The Golden Bears, coming off a 22-11 campaign, open their second season under coach Mike Montgomery with an exhibition tonight against Chico State. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Expect the Bears to jump ahead early, allowing coach Mike Montgomery to substitute freely. He’ll want his regulars to develop some rhythm, but also will use this as an opportunity to give second-line players legitimate time on the floor.
Figure Omondi Amoke, Jorge Gutierrez, D.J. Seeley, Max Zhang and Nikola Knezevic will see considerable action off the bench. Newcomers Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Brandon Smith and Bak Bak will make their Cal debuts, Sanders-Frison likely as a starter at the post.
Will the Bears show us any new wrinkles?
Can they demonstrate an interior scoring attack?
Will their defense be more consistent, especially at the point of attack?
And can they take an overmatched opponent and dominate?
CHICO SCOUT: The Wildcats are in their second season under coach Greg Clink, who went 8-19 in his debut campaign . . . Gone from that team are the top four scorers, including Andy Bocian, an Amador Valley High grad, who averaged 19.6 ppg as a senior . . . . The top returning scorer is 6-3 junior guard Zach Graves, who averaged 7.4 ppg a year ago . . .
Chico has seven newcomers, including four with roots in the East Bay: freshman guard Rashad Parker of Castro Valley HS, Powell Lee, a redshirt freshman guard from Fremont HS in Oakland, Damario Sims, a redshirt freshman guard from McClymonds HS in Oakland, and Cameron Fenley, a redshirt freshman forward from Monte Vista HS in Danville . . . The Wildcats’ coaching staff includes second-year assistant Gus Argenal, a 1999 graduate of De La Salle HS.
HISTORY: Although this is an exhibition, Cal and Chico State have played an official game once, way back during the 1932-33 season. The Bears prevailed 54-32 on the way to an 18-7 record. Cal also played games that season against Athens Club, Olympic Club, Young Men’s Institute and the Wichita Henrys.
INJURY REPORT: Don’t expect to see much, if any, of junior PF Harper Kamp, who continues to rehab his surgically repaired knee. Kamp is making progress, but the Bears will be cautious with his playing time for now. Senior forward Jamal Boykin, who sprained an ankle Saturday, practiced mid-week but is questionable for tonight.
NEXT: Cal opens its regular season Monday at home against Murray State in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. The Racers, coached by one-time Cal aide Billy Kennedy, are co-favorites to win the Ohio Valley Conference, with three fulltime starters back from a 19-12 squad.