By Jeff Faraudo
Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 12:24 pm in Basketball.
I’m previewing the Bears’ 2009-10 team position-by-position this week. Looked at the center position on Wednesday, and will talk about small forward on Friday. Today . . .
RETURNING: Jamal Boykin, Harper Kamp, Omondi Amoke
LEAVING: No one
ARRIVING: Bak Bak
This is potentially the Bears’ deepest position, with two returning players who were among the club’s seven this past season, an athletic combo forward, plus an intriguing recruit.
Boykin is a solid, blue-collar player who started every game this season at the position despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds. His skill set is best suited for the 4 position, although he is an adept shooter from 15 feet along the baseline.
A solid rebounder and fierce worker, Boykin’s only shortcoming is the lack of great lateral quickness, which hurts him sometimes on defense. But he’s smart and is a passionate player and good teammate.
Kamp played all season despite battling knee pain after undergoing surgery last August. He will get that right knee scoped sometime soon, with the hope that it cleans up the irritants and allows him to maximize his abilities.
“He was pretty good until he pulled a (calf) muscle on the other side, then he just didn’t have a chance. That thing never went away,” Montgomery said of a second ailment that followed Kamp over the season’s final weeks. “The more practice he gets to work on things, that will allow him to continue to develop.”
Kamp understands the game, is a good passer and rebounder and, at 6-8, 255, has the muscle to shift over and work at the center spot when needed.
Amoke, just 6-7, 215, played out of position at the 4 much of this season, giving the Bears a bit more depth at the two post positions. He is quick enough to cause problems for bigger defenders when he steps away from the basket, but has yet to be given the chance to work on his perimeter skills.
Bak, a 6-10, 220-pound native of the Sudan, grew up in Kenya and has floated around a bit the past several years. He played this season at Herigate Christian High, a tiny school north of Los Angeles.
Bak runs extremely well, is long-armed and a potential great shot blocker, and has a decent perimeter shot. But he’s skinny.
“He’s skilled, he just needs to get stronger,” said Montgomery, acknowledging that the ideal scenario for Bak would be to red-shirt as a freshman. “Sometimes the body types of kids are such they’re not going to get a whole lot of muscle.
“He’s just been bouncing around for so long, we want to get him in a solid lifting program and just get him a stable situation.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: There are numbers here, but also questions. Will Kamp’s knee finally be fully healthy? Can the Bears afford to let Amoke play more at the 3? Will Bak be allowed to red-shirt, or will he be needed on the floor immediately? Lots of potential, lots of variables.