Basketball: Murray signed and sealed

Cal received Emerson Murray’s signed letter-of-intent Thursday, allowing coach Mike Montgomery to make his first public comments on the 6-foot-3 combo guard from Vancouver, B.C.

“We’re really excited about Emerson,” Montgomery said in a statement. “First and foremost, he’s a tremendous person. He’s very positive, friendly and polite. He’s the kind of guy that you love to be around. I think he’ll be a tremendous addition to the California family and community. More importantly for us, as a basketball player, he’s very athletic. He’s very quick laterally and very explosive.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • uh oh.

    bye bye brandon?

  • Bears

    That’s a good question, what happens to Smith? Is he on scholarship? Should he be on scholie going forward? Please stay on the beat roster questions this summer and early fall. Very interested to see how it shakes out. Unless he makes a tremendous leap this summer I don’t he should be on scholarship. Hope he proves me wrong and takes the next step because he seems like a really good guy but it’s a harsh reality that scholarships are precious. Bears can’t waste any on non contributors, Monty’s on it. Go Bears!

  • rollonubears

    you can’t just dump a guy who you’ve offered a scholarship, just because he doesn’t perform to expectations. you can kick him off the team, but his education will be paid for. he could have gone to a lot of other schools. he chose cal because they offered him a scholarship. they have to honor that.

  • Raf

    i thought he was a recruited walk-on

  • Davidson

    I was always under the impression that he was a scholarship player. He being Point Guard Brandon Smith.

    Of course, it never occurred to me that he would be a walk-on, so I could be wrong.

  • milo

    I thought Smith was a gray shirt or something like that. He entered Cal w/o a schollie, then joint the team and received a schollie. Almost a walk on but not really.

  • David

    Either way, I think Murray or Franklin Jr. will be redshirted and Smith will still get touches solely due to his experience on the team

  • milo

    I doubt either Murray or Franklin will redshirt…maybe but if they can score, they’ll probably play given the graduation of 80%+ of Cal’s offense.

  • Bears

    I was under the impression that Smith was a walk on who would get a scholarship if avaiable.
    Kind of a year to year thing, unless he upped his game of course and earned it for four years.
    The way he shot free throws and handled vs tough competition he looked like a walk on to me.
    But, just a true frosh and chance for him to improve this summer.
    We’ll see.

  • Dan

    Man guys- some are either dumping on Smith a bit or misinformed.

    First of all, he is on scholarship, has been, so he’s here. He was not a walk on. Plus,l for some of you, you can’t just take his scholarship away even if you wanted to- that is classless.

    Odds are that he will be the starter going into season. He is will be a leader on the floor with all the seniors and Amoke gone. Don’t judge him by what you saw last year. He was mostly solid and tough in his limited minutes, but was also at times overwhelmed a bit and didn’t shoot well.

    But you will see a huge step up from him this next season. We was an excellent shooter in HS (3’s, pull ups and free throws) and will be at Cal, but he will be a pass first, make his teammates better point guard, which we have not seen at Cal in awhile.

    Montgomery already trusts him as evidenced by the fact that he did play key minutes this past season. He is a Monty-type player. He is probably the hardest working, most focused guy on the team along w/ Jorge- he is killing the whole team right now in the weight room- please no comments about the weight room isn’t the court, I know that- it speaks to how hard he is working and how focused and driven he is.

    He played for Frank Alloco at DLS, has played in a lot of huge, pressured packed games, he is not awed by this pressure, he is out to prove to doubters what he can do and how he can help the team win. I think he still does need to prove himself, but let’s give him a chance before jumping to any conclusions. I hear very good things about him and he could be a very big and pleasant surprise next season. Finally, keep in mind he is a GREAT kid and is exactly the kind of player we should embrace and root for in Cal athletics. Hope that he can be terrific and keep an open mind to see how he pans out. Remember that Randle was a train wreck a lot of his first 2 seasons, and still drove us nuts at times even this season.

    As for others, we’ll see about Franklin- I think we wont be redshirted, I think he’ll play as a frosh, will get his chances, but he will be a freshman. I’ve heard mixed on him, some people that I respect think he’s over-rated, and minimally has a lot of work to do. Again, let’s wait and see. Murray is NOT a PG right now, will be a project at that position. He can be a monster at the 2.

    This should all be fun to see how things transpire. No expectations next season, for some reason I think it might be a pleasant surprise and I have a lot of belief in Montgomery and know he is a very good coach and this team will be more coach able and more his team than last year’s was.

  • uh oh.

    Seeing last season that Gut was not a reliable ball handling PG, Monty needed insurance in case Randle was hurt. But he only had 1 scholarship, which was filled with 2 recruits coming in (Bak and MSF). There remained a question about how the 2nd slot would open. Then it was announced that Taylor Harrison was medically retiring. Next Monty got Smith as someone who had been coached fundamentally soundly by Alloco to fill this backup role. At first he would be a walk-on the freshman year, but when Wilkes graduated early, the 3rd scholarship opened up for Smith.

    Smith filled the backup PG role in case of disaster with Randle exactly as planned at the beginning of the season, except that he played horribly at times and we found he couldn’t be trusted with even limited minutes. He did not develop as the season went along. He couldn’t shoot, made weak decisions and couldn’t handle the pressure of much bigger defenders.

    As folks said, it looked like he was over his head. At 5’10”, this was literally the case.

    If Monty agreed with Dan about Smith’s potential AND knew a while back he was losing Amoke, don’t you think he’d fill that position with a bigger fellow?

    The fact that Monty has gone out and got a guy (6’3″ Murray) who is sold on transforming himself into a PG at Cal says volumes about Smith’s projected playing time.

    Now then, scholarships are technically a year by year deal, I have been told by a Cal compliance officer. However, nobody in any athletic department’s right mind is going to yank a scholarship on a kid for not living up to the hype. It would be used a negative recruiting BIG TIME.

    So, Smith owns his scholarship for as long as he likes to keep it. But his playing time appears to be hugely limited. At this point, he’s fighting an uphill battle to prove everyone wrong and earn any minutes. An interesting question for me to ponder is if he values the Cal degree OR D-1 playing time more. Time will tell us the answer. Sitting on the bench for 3 years in exchange for that scholarship money can be a long ordeal. He may do so, may transfer, or may drop hoops and pay his own tuition until graduation to avoid all us trashers from making negative posts.

    That’s a stark and dour outlook. My apologies. Good luck.