp is better than this. He knows it, and there isn’t much he can do about it right now.

“He’s frustrated,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “He can’t make free throws. He doesn’t feel (the game).”

Kamp, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in August, has played in each of Cal’s first four games, but still is hardly practicing. When workouts began last month, Kamp practiced several days in a row, then developed soreness in the knee.

So the Bears are playing it safe with him in practice right now.

Kamp is averaging 18 minutes and 4.0 rebounds per game through four games, but has totaled just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. As a freshman last season, he converted 49 percent of his shots. To sharp his skills, he spent an hour in the gym shooting the ball after Monday’s win over North Carolina A&T.

“We’re hoping it’s getting better,” Montgomery said. “It is progressing, but it’s progressing slowly. Can he do more? I think so.

“But you don’t want to take him past the red line and have him set back so he’d have to sit down for two weeks. That would be tough on everybody and it would force a decision process that we’re hoping not to have to make.”

That decision would be whether to red-shirt Kamp and save a year of eligibility. In order to be eligible for a medical red-shirt, he must not play in more than 30 percent of the team’s full schedule, and all of that must be in the first half of the season.

The deadline is the first week of January, Monty said, but red-shirting Kamp is beyond a last resort.

“We really need him out there,” Montgomery said, “and we need him to get better.”

Jeff Faraudo