Basketball: Sporting News tabs Bears at No. 16

The Sporting News released its preseason top-50 rankings today, and places Cal at No. 16. Washington is the top-ranked Pac-10 team on its list at No. 13. UCLA is the league’s only other team among the top-50 at No. 28.

TSN’s top 10: 1. Kansas; 2. Kentucky; 3. Michigan State; 4. North Carolina; 5. West Virginia; 6. Texas; 7. Purdue; 8. Duke; 9. Villanova; 10. Mississippi State.


Basketball: Junior PF to make unofficial visit

Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound junior power forward from Jesuit HS in Portland, Ore., will make an unofficial visit to Cal this weekend, according to scout.com. Hey, who wouldn’t want an excuse to take in the Cal-USC football game?

Wiltjer is rated as the No. 22 prospect in the class of 2011, according to scout.com, and is No. 23 on the rivals.com list. But don’t get excited Cal fans: He’s got a long list of schools pursuing him, including most of the Pac-10, and said he isn’t likely to make a decision until after next summer.


Basketball: Bears ignored on Sporting News lists

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News is one of the brightest, best-informed college basketball writers in the country. But he apparently doesn’t think much of Cal’s senior backcourt duo of Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher.

DeCourcy unveiled his top-10 national rankings at each of five positions last week, and neither Randle nor Christopher was mentioned.

Here are a few highlights:

Point guard: Kansas senior Sherron Collins tops this list, with Kentucky’s super-freshman John Wall at No. 2. Arizona’s Nic Wise secures the No. 6 rung on the PG ladder, one spot ahead of Washington freshman Abdul Gaddy, one of the nation’s top prep stars a year ago.

Shooting guard: Oklahoma’s Willie Warren tops the position, with Cal-killer Greivis Vasquez of Maryland at No. 2. UCLA sophomore Malcolm Lee, who averaged 3.2 points a year ago and scored more than four points in a conference game just once, is DeCourcy’s curious pick at No. 4. Washington’s explosive Isaiah Thomas, the Pac-10’s most prolific freshman a year ago, checks in at No. 8.

Small forward: Evan Turner of Ohio State is No. 1 on a list that includes no one from the Pac-10. Kansas freshman Xavier Henry, good enough that few expect him to become a sophomore, is No. 7.

Power forward: The Pac-10 gets shut out here, too, with Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson topping the list. North Carolina sophomore Ed Davis, who never has played more han 25 minutes in a game against a Division I opponent, is third.

Center:  Again, no Pac-10 players are listed among the 10. Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody gets DeCourcy’s nod over Cole Aldrich of Kansas for the top spot.


Basketball: Jorge impressed by Cal newcomers

I talked late last week with sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez, who had the chance to visit his family in Mexico this summer for the first time in a year-and-a-half.

We touched on several subjects, including his impressions of Cal’s three newcomers. Here’s some of what he had to say:

— On freshman point guard Brandon Smith: “He’s good. He’s pretty smart, he’s strong. I think he can help us.”

— Does that mean Smith may become Jerome Randle’s chief backup, allowing Gutierrez to move more to the wing?   “No clue,” he said. “It’s a coach’s decision. I just want to play.”

— On freshman forward Bak Bak: `He’s very skilled. He just needs to get a little bit of weight, get stronger. He’ll be fine.”

— On JC transfer Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who is trying to drop weight while competing for a starting job at the post: “He’s still good. I think he plays like Harper. He understand the game. Plays hard all the time, plays defense. He does the little things.”