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Basketball: Monty’s first post-NCAA thoughts

A couple of us talked this afternoon with Mike Montgomery, who offered his thoughts on a range of topics.

I will have a more specific breakdown on next year’s team beginning Wednesday, but here are some insights from the coach:

– On the season: “I have a hard time imagining doing a whole  lot more. There were probably two or three wins we left out there. If  we were healthy, we could have squeezed out one or two more wins and that might have gotten us a better seed (for the NCAA Tournament), so we wouldn’t have played a No. 1 (in the second round).  I think we had the capability based on even what’s left (in the tournament) now to win more games. But I think it’s fair to say Duke’s a better team.”

– On the growth over the past two seasons by the departing four senior starters: “They’re very talented kids. In their own way, each has their own set of skills they bring to the table. They’re basketball players, and they wanted to succeed in basketball, no question. As a result of that they were receptive to the things we had to say. They wanted to win, wanted to be successful. That goes a long way. We had to get them all on the same page in terms of how to win. It wasn’t always easy, but once they started to realize if they get a little bit better defensively, played a little bit harder, share the ball better in certain sitautions, we could win.”

– On moving forward without Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin: “I’m worried about every facet about what we’re going to do. We lose two first-team all-conference players, maybe eour best glue guy in Theo, and a very emotional leader in Jamal. We”re not going to be favored to win the league next year. We’re going to have to step back and build this thing properly.”

– Montgomery said there is no timetable for resolving the situation involving sophomore Omondi Amoke, who was suspended indefinitely last week for violation of undisclosed team rules.

– He said the four incoming freshmen will play “significant roles” next season and had praise for 6-6 wing Allen Crabbe, named the Gatorade state player of the year. “I’m pleased with Allen. He’s made great progress. We liked him when we saw him initially,  thought he was going to be a real good player. To his credit, he’s worked very hard to get better. He’s gotten better in every phase of his game. I hope he can stay hungry.”

– Montgomery said he expects to add one or more additional newcomers before next season. Cal currently has one vacant scholarship.

– He said he has no idea yet who will emerge as next season’s point guard. The candidates include sophomore Jorge Gutierrez, freshman Brandon Smith and incoming freshman Gary Franklin Jr.

– On leadership: “I don’t think leadership is going to be a problem next year. There are some guys waiting in the weeds that are very very excited about that,” he said, citing Harper Kamp, Jorge Gutierrez “in his quiet way” Markhuri Sanders-Frison and Brandon Smith.

Jeff Faraudo

  • milo

    JF, great coverage this year. Really made the experience better. Thank you. Looking forward to next season’s analysis.

    Go Bears!

  • calfanz

    thanks jeff!

    thanks seniors.

    can’t wait til next year!

    Coach You did a great job!

    GO BEARS!

  • abe

    run into Kamp in front of the RSF a year ago, nice kid. hope he will exorcise his demons and have a great season next year.

  • KoreAmBear

    Jeff,

    Thanks for your diligent work throughout the season. You’re a valuable resource to us. I hope you get to go on many more NCAA tournament trips with the Bears in the upcoming seasons. What a terrific season.

    Go Bears!

    Will

  • robert

    Jeff, any idea what position these possible newcomers may play? High school or Juco? Local?

  • Bears

    Crabbe and Franklin have a chance to play big minutes if they come in hungry and are able to adjust to D1 hoops. That’s not easy to do. Expect the other two current recruits to also contribute a lot. If these guys are good the team will be good.
    Expect Jorge, Kamp, Max, MSF, Smith, Bak, and hopefully Seeley all to improve. I really believe the first 6 listed will be a darn solid core. Seeley is the wild card, what kind of player is he? Will he buy into what the programs goals are, to win! and excel in his role? PG Smith needs to clean up his FT shooting and get more confidence. He has to take a big jump next year.
    Excited to see if Monty lands one or two more recruits for next year.
    Don’t waste a scholarship though coach, if a Jorge or hidden stud big man are out there bring em in. If not hold out for the fall signing period!

  • charlie

    It’s be great if we could bring in a “big” from Europe/Down Under somewhere, ala Saint Mary’s…

    Great job Coach Montgomery!!!

  • Jeff Faraudo

    Robert,

    Right now they have just one available scholarship, and I’m sure if they could find the right big man, they’d go that direction. If a second one opens up, perhaps someone they believe could help now at PG or a 3-man, depending on Amoke’s eventual status. That would be my guess.

  • Beast Mode

    Jeff, any chance you can comment on DJ Seeley? Does coach have high hopes for him next year? What’s the deal there? Thanks for your insight and coverage.

  • Jeff Faraudo

    Beast Mode,
    He is mentioned (with encouraging words from PC) in the season-wrapup story that will appear in our newspapers Wednesday morning. Also, I’ll have more specifics when I break down the 2010-11 squad by position Wednesday.

  • Ohio Bear

    Jeff,
    Just wanted to add my thanks for all of your Bear Talk posts all season long. You cover Cal basketball very well. This was a fun season in which to follow the Bears!

  • uh oh.

    “One or more additional newcomers”
    Wow. That “or more” part scares me. I really like Amoke.